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Prenatal vitamins are an essential component of pregnancy. These little pills are a powerhouse of needed nutrients for momma and baby. Prenatal vitamins are a modern marvel that helps to keep baby healthy in those incredibly important first few weeks of life. In the first trimester the baby will grow from a group of cells to an actual (very small) baby. The neural tube (brain, spinal cord, and other tissue of the central nervous system) forms, the digestive tract and sensory organs start to develop, and cartilage is replaced by bone. Prenatal vitamins are essential to help successfully develop all of these body parts and functions.
When should you start taking prenatal vitamins?
Ideally, before you are even pregnant, it is very common for women to find out they are pregnant by weeks 6-8 when symptoms start to come on. By taking prenatal vitamins preemptively, you give the growing fetus the additional folate support it needs to grow the neural tube.
What is so important about prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins have been engineered to contain the perfect chemistry of almost all the nutrients a pregnant woman needs to support the baby. Although prenatal vitamins are an easy way to get additional folate, calcium, iron, and vitamin D, it does not mean that pregnant women don’t need to eat healthily. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program are also essential.
Choosing a prenatal
Choosing a prenatal is much more involved than just going to the local grocery and picking something out. Unfortunately, vitamins are not regulated by the FDA, which gives the production companies free rein on what they use and what they put on their label. Of course, companies are not deliberately making harmful vitamins but, to make more money, they are sourcing less-expensive ingredients. These less expensive ingredients host an entire band of different problems.
Clean prenatal vitamins:
- MegaFood Baby & Me 2 is what I used for both pregnancies. The number 1 thing I loved about this prenatal is it did not make me feel nauseous at all like other vitamins. The number 2 thing I loved about this prenatal is their complete transparency. All the vitamins are made from real, farm-fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. They even have a factory cam so you can watch them making the vitamins live! Honestly, I vote to get this one all day, but in true researcher fashion, I will give you a few options to choose from.
- Nutrients: This is a bit lower in calcium because calcium impedes iron absorption, and most people consume enough calcium daily to get the suggested daily amount. If you think that you are calcium deficient, talk to your doctor.
- Garden of Life Organic Prenatal is a very good vegan option. Most vegan options do not supply the proper amount of iron, iodine, or manganese. Garden of life does, and it is a once a day formula.
- Ritual Essential Prenatal is optimal for moms who have the MTHFR gene mutation. This mutation makes it difficult to absorb folate, which is essential for a baby’s development.
- Deva Vegan Vitamins are the best option if you need something more affordable. These prenatals are much less expensive, but they are not food-based. Although they are not food-based, they do have a good amount of folate, iron, and has some choline.
- Naturelo Prenatal covers all the bases of food-based, non-GMO, organic, soy-free, and gluten-free. That being said, you have to take this pill 3 times a day, which is a bit of a drawback. Otherwise, these seem like a very good option.
Although these prenatal vitamins are made from plants that does not mean you can eat whatever you want. Maintaining a healthy diet is still the best way to get the baby all the nutrients he/she/they need!