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Why should I take a Prenatal Vitamin?

Prenatal Vitamins

I’m sure a lot of you know that when you get pregnant you should be taking a prenatal vitamin. You aren’t exactly sure why, but that’s what you’re supposed to do. So, you go to the store and pick up any prenatal you can find – they should all be good, right? What is the difference between some that cost $15 or $60? Are gummies better than capsules? There are so many choices, why do you even need this? It can be confusing, and when it comes to your baby’s health, you want to make the best decision for their sake. Over the next few blog posts, we will be answering these questions.

So why are prenatal vitamins important to take during your pregnancy?

pexels-photo-909689It only takes 9 months to create another human, which, when you think about it, is pretty miraculous. During those 9 months, the baby is rapidly developing, using a variety of nutrients to create life. Prenatal vitamins aim to supply the mother with all the nutrients the baby needs that mom may or may not be getting from her diet. Most of the time, mothers don’t know that they are pregnant for approximately 2-6 weeks after conception. During that time, the baby is going from a single cell to many, many cells. The development process is at full speed, and it is going to need the right nutrients to keep it up. So, what if mom doesn’t know yet, and she’s not eating enough of what the baby needs? That’s why many doctors recommend taking a prenatal prior to conception (assuming that you are planning on becoming pregnant). While the exact time to start taking the prenatal vitamins is unknown, many doctors recommend at least 3-6 months before conception to build up a store of nutrients. On the other end, it is also important to continue to take the prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding.

While prenatal vitamins are important, so is eating a balanced, healthy diet. This is the best way to ensure your baby is getting the nutrients it requires.

Eating for Two

Don’t let the “I’m eating for two” excuse get you. Most mothers should only gain 25-35 pounds during their pregnancy. If the mother’s BMI is too high before conception, she may need to gain less during her pregnancy. If twins are expected, the mother may gain 37-54 pounds. The recommended caloric intake increase for pregnant mothers is between 300-500 additional calories and should take place more in the second and third trimesters, where the baby is getting bigger. The weight gain during pregnancy is very gradual as well. Mothers should not be gaining more than 2-3 pounds/week.

What about losing the weight afterward? Breastfeeding has been shown to be the best way to shed the extra weight. Don’t be afraid to add in some exercise as well once your doctor clears you for activity.


This is the first of a series of blogs on prenatal vitamins. We will dive further into the major nutrients needed during pregnancy, and which prenatals are best when it comes to their ingredients and quality.

These blogs will be posted on Tuesday & Friday throughout the month of July. Click here to subscribe so you don’t miss a post!

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