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First Trimester Pregnancy – Prenatal Vitamins

Catherine Hansen, MD Catherine Hansen, MD February 17, 2021


"If you're eating healthy, there's a good chance you're getting all the nutrients you need to support you and your growing baby during pregnancy. But there's many nutrients that may be helpful and may augment your diet. If, for example, you're not able to eat a really healthy, nutritious diet with a lot of foods during your pregnancy, you might be plagued by nausea or bloating or constipation or things that throw off your ability to get the nutrients you need. Now, prenatal vitamins are very common. You can buy them almost everywhere, but they come in different qualities. So I want to encourage you to make sure you're getting the best quality prenatal vitamins that you possibly can. And I encourage my patients to get a pharmaceutical grade, meaning talk to your healthcare provider about which prenatal vitamins he or she recommends and making sure that they're of the highest possible quality, they're tested for concentration and solubility.

They have the active ingredients that they say they have, because believe it or not, sometimes what you buy over the counter doesn't even have the nutrients in it that it says on the bottle, depending on what quality control it has gone through. Now for prenatal vitamins, you definitely need to be taking folic acid. This is proven to reduce spinal bifida or neural tube defects in the baby. Preferably taking enough folic acid for two to three months prior to conceiving, if you were trying to get pregnant, then you definitely need to be taking folic acid before you even get pregnant in order to give your baby the best chances against spinal bifida or neural tube defect. The current dose is about 1 milligram, but you could take more or you could just take it enclosed in your prenatal vitamin. And vitamin D is another thing that we often don't get in our food.

So making sure that you're getting enough vitamin D in your prenatal vitamin. And some women need iron, although iron can be constipating and not everybody needs it. If you've had anemia or you're having trouble with your blood counts, or your doctors recommended that, or you're not getting iron in your diet through red meats or through lots of dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, you can get iron through lots of vegetables, you don't have to eat red meat, but if you're not getting iron in your diet, then iron is something that may be supplemented with your high quality prenatal vitamins. So there's no specific vitamins that I would recommend, except pharmaceutical grade, high quality and make sure you're getting folic acid, vitamin D, and potentially some iron. This is something that you'll want to talk to your healthcare provider about to make sure that you know, where and which vitamins to use."

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