8 mins

What are the most important prenatal vitamins for a healthy pregnancy?

The article in a few key points

During pregnancy, the body's need for vitamins and minerals increases.

3 nutrients are particularly beneficial: folic acid, vitamin D and iron.

Taking food supplements (such as Multivitamins) helps meet nutrient needs.

The prenatal phase corresponds to all the processes that take place from fertilization until the birth of the baby. During this period, changes take place at all levels in the body, such as increase in total blood volume, decrease in blood pressure, increase in volume of the chest and uterus, among others .

To adapt to all these changes, and for the smooth running of the pregnancy, the body's needs for certain vitamins (and minerals at the same time) tend to increase. And yes, the growth of the new being mobilizes more resources !

But this supply of nutrients, which we obtain naturally through food, is often insufficient. The prescription of vitamins and minerals to supplement food intake is therefore quite common.

prenatal vitamins
prenatal vitamins

3 essential vitamins and minerals during pregnancy

All vitamins and minerals are important, that's a fact. Each performs specific functions that allow the body to function. But during pregnancy, some have a particular importance making their consumption essential.

1. Folic acid (or vitamin B9)

It is one of the most important vitamins, because it is involved in the formation of the neural tube (tube-shaped structure from which the entire nervous system is generated). Insufficient folic acid intake can cause neural tube defects.

The ideal is to start supplementing three months before the baby is conceived because the neural tube is formed during the first month of pregnancy. Starting your treatment some time before pregnancy thus reduces any risk of any folic acid deficiency at the start of pregnancy. And therefore to promote the proper development of the baby's neural tube.

Folic acid is also involved in the formation of red blood cells, essential for the oxygenation of our cells.

In short, a double action which explains the crucial role of this vitamin!

2. Vitamin D and calcium

As the fetus develops, the need for calcium – essential for bones and teeth – increases. A treatment of this essential mineral for pregnant women is therefore often recommended. In addition, it is recommended to combine vitamin D (or calciferol), which promotes calcium absorption.

Studies have also highlighted another benefit of taking calcium during pregnancy on blood pressure.

3. Iron

Iron is a mineral essential for the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin in the body. It is of vital importance during pregnancy, both for the pregnant woman and the baby.

For pregnant women : during pregnancy, total blood volume increases. The body's iron requirements therefore increase accordingly. Unmet iron needs can lead to a deficit, which results in severe fatigue.

For the baby : for its proper development, sufficient iron intake is also necessary for the baby.

In general, it is preferable to start iron supplementation during the second trimester of pregnancy so as not to aggravate digestive discomfort, and on medical prescription. During this period, it is therefore preferable to opt for a diet rich in iron (examples of foods: liver, red meat, seafood, spinach, turkey, lentils) in order to compensate for a possible nutritional deficit.

prenatal vitamins

How to supplement?

To supplement your dietary intake of vitamin B9, vitamin D and iron, it may be interesting to turn to a Multivitamin supplement. This type of product often combines a certain number of essential nutrients for pregnant women. However, iron must always be provided in addition, via a separate treatment, so as not to reduce the beneficial effects of the Multivitamin.

Before starting a Multivitamin course, remember to consult your doctor or gynecologist, who will be best placed to direct you towards the supplement suited to your needs.

Of course, we must not neglect the consumption of healthy foods , low in salt and fat. With the exception of course of good fats such as omega 3 fatty acids, important for the baby's brain development and which are found both in food (for example fatty fish) and in food supplements.

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