Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and mothers-to-be who are undertaking a pregnancy program generally need more vitamins and minerals than other older persons.
Some pregnant women may be able to meet their nutritional and vitamin needs through the food they eat, but there are others who choose to take prenatal vitamins. This aims to complement the adequacy of various vitamins and minerals that are good for maintaining the health condition of pregnant women and the fetus in the womb.
Even so, Prenatal vitamins are just nutritional supplements. Not a substitute for nutrients that come from natural sources such as fruit, vegetables, or other food sources.
List of vitamins for pregnant women
Vitamins for pregnant women or commonly called prenatal vitamins consist of various multivitamins and minerals that pregnant women need during pregnancy. This vitamin for pregnant women serves to help meet the nutritional needs of mothers and children.
A number of important ingredients that need to be consumed during pregnancy are folic acid and iron. Fulfillment of adequate nutritional intake is very helpful for the growth and development of the baby in the womb and maintain the health of pregnant women.
1. Folic acid
Taking folic acid before pregnancy and during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the baby. The neural tube itself is an embryonic structure that forms the spine and brain in the fetus.
If this is a problem, then there is a possible risk of spina bifida (part of the spine does not close properly) may occur.
Folic acid or vitamin B9 is included in one of the list of Vitamins For Pregnant Women that is very important in helping pregnant women produce red blood cells. This is very good for reducing the risk of pregnant women with anemia (lack of blood) which can cause low birth weight babies, premature babies, and congenital anemia in babies.
In addition to being in the form of supplements, folic acid can also be found in green vegetables, nuts, and citrus fruits.
2. Omega 3
The benefits of omega 3 are very important for pregnancy and the baby in the womb because it can help give structure to cell membranes, especially in the brain and retina of the eye. Omega 3 is also very good to help improve the baby’s brain development.
Omega 3 fatty acids are generally included in prenatal vitamins, but can also be replaced with plant-based supplements, including Chia seeds, seaweed, walnuts, or edamame as a substitute.
Some foods that contain omega 3 are fish and seafood. However, before consuming it, make sure that the type of food and quality selected must be safe for pregnancy.
The problem is, some fish contain high levels of mercury so that it is harmful to the womb and can increase the risk of abnormalities in the baby. Pregnant women can eat salmon and shrimp, which contain low mercury, but must be processed until they are perfectly cooked.
3. Vitamin C and vitamin E
Vitamin C and vitamin E are also included in the list of Vitamins For Pregnant Women, which are also important for consumption. Both types of these vitamins contain high antioxidants that can protect the body from oxidative stress.
The benefits of vitamin C can help produce collagen and metabolize folate and iron, while vitamin E helps increase endurance and helps fetal development.
Taking vitamin C and vitamin E together can reduce oxidative stress and prevent complications that can cause preeclampsia, rupture of membranes before delivery, and limit intrauterine growth. However, the certainty of this still needs to be investigated further.
4. Vitamins and other nutrients
Several other important nutrients are also beneficial for the health of pregnant women and babies in the womb. Several types of vitamins and nutrients are needed during pregnancy, including:
Pregnant women need 2 times more iron because if not enough, pregnant women can experience iron deficiency anemia. Iron itself is another important component contained in red blood cells and serves to support the development and growth of the baby and carry oxygen for the baby.
The content of zinc can help maintain the immune system of pregnant women, help the body produce proteins, and divides cells and form new cells. Zinc deficiency can also increase the risk of pregnancy disorders such as premature birth.
Vitamins for pregnant women in the form of vitamin A help increase the growth of new cells which are very good for eye vision and various important organs in the body, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, and bones.
Vitamin B6 is beneficial in cognitive development, glucose metabolism, immune function, and blood formation. In addition, vitamin B6 can also help reduce nausea during pregnancy.
This vitamin helps the body produce healthy red blood cells and neurons found in the spinal cord and brain and helps the cells to function properly.
One that is included in the list of Vitamins For Pregnant Women is iodine. The benefits of iodine can help improve the development of the central nervous system, brain, and skeletal system. Iodine deficiency in pregnant women can slow down the growth of the fetus and cause nerve defects, miscarriage, or death in the womb.
These two minerals can help grow and strengthen bones and teeth in babies. Vitamin D is good for maintaining healthy eyes and skin, as well as calcium, which can reduce the risk of preeclampsia, which is one of the causes of death in pregnant women and newborns.
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When is the right time to take vitamins for pregnant women?
Prospective mothers who are preparing or are doing a pregnancy program you should start taking prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant and continue to take it until breastfeeding.
Women who take 400-800 mcg of folic acid daily for 3 months before becoming pregnant and during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the baby.
However, before taking vitamins for pregnant women, it’s good to consult a doctor first to ensure the health condition of pregnant women and the risk of complications that may occur. Prenatal vitamins can also cause some side effects, especially in the digestive system, such as nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation.
Prenatal supplements that contain certain vitamins and minerals are good for pregnancy because they can reduce the risk of serious birth defects and avoid complications. However, vitamins for pregnant women should not be consumed in excess because they can cause more severe side effects and endanger the condition of the fetus in the womb.
Vitamins for pregnant women can be taken 1-2 times every day, but it is not recommended to take them just before bedtime. If you experience severe morning sickness, you can also take prenatal vitamins during the day. When taking vitamins for pregnant women, it should be balanced with drinking enough water to reduce the risk of mild side effects on the stomach.
In addition, pregnant women need to adjust their prenatal vitamins to the fiber content in their diet, drink enough water, and keep doing light physical activities in their daily lives so that their physical condition during pregnancy can be maintained properly.
Interactions of prenatal vitamins with other drugs
Taking a multivitamin supplement during pregnancy or breastfeeding appropriately can help maintain the health of pregnant women and nursing mothers. However, under certain conditions, for example, pregnant women who are vegetarians and vegans may require higher doses of nutrients.
Some nutritional content, such as vitamin B2 and vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, and iodine, may be difficult to obtain only from plant sources, so additional prenatal vitamins are needed to help meet the nutritional needs of pregnant women.
If you want to take prenatal vitamins, pregnant women should first discuss with their obstetrician because some herbal supplements can interact negatively with prenatal vitamins, including blood thinning drugs, antibiotics, anti-epileptic drugs, respiratory drugs (theophylline), retinoids, metformin, ACE inhibitors, or corticosteroid drugs.