What You Should Know About Over The Counter Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal Nutrition And Your Baby

When you are pregnant, you have a growing life that is completely dependent upon you.  It is as vulnerable as a being can be, and it is vitally important that you keep the best of nutrition during this period so that your baby can grow as strongly and healthily as possible.  Prenatal vitamins are a big part of prenatal nutrition, but many women wonder about whether over the counter prenatal vitamins are good enough.

All About Over The Counter Prenatal Vitamins

Are over the counter prenatal vitamins good enough for you and your baby?  For the most part, the answer is yes.  This might surprise you to learn but there is really not that much difference between over the counter prenatal vitamins and prescription prenatal vitamins.

Both types of vitamins are going to include the same three basic ingredients: folic acid (the most important) iron and calcium.  Of the three, folic acid is the only place you are going to find any difference.  That is because larger dosages of folic acid require a doctor's prescription.

For most women, however, these higher dosages of folic acid are not required, and over the counter prenatal vitamins are going to be able to give you all of the folic acid you need.  A typical over the counter will give you about .4 miligrams of folic acid, versus 1 mg in your typical prescription prenatal.  (In certain cases doctors will prescribe extremely high folate vitamins with 4 mg of folic acid, but the vast majority of women do not require such a large supplement).

Cautions About Over The Counter Prenatal Vitamins

If you are taking an over the counter prenatal vitamin, make sure you know what is inside of it.  If you are already taking a multivitamin you will most likely need to cease taking it while you are taking the prenatal, since too many vitamins can be a bad thing and it is rarely smart to take two multivitamins.

The most important time to take over the counter prenatal vitamins is during the first trimester.  While it is good to take them throughout, the most important stage is the first three months of pregnancy.  This is when the most important development of the fetus is taking place and when it needs these nutrients the most.

You should always consult a doctor before taking over the counter prenatal vitamins. You might think they can't hurt you because they are over the counter, but if you are taking anything else they might have side effects you did not count on.  You should also ensure that they are strong enough for you, and see if there are any specific risks you should take into consideration.

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