First of all, the demands for vitamins and proper nutrition increase significantly for a woman during and after pregnancy, especially if a woman is breastfeeding. Vitamin supplements are recommended by most obstetricians for their patients today, to ensure a pregnant woman receives adequate nutrition for her health and that of her developing fetus.
One of the essential vitamins at the top of the list would be folic acid, also known as vitamin B9. Folic acid is necessary for protection against possible neurological defects of the unborn fetus, especially in the earlier stages of pregnancy. Examples, of these neurological diseases, would be Spina Bifida, and anencephaly. The prevention of anemia in pregnancy is also a factor in prescribing an increase in folic acid for a pregnant woman.
Vitamin A is vital in the development of cell growth, and aids in the resistance of certain infections. Vitamin A supplements in a prenatal vitamin are regulated by the obstetrician, however, to only a recommended level.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for pregnant women to help in building healthy bones and teeth by helping to regulate the levels of phosphorous and calcium.
Vitamin C is another essential vitamin for elevating the body’s resistance to infection, and promoting tissue repair and wound healing.
The B vitamins, such as thiamine, riboflavin, and vitamin B6, are also essential vitamins for pregnant women. Thiamine helps promote normal functioning of the heart and nervous system and is necessary for healthy brain development of the fetus. Vitamin B6 also promotes healthy brain and nervous system development. Riboflavin helps with increased energy levels and supporting a normal nervous system in the baby.
Calcium is an essential mineral that is added to prenatal vitamins, to ensure a pregnant mother receives the requirements the body needs for the developing growth of a baby’s bones and teeth.
Finally, along with the essential vitamins, minerals are also important for a woman to supplement her diet to ensure she is getting an adequate amount for her and the unborn fetus. For example, it is not unusual for a pregnant woman to become iron deficient during pregnancy, especially if she has severe morning sickness during her pregnancy.
Zinc has also shown to play an essential role in helping to protect against preterm births. Iodine is needed in a pregnant woman’s diet to allow healthy brain growth and aid in developing thyroid hormones. Studies by WHO, have linked a lack of zinc in a pregnant woman’s body to an increased risk of mental retardation in an unborn baby.
In conclusion, essential vitamins play a vital role in providing, a pregnant woman the added protection she requires to maintain a healthy body for herself and her unborn baby. This, along, with proper nutrition, can help assure a pregnant woman the added health benefits that essential vitamins and a healthy diet can give.