Learn More About Your Pregnancy
Before and during pregnancy you’ll need additional vitamins and minerals to support yourself and your baby. Even if you regularly eat a healthy diet, you need to take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid every day.
Your health care provider can prescribe a prenatal vitamin for you. You can also get prenatal vitamins over the counter without a prescription.
Things to consider when choosing a prenatal vitamin
Do you cringe at the thought of swallowing a pill? Lucky for you, prenatal vitamins come in a few easy-to–swallow options. Look for a chewable, liquid, or even gummy prenatal vitamin.
Your prenatal vitamin should have at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Folic acid is the synthetic form of the B vitamin folate, which is found in leafy greens and other foods. Many prenatal vitamins have as much as 800 micrograms of folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal column.
Many pregnant women also take vitamin B6, particularly during the first trimester, to help with nausea and morning sickness. Most experts advise 10 mg to 25 mg three times per day if you’re struggling with morning sickness. Some prenatal vitamins include B6, so check yours before you buy anything additional.
If you’re prone to iron deficiencies, look for a higher level of iron in the prenatal vitamin you choose, but be aware that iron supplements can cause stomach upset and constipation.
Many prenatal vitamins include omega-3 fatty acids in the form of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). According to the National Institutes of Health, getting enough omega-3 fatty acids is vitally important during pregnancy as they help your baby’s brain and eyes develop. They may also play a role in preventing preterm birth and perinatal depression.