Prenatal Vitamins: Why You Need Them

Featured Article, Reproductive Health, Vitamins, Minerals & Supplements
on May 28, 2013

Taking prenatal vitamins is one of the most important things you can do while you are pregnant. Women should begin taking these supplements before conception, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Prenatal vitamins not only help the development of a healthy baby, but also keep a soon-to-be mother healthy and happy.

Neural tube development. The neural tube eventually develops into the brain and spinal cord and begins forming at about five weeks into pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. Because pregnancies are often undetected at this point, it is important to start taking prenatal vitamins before you conceive to prevent potential issues with neurological development.

Circulatory development. Around the same time that your baby’s neural tube is forming, the basic circulatory system is growing rapidly. A heartbeat can be heart faintly as soon as the fifth week of pregnancy, meaning it is imperative for women trying to conceive to begin taking prenatal vitamins before conception. Prenatal vitamins have the correct blend of vitamins C, D and E; riboflavin; calcium and other nutrients necessary for proper circulatory development, according to The Visual MD.

Preventing premature birth. Prenatal vitamins should be rich in iron, one of the most common deficiencies in women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Iron helps a child develop good motor skills and is integral in transporting oxygen through the bloodstream. Severe iron deficiency can lead to premature birth. Babies that are born even a few weeks premature have a higher risk of mortality within the first year, according to the March of Dimes. Premature babies also tend to get sick more often and may have issues developing cognitively and physically.

Healthy mother, healthy baby. Taking prenatal vitamins can help soon-to-be mothers keep their own body as healthy as possible. Unborn children are protected by the mother’s immune system and get vital nutrients from the mother’s body. Staying as healthy as possible by eating a balanced diet and ensuring proper nutrition through prenatal vitamins is the best way to make sure that your baby gets the essential vitamins and minerals he or she needs in order to become a healthy adult.