Pregnancy is period of an astonishing transition: a body that supported a single human being must now sustain two. As a bundle of cell grows into a full-sized baby, the mother's uterus, blood vessels, body chemistry, hormonal balances, and even solid tissues go through changes that can be supported by the best prenatal vitamins.
It's no surprise that most expectant mothers seek out the best nutrition. Women have used herbs and foods to support pregnancy, birth, and breast-feeding since before the beginning of recorded history. The thing to remember is that pregnancy is a time when the consequences of inappropriate treatment are especially severe. Just as certain medications can cause birth defects, seemingly benign supplements, even natural ones, raise the risk of complications.
Some traditional herbal remedies, such as blue cohosh to induce labor, are so dangerous they have to be avoided completely. The best prenatal vitamins, however, are not only safe but also effective. Here are a few choices that appropriate for any mother and baby.
There is no doubt that folic acid (folate) supplements prevent neural tube defects and other defects such as cleft lip and cleft palate. If you are a woman and you have any plans ever to have a baby, think folate now.
Folic acid is a B vitamin. It is found in a wide range of foods in very small amounts, and it is added to many bread and grain products. The embryo needs this leader of the best prenatal vitamins during the first 45 days after conception to grow a normal brain and spinal cord.
The problem is, folic acid deficiencies can't be corrected in a single dose of the vitamin. If a woman is deficient in this B vitamin, it's possible she won't know she's pregnant before the embryo already needs folic acid for normal growth. This is why folic acid is the prenatal vitamin any woman who can become pregnant should take every day. A recommended dose is 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) a day before pregnancy and 800 micrograms a day during pregnancy.
The best prenatal vitamins can also make pregnancy more comfortable. It's not unusual for pregnant women to experience painful leg cramps. Eating foods that are rich in magnesium, such as leafy greens, whole grains, and fruit (the same foods that provide folic acid) helps, but often isn't enough. If the diet is providing enough magnesium and calcium, then a combination of vitamins B-1 (thiamine) and B-6 (pyridoxine) usually relieves this form of distress.
Taking the best prenatal vitamins, that is, a balanced vitamin B supplement, a vitamin D supplement, and just the daily recommended allowances for magnesium and zinc seems to ensure a normal birth weight for the baby. Megadoses of these supplements aren't necessary for the baby. It's only necessary to prevent deficiency.
Back in the middle of the twentieth century, doctors often prescribed iron for preventing low birth weight. It's now recognized, however, that straight iron supplements aren't a good idea for most expectant mothers. A careful scientific study found that routine iron supplements taken during pregnancy had no effect on birth weight.
However, if the mother is anemic, taking iron with folic acid (or a balanced B supplement) may correct the condition. Even if the mother is not deficient in any of the B vitamins, taking folic acid helps the mother's body absorb the iron more completely and resolve anemia more quickly.
What are the other benefits of the best prenatal vitamins?
Miscarriage is caused by many factors, but low levels of vitamin B-12 are a risk factor. Taking a supplement that contains the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B-12 may help. This vitamin also prevents certain kinds of anemia not related to iron deficiency.
When there is gestational diabetes, taking the best prenatal vitamins, especially vitamin B-6. along with chromium, once again, in therapeutic rather than megadoses, helps control blood sugars. This B vitamin also helps prevent complications of diabetes in pregnant women who are diabetic when they are not pregnant.
Gallbladder problems are a complication of some pregnancies. They are relieved by s-adenosyl-methionine, better known as SAM-e. A very small dose of SAM-e, as little as 20 mg, will help this condition. It isn't necessary to spend a lot of money at the supplements store buying a higher dosage.
However, you can help your body make its own SAM-e by making sure you take a balanced B vitamin every day. The combination of vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, and folic acid allows your body to "recharge" SAM-e and also prevents harmful levels of the chemical homocysteine from building up in the bloodstream.
One last common condition of pregnancy that can be relieved by the best prenatal vitamins is gingivitis. Folic acid helps, in the form of a folic acid mouthwash or a folic acid supplement.
B and D are the best prenatal vitamins: safe, effective, and risk-free. Take these important vitamins as part of a balanced daily supplementation routine for health of mother and child.
The women's vitamin supplement Total Balance Women's
from Xtend-Life is the best prenatal vitamins we have found on the market. It covers the above womans prenatal vitamin needs.
Total Balance and vitamin nutritional supplements are covered in detail in the what we take tab on the upper left of this page.
As with any womans vitamins, it is recommend you always check with your physician before taking vitamins and supplements.