Are Prenatal Vitamins Really Necessary?
One of the first things that happens when a woman visits a doctor either in a visit to discuss becoming pregnant or the first visit after becoming pregnant is that she will receive a prescription for prenatal vitamins. It is such a common occurrence that most women don’t give it a second thought. Vitamin supplementation is generally a debatable topic, but medical doctors agree that it is imperative for women who are pregnant. Consider the last time you had a nasty cold, for example. It is probably the case that your doctor did not prescribe that you take high doses of vitamin C as a treatment method.
Quite often, doctors are reluctant to prescribe vitamins for any health condition. So, why is it that they don’t hesitate to prescribe prenatal vitamins? Quite simply, pregnancy means that a woman has to consume enough nutrients for two lives (more if multiple births are expected).
If people in general don’t consume sufficient vitamins, it only makes sense that women would have a huge deficit of nutrients if they were to become pregnant. Not all prenatal vitamins are the same. While a woman will need sufficient amounts of all essential vitamins and minerals, the most important to a baby are folic acid and calcium. Folic acid is a B vitamin that is essential to prevent birth defects, especially those of the spinal cord and brain. A pregnant woman needs extra calcium so that the baby’s teeth and bones can grow healthy and strong. The additional supply of calcium prevents the baby from the baby having to draw calcium from the mother’s bone.
Of course, every woman has different needs. If you are a vegetarian, have a low tolerance for certain foods, or are on a restricted diet for health reasons, prenatal vitamins can provide you and your baby the nutrients you need that would otherwise not obtain. The exact vitamins you need is a determination that your doctor will make. Some women neglect to take prenatal vitamins and attempt to use a multivitamin instead. This is not a good idea since multivitamins rarely contain the additional nutrients that a woman needs when she is pregnant.
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