Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive need more of certain vitamins and minerals than other people, especially folic acid.
Some women with very healthy and varied diets may already get enough essential nutrients through their diet.
But many women take prenatal supplements to ensure they are getting a full range of vitamins and minerals to support themselves and the developing fetus properly.
This article discusses the most important prenatal vitamins and why they are necessary.
Best prenatal vitamins to take
There are many different prenatal vitamins to choose from, including those available at a pharmacy or online. A doctor may sometimes prescribe prenatal vitamins to women with particular health considerations.
Deciding which prenatal supplements to buy comes down to what they contain. Different women will need different doses of some vitamins and minerals, depending on factors such as diet, age, and activity levels.
Typically, a good prenatal vitamin for most women over 19 years of age should contain:
Folic acid: At least 400 micrograms (mcg) before pregnancy, 600 mcg during pregnancy, and 500 mcg when breastfeeding.
Vitamin B-12: 2.6–2.8 mcg.
Iron: 27 milligrams (mg) in pregnancy and 9–10 mg when breastfeeding.
Calcium: 1,000–1,300 mg.
Vitamin D: 600 international units (IU).
Zinc: 11 mg during pregnancy and 12 mg during breastfeeding.
Vitamin A: 750–770 mcg for pregnancy and 1,200–1,300 mcg for breastfeeding.
Vitamin B-6: 1.9–2.0 mg.
Iodine: 220 mcg during pregnancy and 290 mcg during lactation.
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