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Prenatal Vitamins- Should You Take Supplements?
So, you have conceived but are completely lost at how to prepare your body for this drastic change. There is a need for your body to accept and provide a healthy room that can nourish the new life about to begin. Your entire system will now be supporting another life that will form and grow depending on what you nourish it with. Given the lifestyle that we have adopted, the body may go haywire in adjusting with the change. This is the time to have a proper nutritious diet along with certain prenatal vitamin supplements that will bridge the nutritional gap.
Folic Acid: This is extremely useful and the most recommended vitamin for all women and not just expecting mothers. Belonging to the vitamin B family, this acid helps in the formation of red blood cells (RBCs) and prevents heart, brain and spinal disorders.
The first three months being the most crucial (since most miscarriages happen then), it is important to incorporate foods like spinach, citrus fruits, peas, beans, asparagus, beet, sprouts which is rich sources. Folic acid is a super vitamin for all anaemic women and also to prevent changes to the DNA which might lead to the formation of cancerous cells.
Vitamin C: As a result of an increased volume of blood, the demand for Vitamin C by the body increases. Vitamin C helps in the efficient absorption of Iron, deficiency of which can lead to lower body weight and premature birth. However, it is necessary to avoid tea or coffee as it hinders the absorption process. It is an essential component for the formation of collagen which keeps the skin youthful. Natural sources include citrus fruits like guava, sweet lime, orange, lemon and vegetables.
Vitamin D: Sufficient amount of this vitamin is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the body which helps in the formation of strong bones and teeth of the child. In its absence, the child might have chances of being underweight or developing rickets.
An exposure to sunlight for at least 20 minutes a day can help you acquire sufficient vitamin D or else one can have Vitamin D supplements, only under the advice of a medical practitioner. Fishes like salmon and sardine, eggs and meat are also good sources of Vitamin D.
These vitamins can either be obtained from natural sources or supplemented artificially. Supplements are indispensible for expecting mothers since the body requires a higher dose of nutrients than normal, especially if the lifestyle is hectic, is bereft of discipline or there is a lack of nutritious food in the mother’s diet. Even with a very solid diet one cannot be absolutely sure if she and her child is getting enough of what has been recommended. In case of twins, triplets or more the mother’s body needs to cope with an even higher demand. Since adulterated food cannot boast of providing the daily recommended doses, most depend on supplements that are readily available in the market. Although the supplements are expensive, they can also be obtained at the government hospitals for free or at subsidized rates. However, rather than a self prescription (which might prove dangerous), it is extremely important to depend on a doctor’s advice as to what kind of supplements you might need.
Born and brought up in India, Anushree's thoughts have been conditioned by a surrounding diverse in all aspects. She aspires to travel round the world and have a taste of the culture, food and music. Her Masters in Political Science has given her a reality check as to where India stands in enlightening its womenfolk. Writing gives her the freedom to materialize her ideas and allow people to sneak into her mind. She finds it fun and liberating.