Are you -or do you know – a woman who has a hard time taking prenatal vitamins? Did they give you horrible side effects, make you nauseous, or lower your energy levels. Symptoms such as nausea and tiredness can happen on their own during early pregnancy, and you certainly don’t want to have them as side effects of taking prenatal vitamins.
Vitamins and Pregnancy
Before we look at why you might experience trouble from taking prenatals, let’s look at why you need them in the first place. We know from scientific research that it is beneficial for you to take a vitamins before conception, during pregnancy, and even after birth if you breastfeed in order to supplement your daily diet. The nutrients in the vitamins are good for both you as the mother and for your developing baby.
That doesn’t mean you can continue to eat junk food, or a poor diet, and simply take your vitamins to make sure you have a healthy baby. These are supplements that are meant to ‘supplement’ the healthy food you eat, not replace them.
More nutrients are needed by your body during this time in your life, and most of our foods – even the good choices – do not have enough vitamins and minerals in them. Years ago when our parents were having kids, and their parents were having kids, the nutrient levels were much better in foods and picking or transportation methods did not affect the quality as much as it does today.
It was just in the news a couple of weeks ago that there was a study that returned the fascinating results that if a mother took vitamins 3 months before conception and for the first couple of months of pregnancy, that there was a 50% reduced chance that her child would develop autism. With the rates of autism at alarming numbers, this was a study that many women find very important.
There are other studies and scientific research that support vitamins preventing birth defects and other issues as well. Some of the most beneficial nutrients for women in the childbearing season of life, or at least are needed in higher quantities at this time, are folic acid and calcium.
As a pregnant woman you may need 1,200 to 1,500 mg of calcium daily, and you won’t get that from your multi-vitamin alone. Still, it is important to take a brand of vitamins where you are sure to absorb the calcium in the tablet. Not all brands are created equal and prenatal is not always the best choice.
We mentioned some women having adverse reactions to prenatal vitamins. That doesn’t mean you have to stop taking vitamins altogether. Sometimes a natural multi-vitamin will be better tolerated. There are brands that match the ingredients in a prenatal, and there are pharmaceutical grade natural multi-vitamins that may be much healthier for you than prenatal vitamins.
This is an area worth exploring for yourself. Take some time to do your homework and look at various brands. Look at the science behind the products, the clinical studies – the actual proof that they get absorbed in your body so that you and your baby will get the benefits of the vitamins.
Your prenatal vitamin may be synthetic – which means it is not natural. That may not be as important to you as it is to me but the way that I look at it is that I don’t like to put any more synthetics in my body than I have to. We can’t control the ingredients in all of the foods we eat, at least not those that we don’t prepare ourselves from fresh ingredients that are chemical free.
The reality of the world we live in today is that we are exposed to, and ingest or absorb, far too many chemicals than is healthy for us. I like to be able to monitor what I can and choose better alternatives where I can. For me, it is important that my vitamins and all food supplements must be natural.
As you do your research, you may find prenatal vitamins on the market today that contain substances in these synthetic formulas that are toxic when heated, are associated with organ defects or intestinal, skin or lung problems. Important nutrients such as biotin, calcium, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B12, magnesium, pantothenic acid, copper, iodine and phosporus may be in very low quantities or absent altogether.
Biotin is an important vitamin but also an expensive one. Watch out for brands that skimp on this nutrient or eliminate it completely. There should be 100% of the RDA in your multi-vitamin or prenatal vitamin. The reason why a prenatal vitamin may not agree with your system is because of some of the ingredients in the tablets. If you have side effects of any kinds, it should be important for you to research the problem and find a solution that makes you feel good and energized like a multi-vitamin should do for you.
Next is the consideration: what is natural or how do you know you are getting natural? Vitamins are not regulated and bottles can say they are all-natural when they are not. That is a fact. So the answer is that you have to trust the brand that you use. They should be able to supply the proof.
‘Real’ natural vitamins should not contain ingredients that synthetics may contain such as: chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, artificial flavors or artificial additives. Natural vitamins should contain phyto-nutrients and live enzymes (that you won’t find in synthetic vitamins) that are processed through a low-heat method that keeps those enzymes alive to provide the nutrient absorption in your body.
Good quality natural vitamins should have the ingredients in the tablets balanced as closely to the way you would find the nutrients in nature. That is the way they grow in the food that we eat – the fresh foods that are the healthiest part of our daily food. There are companies who take the time and go to the expense of developing formulations that are readily absorbed by your body (your body needs to assimilate the nutrients in order to support better health) and are in the quantities that are proven by science to give you the most benefits.
29 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child I remember having an uncomfortable conversation with my doctor, and then again with the physician’s assistant, about not wanting to take the prenatal vitamin they were prescribing for me. I had found a brand of natural vitamins that made a high quality, pharmaceutical grade multi-vitamin and I was already taking it. My goal was to keep taking Shaklee vitamins because I trusted the brand to help me deliver a healthy baby. It wasn’t really hard to convince my doctor. Just as we can still do today, it’s simply a matter of showing our medical care professional the science, research, clinical testing, high quality pure natural ingredients including the amounts of natural nutrients, and I think it would be hard to find a doctor who would not be impressed.