Prenatal Vitamins 101

There are so many prenatals on the market that choosing the right one and knowing when to take it can be increasingly confusing. For all you trying to conceive or soon-to-be-momma’s here are some things worth considering!

CHOOSING A PRENATAL:

  • Always consider where the supplement has been sourced. Professional branded supplements (like Thorne, Metagenics, Douglas Labs, and NFH) offer quality and safety with no additives and fillers. This means less toxins and chemicals for you and babe. 
  • Understand ABSORBABILITY. Jamieson and Centrum might seem like the best economical choice on first glance, but the forms of vitamins and minerals (most importantly calcium, iron, folic acid, magnesium, and zinc) are not in absorbable forms! This means you’re paying for and taking a supplement that isn’t actually offering any benefit. Always look for “methylated” folic acid (if it doesn’t say “methylated” or “methylfolate” somewhere in the name, it isn’t), calcium and zinc “citrate” (avoid calcium carbonate and zinc oxide), and iron as ferrous “citrate” or “glycinate” (avoid ferrous fumarate) – these forms will be readily absorbed and offer babe the best chance at a healthy development. 
     
  • Check for vitamin A. At high doses vitamin A is teratogenic (aka toxic and dangerous to babe). Some people opt to avoid it all together in their prenatal care, but given vitamin A’s importance for embryonic growth and babes development of bones, eyes, heart, lungs, and kidneys, I personally like to keep it in – but checking the dose is extremely important! Never exceed 10, 000 IU of vitamin A (or retinyl acetate) per day.
     

WHEN TO TAKE PRENATAL:

  • For anyone planning to conceive, a prenatal is worth supplementing with beginning as early as 3 months before conception. If you’re reading this and have already been trying or have conceived, not to worry, it’s never too late to start a quality prenatal.
  • If prenatals make you feel nauseous, make sure you’re taking them with food and divide taking them throughout the day (ie. one with breakfast and one with lunch or dinner)
     
  • Continued supplementation through breastfeeding is encouraged – after all, anything you consume, babe consumes and in that first year, vitamin D supplementation is extremely important.

 Dr. Jodie Tatlock