How Taking Prenatal Nutrients Can Play A Critical Part During Pregnancy

By Keith Woolley

Many women try to do their best to remain as healthy as possible through their pregnancies. They cut out alcohol and harmful medications. But prenatal nutrients are one of the most important factors in the health of your pregnancy, and your continuing health as well. Here is a look at some of the most important nutrients you need to take in any supplement, as well as some information about why they are so critical to growing a healthy baby.

Folic acid is important because it helps your baby form a proper nervous system. It helps the neural tubes which are important to the nervous system form correctly and allows the skin to close over the spinal cord at the right stage of development. If the nervous system does not form properly, the baby can develop a serious and life threatening disease. Because the nervous system is formed in very early pregnancy, health care officials are recommending that women take folic acid supplements before they become pregnant so that there are the proper levels of this nutrient in your body. You should also try and eat foods that are high in folate, a natural form of folic acid.

If the spinal cord and nervous system do not develop properly, the baby can be born with spina bifida. Depending on the extent of the illness, it can cause fluid to form on the baby's brain and the spinal cord can be left exposed. This can lead to death or mental retardation and can be extremely serious and hard to correct. Because of this, if you are on medications which can affect the levels of folic acid in your body, you may want to speak with your doctor about extra folic acid supplements and monitoring the levels in your body.

Another nutrient which many women are low on during pregnancy is iron.

You need this to help build a proper blood supply for the baby as well as form a healthy placenta. This is what the baby will use to nurture and feed itself during the rest of the pregnancy so you need to make sure it forms properly. A lack of iron can lead to anemia which can result in serious health complications. If you find that you are getting queasy because of the iron you are taking, you may want to try a different form of iron. The two forms available are ferrous gluconate and ferrous fumerate. Iron supplements can cause constipation and dark colored stools which can be offputting but is often not serious.

In addition to forming blood, your body also will need calcium to help form the baby's skeletal system. Many women have found that if they do not have enough calcium in their diet they will actually end up having calcium pulled from their bones in order to accommodate the needs of the growing baby. In addition to eating and drinking dairy products, a good prenatal vitamin supplement can help you stay as healthy and bone-strong as possible.

There are a number of different foods that can supply you with the nutrients you need. Calcium is found in dairy products such as milk and cheese. It needs vitamin D to be absorbed properly. You also need to make sure that if you are taking iron that you take vitamin C as well so that you can absorb it properly. If you suffer from morning sickness you may want to explore different ways of taking vitamins.

You can get vitamins in pill form, but you can also get them in powdered and liquid formulas. This may be best if you have trouble swallowing solids. They are worth a try as long as you make sure they have the right nutrients for proper development. You can also take them at night so that you can sleep through any periods of nausea.

Vegetarians may have special challenges when it comes to proper prenatal nutrition. You may lack iron due to a shortage of red meat products in your daily diet, and calcium from animal products may also be an issue. There are a number of very complete vegan nutritional supplements that you can take, you just need to be sure they have all the elements and vitamins you need. Working with your doctor can be the best way to keep yourself healthy and your baby growing strong. - 30525

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