Out of the most important stages of development that a human body goes through, we never take into account the time of development in the womb – the most rapid, complicated, and vital phase of development, which lays the foundation for the entirety of the human lifespan.
Pregnant women are often prescribed specific diets to ensure the growing fetus has the right level of nutrition for its proper development. A common misconception that couples have when prescribed prenatal supplements, is that a diet procured from natural sources of nutrition is the best and that other prescribed forms are "artificial", and are therefore bad. It's a thought that follows the "natural is always better" trend.
But for those who think that here's some food for thought - although naturally obtained forms of food have the nutrients it claims, it may not be consistent or at the right levels. For instance, two tomatoes from the same plant which may have even the same weight, won't have the same balance of nutrients it is composed of due to a variety of reasons. However prescribed supplements have a known value of its components, and that along with the right food helps complete the diet that should be maintained for the growing fetus.
What are some of the most important prenatal supplements we need in our diet and why?
While Folic acid is crucial when it comes to the reproductive health of women, it becomes even more vital during pregnancy as it helps in the rapid neural development of the fetus which results in ensuring that common birth defects do not occur.
Vitamin D and Calcium
We all know why Vitamin D is unique compared to all the other kinds of vitamins – it is synthesised by the human body on exposure to a healthy amount of sunlight. But what about our growing foetus? Supplements of Vitamin D ensure the required intake, and therefore helps in bone and muscle growth. There is another component that is important for bones and muscles too, and that’s Calcium. Maintaining the right intake of Calcium is important for everyone, but for the growing foetus that criticality is elevated.
We mentioned at the beginning how some of the most rapid growth spurts in our lifetime is during the prenatal phase. But how much energy do we need to aid this rapid growth? This is where Thiamine (Vitamin B1) comes into play. Accurate doses of Thiamine are highly advised as part of prenatal care to convert carbohydrates into energy – the powerhouse that drives the growth of the fetus. It's also important for the continuous function of the nervous system, heart, and other vital organs.
The growth of the fetus always poses some risk in developing certain complications. Thankfully, the right diet and intake of prescribed supplements ensure that we can keep most complications at bay. Take the example of Pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition due to high blood pressure that leads to the damage of several internal organs. Nutrients like Riboflavin or Vitamin B2, help in reducing the chances of developing such conditions, immensely.
Niacin / Vitamin B3
There are many instances when the over-consumption of certain nutrients can cause more harm than good. An example of this scenario is Niacin. While Niacin is essential for brain development, too much of it could even potentially cause liver damage, diarrhea, nausea, and many other health issues. Research says a carrying mother would require a minimum of 17mg of niacin daily.
While overconsumption is one side of the coin, the other is when very few amounts of a certain nutrient are consumed. The best example would be Vitamin B12. Not consuming enough Vitamin B12 could cause the fetus to develop neural tube effects that later affect the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system.
The list of nutrients and what it can do to help can go on – such as Vitamin E, Zinc, Iodine, Iron, etc. While many supplements during prenatal care could help the prenatal development in itself many others have been known to reduce the chances of premature birth, healthy weights, and studies are even going on how certain nutrients such as Vitamin E could even reduce the effects of ethanol and diabetes on the growing fetus during the prenatal period.
We hope this small guide has given an inkling of what you need to know about the vast world of nutrition for the growing fetus, especially if you are planning to become parents soon. The gravity of how important prenatal care is doesn’t always cross our minds at the first glance but we hope this will help widen your thinking. Of course, if you are looking for the doses which must be consumed do contact your Ob/Gyn specialists to ensure you have the right intake of all the necessary components of prenatal care. You can also try our Prenatal Multivitamin Supplement
The vitamin is formulated to provide the appropriate dosage and balance of ingredients, giving you exactly what you need before, during, or after your pregnancy.