Bringing a new life into the world is a miraculous process. The body has a way of creating a new human being without any conscious thought about it. The one thing that is important to give a thought to, however, is what the mother consumes during pregnancy. It is the moment that a new organism is created which needs all kinds of raw material to build the new body.
The months that the baby is in the womb are the most taxing on the woman's body as far as nutrition is concerned. Because nature favors the new organism, any vitamin or mineral that is not supplemented through food is taken from the mother's organism. The standard diet that most people consume has nutritional gaps that supplementation with different vitamins and minerals can address.
Why are Prenatal Vitamins Necessary?
When the baby is in the womb, it is developing all of its organs and tissues. The diets that are consumed today, even if they include all the different food groups, are often not enough to meet the demands of the baby and mother together.
There are certain groups of women for which the need for supplementation is even more pronounced. These include vegetarians and vegans, women with chronic illnesses, smokers, people with blood disorders, or people who suffer from an eating disorder. Women who are having twins or more than one child should also supplement since their need for essential nutrients is even higher.
There are some supplements that are rarely found in food but are crucial to development within the womb. Those have to be supplemented in any case. Not receiving enough of the necessary nutrients forces the body to rob the mother's reserves of certain nutrients for the sake of the baby. This can tax the woman's organism which needs to further provide for the baby through breastfeeding after it is born.
Common Prenatal Vitamins Taken
There are a couple of vitamins that are important during pregnancy. Most of these can be acquired from food sources, but due to restrictive circumstances in the nutrition of the woman, they need to be supplemented. These include:
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A is supplemented only if it is severely lacking in the diet. It aids in the growth of the bones and teeth.
- Vitamin D: A vitamin that is acquired by exposure to the sun. It is vital for the utilization of minerals for the building of the teeth and bones.
- Vitamin E: Aids in the formation and use of red blood cells.
- Vitamin C: Antioxidant which protects from damage and helps absorb iron.
- Vitamins of the B group: There are a couple of these vitamins that are all vital for the functioning of the body. These include B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), B3 (niacin), and vitamin B12 (a vitamin that is crucial for supplementation since it is rarely found in foods). Together with B12, folic acid is taken to ensure proper spinal development.
Common Prenatal Supplements Taken
Other than vitamins, there are minerals that the body of the future baby will need for development. These are:
- Calcium: Calcium is the main building block for the skeletal system of the baby. Getting enough calcium during pregnancy ensures that calcium is not leached from the mother's own bones and teeth.
- Iron: Iron is needed more than ever during pregnancy. The mineral is vital for the growth and development of the body, production of red blood cells, and oxygen transportation. Iron deficiencies can lead to anemia. Women who are anemic need increased iron intake during pregnancy.
- Iodine: Iodine is important for the production of hormones by the thyroid gland. The healthy functioning thyroid gland ensures the proper brain and nervous development of the baby.
- Zinc: Zinc is necessary for rapid cell growth which is at its peak during pregnancy.
- Sodium, potassium, and magnesium: These three minerals are needed for the proper hydration of the body. They serve as electrolytes and are important for the proper blood flow and nerve transmission in the baby's body.