Do I Need Prenatal Multivitamins?
In addition to a healthy diet, if you are planning to have a baby, you should take one prenatal multivitamin supplement daily that contains Folic Acid and Iron. Make sure your supplement contains no more than 10,000 IU of Vitamin A. Too much Vitamin A can cause birth defects.
A prenatal multivitamin like Centrum Prenatal supports the body with Folic Acid and supports fertility with Zinc. In women, Zinc supports hormonal regulation and metabolic signals that influence the reproductive system, which contributes to normal fertility.
When you are pregnant, you can meet most of your nutritional needs by eating according to Canada’s Food Guide. However, your diet alone cannot give you high enough levels of some nutrients. Two nutrients you will need to supplement are Folic Acid and Iron. Your daily prenatal multivitamin needs to have at least 0.4 milligrams (mg) of Folic Acid and 16-20 mg of Iron (Health Canada’s Prenatal Nutrition Guidelines). A health care provider can help you choose the prenatal multivitamin that is right for you.
How long should I take my prenatal multivitamin?
Start taking the prenatal multivitamin three months before conception, and continue throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period (4-6 weeks and as long as breastfeeding continues). You should not take more than one daily dose of vitamin supplement, as indicated on the product label.
Can’t I just take a Folic Acid supplement?
Mothers to-be and their growing babies need more than just Folic Acid. In addition to helping prevent neural tube defects, when taken daily prior to becoming pregnant and during early pregnancy, a complete prenatal multivitamin can also help prevent Iron deficiency anemia. A prenatal multivitamin taken before, during and after pregnancy while breastfeeding can help cover all the bases.