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What are the Different Types of Vitamins for Pregnancy?

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  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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There are a few different types of vitamins for pregnancy that, when taken as part of a nutritional diet, can help keep a woman and her growing baby healthy. Prenatal vitamins, often prescribed by doctors to pregnant women, help to fill in any gaps in a woman's diet, especially if she experiences morning sickness. Folic acid, recommended for all women of childbearing age, can greatly reduce the risk of a child developing an open neural tube defect. Research has also found that taking an omega-3 DHA supplement with other vitamins for pregnancy can help an unborn baby's brain develop.

While prenatal vitamins don’t replace the need for healthy food, they are the most commonly prescribed vitamins for pregnancy. They typically contain at least 300 mg of calcium, 17 mg of iron, and a multitude of other vitamins and minerals to aid in maintaining mom and baby's health. Calcium helps to prevent bone density loss in the mother because her body uses the majority of its normal calcium intake to help grow the baby's bones. Iron helps oxygen move through blood; since blood is what carries a lot of the nutrients to the baby, iron is necessary for a healthy pregnancy.

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Some prenatal vitamins for pregnancy include folic acid. Taking folic acid for at least one month prior to conception and through the entire pregnancy may reduce the risk of a child having an open neural tube defect. Whether the neural tubes close is determined in the first 30 days following conception; consuming folic acid for pregnancy before this point allows this essential nutrient to build up in a woman's body. Women of child bearing age, and especially pregnant women, are often advised to take 400 to 800 mg of folic acid every day.

Omega-3 fatty acids are known for aiding in brain development. The most common food source of this fat, which contains DHA, is found in fish that is often high in mercury. Due to the dangers of mercury during pregnancy, women are often advised to limit their intake of certain fish. This limit, however, means that most pregnant women are not getting the optimal amount of omega-3s and DHA in their diet.

Taking vitamins for pregnancy that contain these fatty acids has been found to increase fetal brain development and reduce behavioral problems as the child gets older. This supplement is often derived from fish oil that has had mercury removed. Research has found that most expectant women should take 250 mg a day during pregnancy.

When these vitamins are taken regularly in addition to a nutritional diet, it can help both mother and baby stay as healthy as possible. Vitamins for pregnancy should always be purchased from reputable companies. Before taking any supplementation during pregnancy, however, women should discuss their options with their doctor.

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