You’ve had your first consult and your doctor has asked you to start taking a prenatal vitamin. You begin to do some research on your own and find an abundant amount of prenatal options. You become a bit overwhelmed and you’re not sure where to turn. That’s why we’re here, to help you with this decision. Let’s begin with what’s important.
When a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can prevent major birth defects, including Spina bifida, which occurs when an unborn baby’s spinal column does not close to protect the spinal cord. Anencephaly, which is when most or all of the brain does not develop. Babies with this problem die before or shortly after birth.
During pregnancy you need a lot more of this. The amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy until you have almost 50 percent more blood than usual, so you need more iron to make more hemoglobin. You need extra iron for your growing baby and placenta, especially in the second and third trimesters. Many women need more because they start their pregnancy with insufficient stores of iron. Iron-deficiency anemia during pregnancy is associated with preterm delivery, low birth weight, and infant mortality.
When you're pregnant, your developing baby needs calcium to build strong bones and teeth; to grow a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles; and to develop a normal heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities. If you don't get enough calcium in your diet when you're pregnant, your baby will draw it from your bones, which may impair your own health later on.
The latest trend is to include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in prenatal vitamins. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that appears to be important for brain, eye, and heart health. The typical American diet is usually deficient in DHA (because DHA is mostly found in fish). Also, because fish is the primary source of DHA and because pregnant women are often instructed to limit their intake of certain types of fish (to avoid the potential risks of mercury toxicity), many pregnant women may be deficient in DHA.
Todd Mensik is the Practice Representative at InVia Fertility. He is passionate about making sure that the overall experience of each and every patient exceeds expectations. He also works with the referring physician to ensure that the transition into our office is seamless.