Why Are Supplements Important During Pregnancy. Being malnourished can drastically increase the chance of your baby being born with a defect or being born unhealthy. The baby developing inside of you can only feed off what you put into your body, and if there simply isn’t enough of a certain chemical or protein, then this could quite easily hinder it’s growth.
It’s important to understand that supplements are not drugs or medicine, they are simply consumed alongside your normal diet to boost a particular vitamin or mineral that you might need more of during pregnancy. Supplements should never be used as a replacement for the food based alternative.
What Supplements Should Pregnant Women Take
Although a lot of supplements have inconclusive evidence supporting it’s use, folic acid supplements are one of the rare few which are widely regarded as very beneficial to a pregnant woman and her baby.
Folic acid can be found in a huge array of every day foods that you can consume, but depending on your appetite or the nature of your cravings during pregnancy it could be difficult, or simply downright impossible, to consume enough of these foods to deliver the right amount of folic acid to your body.
Foods that contain folic acid include: green beans, spinach, broccoli and potatoes. Folic acid supplements are generally strongly recommended during the early stages of your pregnancy. A pregnancy with sufficient amounts of this vitamin, compared to a pregnancy without sufficient folic acid, is much less likely to develop a baby with a wide range of problems such as cleft lip, heart diseases or being delivered prematurely.
Among some of the more common deficiencies found in pregnant women is a deficit of vitamin D. This vitamin is a very important to the process of teeth and bone growth.
You can take supplements with vitamin D to ensure you have enough of it in your body for the baby to grow healthy. Studies have shown that babies of pregnant women with a lack of sufficient amount of vitamin D in their body can experience growth problems, bone deformities or delayed physical development. These problems may be a temporary hindrance to the baby’s well being, or could be permanent.
Vitamin D can naturally be obtained from foods and sunlight exposure. A lot of fish contain significant amounts of vitamin D – these include catfish, salmon, mackerel and tuna. A lot of other types of foods are fortified with vitamin D. It’s incredibly difficult however to be able to get the recommended amount of the vitamin from foods alone. Non pregnant people will usually be able to naturally supplement the body’s vitamin D food intake with exposure to sunlight, however this is generally not advised for pregnant women.
The solution therefore is to take capsule or pill based supplements containing the vitamin to make sure you have enough of it.
A lot of products on the market are now branded as pregnancy focused pills that can be taken to guarantee enough of all nutrients in your diet.
These can be good for people who haven’t really looked into the required nutrients they need to boost while they’re pregnant, however, for most people, this is overkill and can result in too much nutrients going into the body. While the consequences of having too much vitamins and minerals in your body are no where near to the same extent as a deficiency, studies have shown that it does require the liver to do extra work in breaking down the compounds that aren’t required.
Although the branding for these tablets is solely focused on women during pregnancy, in reality, they are usually just normal multi vitamin tablets with a bit more folic acid in them. On the other hand, taking these tablets does give you the peace of mind that you aren’t deficient in another vitamin type that could also affect pregnancy.
As we’ve already mentioned, supplements should only be taken to add to the minerals and vitamins you should be getting from your diet. Eating a nice healthy and balanced diet is by far the most effective way of ensuring your baby develops healthily and without problems.
As with any change in your diet or medications, always consult your doctor or a medical professional before, to ensure that they are appropriate for your situation in particular.
When it comes to being pregnant, most women can be over cautious of what they eat and what they do, and as a consequence, it can take a huge toll on their well being, causing more harm than good. While taking supplements might be frowned upon by some people, it could be an easy solution for pregnant women who find it difficult to consume all their required nutrients and minerals needed every day.