Preparing for a new baby can be overwhelming. Choices abound when it comes to what car seat to buy, how to rearrange your home, when and where to have the baby shower, and generally how the baby will fit into your already busy life. And this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. There is one decision, however, that should be a no-brainer: whether or not to take a prenatal vitamin. Creating and maintaining the habit of taking a high-quality prenatal vitamin is extremely important for the health of both mother and baby in both the short term and the long run.
We here at Vivre Naturals have an especially warm place in our hearts for babies and moms, so it is our goal to make you as healthy as possible and give your baby the very best start in life. Besides the question of whether or not to take a prenatal, there are various other questions that you might have, and information that you might be seeking that would benefit you in your quest for optimal health during and after pregancy. We’d love to help ease your mind by answering these questions and others you might not even think of. Let’s start by learning about what prenatal vitamins do, why you need them, what happens if you don’t take them, when you should ideally start and stop taking them, how to choose the best one, and more.
Why Are Prenatal Vitamins Needed?
It’s probably safe to assume that anyone reading this is interested in having a healthy pregnancy and therefore already eats healthily, or wants to do so. It’s important to understand that even those who eat the healthiest foods regularly (which is so difficult in our chaotic and consumer-based world!) can still easily miss out on essential nutrients that their bodies require. For this reason, adding prenatal supplements to your diet is critical in reaching and maintaining optimal gestational and overall health. There will always be nutritional gaps – both big or small, routine or rare – that need filling, and that’s where supplements come in handy. When your body makes a whole other person, your nutritional needs change in very specific and critical ways. If these demands are not met, drastic consequences can occur in the health and development of the baby and mother during pregnancy and for the rest of both of their lives.
Pregnancy is a high-demand state in which your body requires an overabundance of nutrients, especially specific ones, in order to support yourself and grow your baby. Unfortunately, many women are already nutrient-deficient before becoming pregnant, and their pregnancy exacerbates this. These deficiencies can cause major problems for both mom and baby.
When pregnant, your body prioritizes many of your baby’s needs over your own. This means that if the baby requires a certain dietary element that you’re not getting enough of through your diet, it will take it out of your own body. A common example is calcium. Your amazing body builds an entire little skeleton from scratch in a matter of months. Bones are formed using a lot of calcium. So, if you aren’t receiving enough of this mineral through your diet, your body will take it right out of your own bones. This leads to soft, weak, and brittle bones that break easily. This is something that no mother should have to endure, and thankfully the preventative measure of taking a high-quality prenatal vitamin at the right time is a simple one.
What Your Pregnant Body Needs
When building humans, your body requires all of the micronutrients and macronutrients it usually needs, just in amplified amounts.
Micronutrients: essential dietary elements that the body requires in small amounts such as vitamins and minerals
Macronutrients: larger nutrients that provide the body with energy such as carbohydrates, protein, and fats
Some nutrients are more important than others, but they all work together in concert to meet your ever-changing needs during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The key elements that are extremely important when gestating are:
- Folate, also known as Folic Acid or Vitamin B-9, which is in the B family of vitamins. It is a critical component in the formation of blood cells and the healthy functioning and growth of all cells. This micronutrient is extremely essential during pregnancy, and specifically early pregnancy, because it plays a key role in promoting healthy brain and spine development. When there isn’t enough of this available during the first trimester, birth defects of the brain and spine occur.
- Calcium is required for building the baby’s bones and preventing decreased bone mass in the mother. Supplementation also helps reduce back pain and joint issues.
- Iron is a chief component in blood cells. During pregnancy, the mother’s blood levels swell drastically. Her plasma levels double and red blood cell volume increases about 20 – 30%, increasing her total blood volume by as much as 60%. This increased demand for blood requires unusually high levels of iron in order to adequately transport oxygen and nutrients to both mom and baby.
Thankfully, the best high-quality prenatal vitamins (like our Organic Whole Food Prenatal) [link to prenatal sales page] contain a myriad of nutrients, including all of the full array of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements that you need. The doses have been adjusted to meet the needs of gestating and breastfeeding mothers so that you can rest easy knowing you are giving yourself and your baby exactly what he or she needs.
Risks of Not Taking a Prenatal Vitamin:
You will find that this list has some severe and frightening consequences. Thankfully, avoiding them is truly as simple as popping a single dose of your high-quality prenatal vitamin every day. Not doing so can incur major deficiencies that can cause numerous serious and even life-threatening problems:
Folic Acid Deficiency:
- Neural Tube Defects (such as spina bifida in which the spine doesn’t close up before birth)
- Cleft lip and palate
- Low birth weight
- Heart anomalies
- Preeclampsia (which can be fatal for both mother and baby)
- Pregnancy-triggered hypertension
- Osteoporosis in both mother and baby later in life
- Anemia in mother and baby
- Premature labor
- Low birthweight
- Labor complications that include blood transfusions
Vitamin A Deficiency:
- Blindness in babies
Vitamin D Deficiency:
- Critically low calcium blood levels in baby
- Osteomalacia (weak bones) in the mother
When to Start Taking a Prenatal Vitamin:
Taking a prenatal vitamin will never hurt you, though not taking one at the right time could have serious consequences. With this in mind, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Start taking your prenatal vitamin sooner rather than later.
The optimal time to start taking a prenatal vitamin is three months before conception, as the egg starts the maturation process three months before it is released, long before it even has the chance to be fertilized. So, make sure you’ve already started taking your prenatal vitamins (and establish a nutritious eating plan for optimal health) before you begin trying to conceive or at anytime when conception might be possible. Neural tube defects occur in the very first month of gestation. Many women don’t realize they’re pregnant in the early weeks, so be proactive with this. If at any time you think you might be pregnant, start taking your prenatals even if you don’t have confirmation yet.
When to Stop Taking a Prenatal Vitamin:
After your delivery, you are no longer growing a baby inside of your body, however, if you’re breastfeeding, you’re still growing your baby outside of you. We here at Vivre Naturals encourage you to breastfeed, definitely for the first six months, but ideally up to two years, in order to give your baby the exact food that nature intended for him or her. Miraculously, your body will adjust the content of your milk daily and even hourly, based on your infant’s needs. The nutritional value of your milk is only as good as the nutrients you consume every day through your diet and supplements, so in taking care of yourself and your extra dietary requirements incurred from breastfeeding, you are also supplementing your baby’s diet with everything a growing infant requires for healthy development. Therefore, it’s best to continue taking your prenatal vitamin for the duration of your breastfeeding season.
Another reason to continue taking your prenatal vitamin after the birth of your baby, regardless of whether or not you’re breastfeeding, is to build up your depleted iron stores. Pregnancy takes a lot out of you, so to maintain your own health you should still pay careful attention to your nutrition afterwards. You can discuss when to stop taking prenatal vitamins with your doctor or midwife, and then switch back to a high-quality daily women’s multivitamin like our Organic Whole Food Women’s Multi (Organic Whole Food Prenatal – Vivre Naturals) to keep your bases covered. If you’re not breastfeeding, it’s generally best to continue taking your prenatal vitamin for at least a few weeks after birth while you recover.
Many women in their childbearing years take prenatal vitamins daily for years, even decades, because they’re breastfeeding or are unsure of when the next baby will be conceived. During this time in your life, just substitute your prenatal vitamin for your regular daily multivitamin. This is perfectly fine, and will offer your children the best start in life.
Can I take other supplements while Taking a Prenatal Vitamin?
When pregnant, you have to be extremely careful about what you put into your body. Most people know not to eat sushi and deli meat, but even things like certain herbal teas should be avoided during this sensitive time. Your prenatal vitamin will supply you everything you need for yourself and your baby. It’s best to check with your doctor or midwife about taking any other supplements during pregnancy, especially if you suspect a specific deficiency.
Are there side effects?
Most people do not experience any side effects from taking a prenatal vitamin. Some, however, suffer nausea when pregnant and anything they ingest might exacerbate it. Morning sickness, although the bane of your existence when you’re gestating, is actually a good sign that your pregnancy hormones are flowing through your body. If your prenatal vitamin increases your nausea, take it with food or right before bedtime. We took special care in making our Organic Whole Food Prenatal easy on the stomach, since it’s made from easy-to-digest, real, nutritious organic foods.
Rarely, some women might experience constipation from the extra iron in their prenatal vitamin if they’re sensitive to it. If this happens to you, increase the amount of healthy fiber sources in your diet such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and drink plenty of water, which is all good for you anyway!
How to Choose a Prenatal Vitamin
Now that it is clear how vital taking a prenatal vitamin is, let’s discuss what to look for when choosing one. Not all prenatals are made the same, and it’s important to realize the differences so you can identify the high-quality ones that will nourish you from the low-quality ones that will pass through you without properly absorbing, leaving behind harmful substances that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
All prenatal vitamins should include the following basic vitamins and minerals: calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folic acid) or folate, vitamin B12 (cobalamin), vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin D.
There are countless different prenatal vitamins out there that incorporate these, though in order to give your baby and yourself the very best in nutrition, it’s important to look at other factors as well, such as how the supplements are made, if they contain harmful additives, where the ingredients are sourced, if they’re certified organic, and if they contain allergens.
Most supplements these days are produced with a mind toward maximum profit, long shelf life, marketability, and how effectively their product can withstand shipping and storage. These do not matter to you though, as what matters for your family’s health is finding the best high-quality supplements made safely and naturally so that your optimal health and wellness can be achieved. No need to worry though, because in this we at Vivre Naturals have you covered.
Our Organic Whole Food Prenatal
We here at Vivre Naturals have carefully incorporated all of the above-mentioned micronutrients and more into our lovingly crafted prenatal vitamin. Our Prenatal is different from others you will find on the market today, for a number of reasons.
We use only natural, plant-based ingredients.
The power of plants to heal and nourish can’t be beat. So, instead of creating a supplement the way most companies do these days out of ingredients synthesized in a lab, we derive all of our ingredients solely from the goodness of plants made by nature, not people. Plants are complex organisms and though humankind has attained a deep understanding of their makeup and how they work, we have not been able to replicate them in all their incredible intricacies. We cannot duplicate every single ingredient in them or how they’re absorbed into our body. This is why, instead of attempting to reinvent the wheel or cut corners, we let nature do what it does best, and gather our ingredients only from natural, organic whole foods.
Our prenatals are certified to be pure and safe for all.
We are all part of the natural world and we strongly believe in its power to support optimal health. Unfortunately, the environment, food, medicines, and supplements that most people routinely consume these days are full of damaging substances from pesticides to artificial preservatives and everything in between. It is our vow to our customers to leave all of these harmful elements out of our products so that you are only receiving the best of what the natural world has to offer. This is important throughout every stage of life, but especially so during pregnancy and the beginning of each baby’s life. Therefore, for the good of everyone, our supplements are all always vegan, GMO-free, organic, and free of artificial colors, flavors, and common allergens (dairy, wheat, gluten, eggs, peanuts, soy, fish, shellfish).
- Charity is at the heart of what we do.
We are a small, family-owned, heart-driven business. We only ever put out products that we are 100% confident in because our bottom line is about changing the world by helping people. We do this in two ways. The first is through producing the highest quality supplements and offering plenty of free information on healthy living that helps people make good choices and live their best lives. The second is through our charitable endeavors that help to change the world by changing the world of one village, one school, one family, or one person at a time. This way, every purchase that you make through us here at Vivre Naturals helps not only yourself and your family, but also other people in need around the world.
Thank you for taking the time with us here at Vivre Naturals today to learn about one of the most important (and easiest!) ways to promote optimal health for yourself and your baby throughout pregnancy and your family’s life journey. We are thrilled to be able to offer you a uniquely all-natural, organic, plant-based, prenatal supplement that is as safe and nourishing as can be. It is our hope that the information we have given you here today has empowered you in your quest for optimal health during this cherished time of life.