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Vitamin Supplements During Pregnancy

Vitamin Supplements During Pregnancy

While it is important to eat right and get a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins to stay healthy, it becomes even more critical to your health, and the health of your baby during pregnancy to make sure you’re eating right. You may not be able to get all the nutrients you need through your diet and your AOA physician likely will prescribe prenatal vitamins that help supplement a healthy diet with folic acid, iron, calcium, and DHA – an omega-3 fatty acid. Each of these is important for the development of a healthy baby.

Folic acid is important for the development of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. It can also help protect you against stroke and cancer during your pregnancy. Folic acid is found in leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, legumes and whole grains, but a prenatal vitamin with folic acid can help ensure that you get the recommended amount of 600 micrograms per day.

Iron is important and is included in your prenatal vitamins. It is not uncommon for a woman to become anemic during pregnancy when her red blood cells may be too small or too few to carry oxygen around your body to you and your baby. Iron supplements can help prevent low birth weight and preterm birth, in addition to keeping muscles strong in both mother and baby.

Calcium is critical during pregnancy for keeping your bones and teeth strong and your nervous and circulatory systems healthy. During pregnancy it can be difficult to get all of the calcium you need from your diet alone. Not getting enough calcium can lead to osteoporosis later in life.

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is important in the development and function of your baby’s brain and eyes. It is less commonly found in prenatal vitamins, but is sometimes packaged with them as a separate pill. DHA is found in coldwater fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, lake trout and herring. Among shellfish, shrimp is the best source of DHA. Talk with your AOA doctor about the best way to ensure that you are getting at least 200 milligrams of DHA every day.

Learn more about how to eat right and get the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy.

http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/nutrition_vitamins.html

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/pregnancyandnutrition.html

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pregnancy-nutrition/PR00108/METHOD=print

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