Prenatal vitamins can provide important nutrients that the body needs in order to develop a healthy baby – particularly vitamins and minerals that women might not get enough of even when following a well-balanced diet. Here are two tips for choosing a prenatal supplement for women thinking about getting pregnant and for those already eating for two:
Read the label.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it is best to look for vitamins that contain the following:
- Calcium (250 mg)
- Copper (2 mg)
- Folic acid (400-800 mcg)
- Iron (30 mg)
- Vitamin B-6 (2 mg)
- Vitamin C (50 mg)
- Vitamin D (400 international units)
- Zinc (15 mg)
Folic acid and iron are two of the most important nutrients, as they help prevent brain and spine defects (folic acid) and help with growth and development (iron). Each woman’s body is different, however, and each pregnancy can be different from the next. Therefore, it is important for women to talk to their doctor to determine whether additional vitamins might be necessary.
Make sure it dissolves.
In order for the body to absorb the nutrients it needs from the vitamin, it is important that the vitamin dissolves when it is in the stomach. Vitamins that have a seal of approval from the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) are generally good bets, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is also possible to test a vitamin’s dissolution rate at home by submerging it in half a cup of vinegar and stirring every five minutes. It is a good sign if the vitamin dissolves or separates into tiny pieces within 30 to 45 minutes.