Pregnant? Wondering if you should make changes to your diet or supplementation? While every woman goes through pregnancy differently and will require an approach that is unique to her, there are some basic suggestions on prenatal vitamins that can be considered here.

But what are prenatal vitamins, exactly? The resource, “Medical News Today” defines prenatal vitamins as follows:

  • “Prenatal vitamins are nutritional supplements that usually contain a concentrated mix of minerals and vitamins that a woman’s body needs more of during pregnancy. Taking specific prenatal vitamins may reduce the risk of complications, for both the mother and the developing fetus as well as help a mother go full term.”

The concept behind prenatal vitamins is simple enough. A pregnant woman's body is required to do a great deal to create and birth a child, and will therefore need additional nutrients. Much of these nutrient requirements can most likely be met simply by maintaining a healthy diet, but not always. That's where prenatal vitamins come into play.

While this article doesn’t mean to provide medical advice, some vitamins are generally considered beneficial for women who are:

  • Trying to get pregnant
  • Going through pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding

Always ask your obstetrician any questions you may have about ideal health habits while pregnant. Remember, every woman goes through pregnancy differently, so one vitamin that may be helpful for one woman may not be needed for another. That's why women who are trying to get pregnant, who are currently pregnant, or who are breastfeeding should always consult with their obstetrician to get the best medical advice possible.

In the meantime, here are five prenatal vitamins you may want to consider:

1). Folic Acid. Folic acid is a B vitamin. It’s a nutritional supplement that helps the body make new cells. For pregnant women, getting enough folic acid is very important. Remember, there’s a lot of new cells being made when an expecting mother is pregnant! Enough cells to create an entire baby, in fact! The primary goal behind taking folic acid during pregnancy is to help prevent birth defects. There is some research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which suggests that pregnant women should take 400 milligrams of folic acid daily. (Check with your obstetrician on exact amounts, as your needs may be different). Folic acid can also help a pregnant woman’s body make red blood cells. That can help reduce the risk of anemia.

2). Iron. Speaking of preventing anemia, an iron mineral supplement can help there too. In fact, pregnant women generally speaking require about twice the usual recommended amount of iron. Quoting a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “The body iron requirement for an average pregnancy is approximately 1,000 mg. Hallberg (1988) calculated that 350 mg of iron is lost to the fetus and the placenta and 250 mg is lost in blood at delivery. In addition, about 450 mg of iron is required for the large increase in maternal red blood cell mass.” Since getting that much iron from daily food intake may be difficult, pregnant women are often advised to take an iron supplement.

3). Zinc. Zinc helps support the immune system. Zinc also helps the body make proteins. Zinc even assists with dividing cells and synthesizing DNA for new cells. Zinc is present in foods like meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy, eggs, and whole grains. Most people can get enough zinc simply my maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. However, pregnant women may want to consider taking zinc supplements. A report from the World Health Organization suggested that zinc supplementation may improve pregnancy outcomes for infants and mothers. According to that report, improving an expecting mother’s diet and adding supplementation could improve pregnancy outcomes, and zinc is an essential part of that effort.

4). Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 can help the body make healthy red blood cells. Vitamin B12 can also assist in creating neurons, crucial cells that are found in the spinal cord and brain. According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, it is not uncommon for expecting mothers to become vitamin B12-deficient during pregnancy. Vitamin B12 deficiency has been associated with lower birth weight and preterm birth. A vitamin B12 supplement may help in improving pregnancy outcomes, and it may help in avoiding low birth weight and preterm births.

5). Calcium. When a woman is pregnant, her body might require more than just a healthy diet. Remember, a pregnant woman's body is creating another body within it! Because of that, the dietary requirements for a pregnant woman can be quite different from that of a non-pregnant woman. Calcium is an excellent example of this, as the calcium nutrient works to help develop fetal bones and teeth. Pregnant women, especially pregnant women under the age of 25, should consider taking calcium. Quoting one study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “The amounts of calcium recommended for pregnancy are often not achieved by dietary sources alone. No adverse consequences of low calcium intake during pregnancy have been documented. However, there is justifiable concern about the possible effects of inadequate calcium intake by pregnant women under age 25 in whom some mineral is most likely still being added to their bones.”

Going through pregnancy and giving birth to a child is a unique and special time in a woman's life. If you are trying to get pregnant or are currently pregnant, you might want to consider taking prenatal vitamins to help support a healthy pregnancy and birth.

G&G Vitamins offers two quality vitamin options that can be a great addition to an expecting mother's daily diet. One is the Mega Multi, and the other is the Mega Multi Vegan. These vitamins are packed with dozens of healthful supplements and nutrients, including the above five supplements. Order yours today!