So something that my family doctor had recommended when we first discussed TTC many months ago was to start taking a prenatal vitamin. I was a bit surprised that he was actually recommending starting the vitamin before we knew we were even pregnant. Apparently reason being was two-fold. Firstly, folic acid and other nutrients can build up in your system to support your pregnancy, and secondly, the most critical time for folic acid is within the first 8 weeks, when many moms don’t even know they’re pregnant yet! So I’ve been taking a prenatal for about a year now, but wondered if there was actually any research to support doing this. Here is the vitamin that I take, priced at about $0.45 a pill, whereas one-a-day’s women’s formula costs about $0.07 a pill! Hence my skepticism to taking them at all! Especially early! So here’s some research that I found regarding their importance J
I looked at about 10-15 journal articles focused on prenatal vitamins, vitamin D supplementation and folic acid supplementation. EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE pointed towards the importance of taking an all-inclusive prenatal vitamin, which amazed me. If you frequently read peer-reviewed journal articles, you’ll understand how rare that is! Typically there are a handful of articles that support just the opposite of whatever is overwhelmingly supported in the literature. Not so today!
Prenatal vitamin D supplementation has been found to specifically increase your baby’s vitamin D (especially in women with dark skin/African Americans and those who are obese, as these populations typically have lower vitamin D production). Vitamin D is important for lung health, absorption of calcium (which helps with bone health), decreasing risk for diabetes, cardiovascular health and autoimmune health.
Folic acid supplementation has been found (with overwhelming evidence) to decrease risk for neural tube deficits, such as anencephaly and spina bifida. Further research has suggested that prenatal folic acid may decrease risk for autism spectrum disorders (specifically when taken 4 weeks pre-conception to 8 weeks post-conception), severe language delay at age 3, and risk for preeclampsia and small for gestational age births.
All of this research gave me the confidence that I needed to take those pricey, horse pill shaped prenatal vitamins!