What you need to know when choosing a prenatal vitamin
If you’ve ever looked into getting a Prenatal Vitamin you’ll know that there are A LOT of options out there and that it can be an overwhelming process to pick one out. This post is going to give you all the details you need to know for buying the best Prenatal Vitamin. There are 3 key things to look out for when buying your prenatal.
Vitamin/Mineral Form – Vitamins and Minerals can come in many different forms and not all forms are equal. Some are better absorbed by the human body and different forms are good for different things. For example, Magnesium bisglycinate is good for muscle tension whereas Magnesium citrate is good for constipation.
Dose – if you’re not getting the right dose then there’s no point in taking the vitamin. Unfortunately, those 1 a day multivitamins are a waste of money because they are generally not the right form of the vitamin (see point 1) and they don’t have nearly enough of each vitamin to make a difference.
Other ingredients – watch out for unnecessary fillers/preservatives and dyes. There’s no need for these to be here and will cause more harm than good.
It is also important to note that taking a prenatal vitamin will not make up for eating McDonalds, chips, and coca cola for dinner every night. To have a truly healthy pregnancy and set your child up for optimal health in the future you have to put the work in with your diet and take a high quality prenatal. It’s pretty cool actually, new-ish research is emerging showing that a mother’s diet/lifestyle during pregnancy may alter the epigenetic impact on an array of aspects regarding the fetus’ future health. These aspects include obesity, allergies, cardiovascular health (ie. development of cardiovascular diseases), metabolic health (development of diabetes), etc. It is best to start your prenatal vitamin a few months before trying to conceive and continue taking it until you finish breastfeeding (if you decide to breastfeed).
Below I have listed the vitamins and minerals to take extra notice of when purchasing your prenatal vitamin:
Vitamin A – should be in beta-carotene form at a max dose of 1000IU.
Folate – NOT Folic Acid at 1mg daily. Folate or L-Methylfolate is the active form of folic acid and is more easily absorbed. This is especially important for those with a 5-methlytetrahydrofolate (MTHFR) gene mutation. This gene is needed to break folic acid down into folate.
Vitamin B6 – The active form is Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P5P) and will be optimal for absorption. This vitamin is helpful for combatting pregnancy induced nausea (Vitamin B6 and an antihistamine make up the commonly prescribed medication, Diclectin, for morning sickness).
Vitamin B12 – Methlycobalamin B12 is better absorbed than Cyanocobalamin. This vitamin is important for nervous system development and may help with low energy.
Calcium – Calcium citrate is more easily absorbed than Calcium carbonate.
Iron – Iron bisglycinate is more easily absorbed than other forms of iron and is less likely to cause constipation. It takes 500-1100 mg of of iron to create each baby so it is important to ensure you have enough. The baby mainly uses the iron in the 2nd and 3rd trimester.
Magnesium – Magnesium bisglycinate is more easily absorbed than citrate or oxide forms. Magnesium citrate and oxide may also cause diarrhea.
No preservatives or dyes. This would be listed in the non-medicinal ingredients.
I hope this answered your questions about prenatal vitamins!
Dr. Iuliana Corman, ND