Pregnant women get advice from seemingly everyone – their mothers, their friends, family members, and other women who have been pregnant before. Everyone has something to say about how often to go to the doctor’s, what to eat, activities to avoid, and the best vitamins.
It can be downright stressful if those sources conflict with one other. But women can find solace in knowing that there is a lot of research on the best pregnancy practices, especially when it comes to prenatal vitamins. Prenatal vitamins, or prenatal pills, help expectant mothers get all the vitamins and minerals they need to support their bodies during pregnancy. These supplements might be marketed as pregnancy vitamins, but the truth is they have a range of nutrients that women of all ages can benefit from.
Pregnant women have greater nutritional requirements than most other people do, since they need nutrients for two. They have to give their bodies the right kind of fuel to help their babies grow. That’s why prenatal vitamins are formulated with several key ingredients that boost the immune system, strengthen the body, and help babies properly develop. If you’re searching for a well-rounded prenatal vitamin, here are some of the main ingredients you want to look for:
Folate, also known as Vitamin B9, helps the body form strong and healthy red blood cells. In particular, folate helps with the development of the brain and spinal cord. Since these are crucial to the body’s nervous system, it’s essential that pregnant women get enough folate to support this growth. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women need at least 600 micrograms (mcg) of folate in their diet each day.
Folate is considered one of the most essential nutrients in a prenatal vitamin because the cells that develop into the brain and spinal cord are formed within the first month of pregnancy. This is why it’s best to begin taking a prenatal vitamin (with enough folate!) between 1 and 3 months before you conceive. This makes it so that your body has enough folate in storage for when your body needs it.
It’s important to note the difference between folate and folic acid. While they are essentially the same, folic acid is the man-made form of folate that is more difficult for the body to process. By opting for a prenatal supplement with folate, you are helping your body more efficiently process this nutrient and send it to your baby.
Research states that iron is another vital ingredient in prenatal nutrition. Prenatal vitamins with iron ensure that your blood has enough oxygen to carry throughout your body and to your baby. Iron also helps with muscle development and the creation of blood cells. By having enough iron in the body, you are helping to prevent anemia, which results in a low red blood cell count. Pregnant women need at least 27 milligrams (mgs) of iron each day, so be sure that your one-a-day prenatal vitamin fulfills that requirement.
Vitamin D3 plays a big part in helping the body build strong bones, absorb calcium, and form a healthy heart. This makes it another good addition to any prenatal vitamin. Studies show that taking at least 600 international units (IU) of Vitamin D3 can sufficiently strengthen your bones and teeth as well as that of your developing child.
In much higher doses, Vitamin D3 can also help stabilize mood, prevent postpartum depression, and decrease complications after birth. Research showed that pregnant women who took 4,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily for the second and third trimester of their pregnancy experienced half as many pregnancy-related complications compared to women who took the 600 IU daily dose. This includes a lower risk for health concerns such as premature birth, gestational diabetes, and infections.
While it is vital to search for a prenatal supplement that contains these evidence-based nutrients, they aren’t the only ones that can benefit pregnant women and their babies.
In particular, many prenatals don’t have the space to provide ingredients such as choline and omega-3 fatty acids (like DHA). These are also important nutrients for pregnant women, so you should consider adding them to your daily regimen.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K2
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
- Niacin (Vitamin B3)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)
Our prenatal supplements also contain herbal ingredients such as chlorella and spirulina, which can help improve digestion and regulate blood sugar.* Stinging nettle is another important addition to our supplements. This herb has the potential to decrease bodily swelling and improve urinary function.* Such benefits can be especially helpful for pregnant women who often experience:
- Fluid retention
- Swollen joints
- Urinary urgency
Bamboo can also aid in supporting a pregnant woman’s joints. For this reason, it’s another great inclusion in prenatal supplements. Bamboo has the ability to strengthen bones and tissue while boosting collagen production and improving the elasticity of skin. This can relieve pain and discomfort while potentially helping women decrease the likelihood of stretch marks.*
Raspberry leaf is also included in both prenatals, since this herb is known for its ability to:
- Balance and regulate hormone levels*
- Strengthen and tone the muscles in the uterus*
This can help relieve pain for menstruating women, but improving uterine strength also plays a part in pregnancy. Raspberry leaf may prepare women for childbirth by regulating and steadying the pace of their labor.*
Morning sickness and frequent bouts of nausea are some of the main complaints that pregnant women notoriously struggle with. Having a ginger supplement as part of your prenatal vitamin is a great way to manage uncomfortable concerns such as nausea, upset stomach, and indigestion. Another way to support the digestive system is by taking dandelion, which we also include in our prenatal supplements. Dandelion can further assist with improved digestion and detoxification. A secondary benefit of improved detoxification is being able to better manage hormones and the emotions they control.*
At Pure Essence, we have put a lot of thought into our prenatal formulas so that they include a variety of evidence-based ingredients. They are a convenient way to get the essential nutrients you need so that your baby can grow strong and healthy. As an expecting mother, you don’t want to worry about taking a bunch of different supplements and whether or not your they contain ingredients that might harm your fetus or you. And, as long as your supplements are our supplements, you won’t have to, because we do it for you.*