Congratulations on deciding to start your own family! Prenatal supplements are highly recommended by healthcare practitioners these days, despite a healthy lifestyle and well-rounded diet. Wondering why?
A woman’s body goes through incredible changes, especially during pregnancy. Supplements help meet the demands of a growing baby and close gaps, such as pre-existing nutritional deficiencies.
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right prenatal supplement. There are ingredients to avoid and ingredients to look for. It’s also important to know when to start taking prenatal supplements. Being aware of these will help keep you and your baby healthy.
When should I start taking prenatal supplements?
Scientifically speaking, it takes 90-100 days for an egg to mature. Therefore, 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, consider taking a prenatal supplement during the reproductive years.
Unexpectedly pregnant? Don’t worry, it’s not too late to start a prenatal supplement after becoming pregnant. However, taking prenatal supplements throughout the entire pregnancy is recommended. Continue taking them for at least 6 months after giving birth, to support your body through the postnatal period. For breastfeeding moms, consider prenatal supplements for an extended period of time. This helps ensure you’re getting essential vitamins and minerals to support your health along with breast milk production. Both are crucial to your baby’s development.
What should I avoid in prenatal supplements?
Unnecessary non-medicinal ingredients
When you turn the bottle around and review the ingredients, make sure you understand exactly what’s inside. Be weary of non-medicinal ingredients that you can’t pronounce! Here are some ingredients to 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 your nutrients at once. However, these are often not the best bang for your buck. The body can only absorb a certain amount at once. 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, a supplement should be taken the same way to provide nutrients from morning to evening. In addition, tablet forms of supplements often have fillers and binders to help keep the ingredients together. These non-medicinal ingredients may be more detrimental than beneficial.
Low absorbable forms of vitamins & minerals
Each vitamin and mineral can come in different forms, including oxide, bis-glycinate, and citrate. Nutrients in oxide form are not as well absorbed compared to glycinate forms. Pay close attention in particular to iron oxide and magnesium oxide, and look for iron bis-glycinate and magnesium glycinate instead.
What should I look for in prenatal supplements?
Now you have the scoop on what to avoid in your prenatal supplements. Are you wondering what you should look for? Stay tuned for our next blog post to read about the important elements of a prenatal multivitamin, as well as what time of day to take it!