Am I Taking The Right Prenatal Supplement?
Congratulations! You’ve decided to start your own family. Unlike the “old” times, prenatal supplements are highly recommended by healthcare practitioners, even if you’re living a healthy lifestyle with a well-rounded diet. Wondering why?
A woman’s body goes through incredible changes, especially during pregnancy. Supplements help meet the demands of the growing baby and close gaps, such as pre-existing nutritional deficiencies and the busyness of modern-day life.
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right prenatal supplement; things you should avoid, ingredients to look for, and when to start taking them. Being aware of these will help keep you and your baby healthy.
When should you start taking prenatal vitamins?
Scientifically speaking, it takes 90-100 days for an egg to mature, so focusing on preconception health should start at least 3-4 months before pregnancy. If you’re trying to conceive but haven’t been successful yet, taking a prenatal supplement during your reproductive years can be beneficial.
Don’t worry, it’s not too late to start your prenatal supplement after you become pregnant. However, it is recommended that you take your prenatal supplements throughout the entire pregnancy. In addition, these supplements should be continued for at least 6 months after you have given birth, to help support your body through the postnatal period. For breastfeeding moms, consider prenatal supplements for an extended period of time to make sure you are getting essential vitamins and minerals to support your health along with breast milk production, as both are crucial to your baby’s development.
What to avoid in prenatal supplements
Unnecessary non-medicinal ingredients
When you turn the bottle around and review the ingredients, you want to make sure you understand exactly what’s inside your prenatal supplement. Be weary of non-medicinal ingredients that you can’t pronounce! Here are some that you should stray away from: corn starch, ascorbyl palmitate, and artificial colouring.
These types of prenatal supplements are often marketed as a convenient way to get all the nutrients you need at once. However, these are often not the best bang for your buck. The body can only absorb a certain amount at one time and your digestive tract may struggle to break down a large once-per-day tablet or capsule. Consider this: Similar to a healthy lifestyle of eating throughout the day to attain good quality fuel all day long, your supplement should be taken the same way so that you can get nutrients from morning to evening, In addition, tablet forms of supplements often have fillers and binders to help keep the ingredients together – all non-medicinal ingredients that may be more detrimental than beneficial.
Low absorbable forms of vitamins & minerals
Each vitamin and mineral can come in different forms, such as oxide, bis-glycinate, and citrate. Nutrients in oxide form are not as well absorbed as glycinate forms that are gentle and better absorbed by the body. Pay close attention in particular to iron oxide and magnesium oxide, and look for their bis-glycinate forms instead.
What to look for in prenatal supplements
Now that you have the scoop on what to avoid in your prenatal supplements, are you wondering what you should look for? Head on over to Part One to read about the important elements of a prenatal multivitamin, as well as what time of day to take it!