The fact that vitamins and minerals are an important part of our diet isn’t anything new. Particularly for pregnant woman, vitamins and minerals can be very beneficial. But is it necessary to spend all that money on multivitamins, or is that just what marketers would like us to do?
During pregnancy, women will do their very best to ensure that their babies receive all of the nutrients that they need to ensure that they grow and develop as expected and are born healthy and happy. This makes them easy prey for marketers that claim expensive multivitamins are what we need during pregnancy. But studies reveal that not all vitamins are as essential as we might expect.
In the journal “Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin”, UK researchers published a report in which they stated that they didn’t find any evidence that pregnant women should any take prenatal multi-nutrient supplements, other than folic acid and vitamin D. The report explained that the important vitamins and minerals for pregnant women to consume are B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, D, E and K, folic acid, iodine, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc and selenium, but that when following a balanced diet, women would not clinically benefit from taking multivitamin supplements, except for the two mentioned previously. The big benefit here is that these two supplements are relatively inexpensive in comparison to the full multivitamin pack.
Important for all of us, but especially for pregnant women, is a healthy and balanced diet. This means a daily consumption from each of the five food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, protein foods and dairy. The ACOG, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, mention in their report about nutrition during pregnancy that by following a balanced diet, women will consume all necessary nutrients, which makes additional multivitamins supplements, apart from folic acid and vitamin D unnecessary.
Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps prevent major birth defects in babies. Current dietary guidelines recommend 400mcg of folic acid per day in the first three months of pregnancy and 600mcg after that, which is very difficult to get from food alone, making it important to add this supplement to your diet when pregnant.
Vitamin D works with calcium to help develop babies’ bones and teeth and is essential for healthy skin and good eyesight. Just like folic acid, supplementing your diet with daily vitamin D intake is necessary during pregnancy. Although studies differ on the amount of vitamin D recommended, a minimum of 400mcg daily seems to be the general recommendation.
So as long as you are able to follow a balanced diet, don’t spend more money than necessary on multivitamins. Consult with your doctor so that he can recommend which prenatal multivitamins you need to complement your diet, for a healthy and safe pregnancy.