5 key vitamins and nutrients you need during pregnancy, and why!
This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation on behalf of Viactiv that contains affiliate links. I received Viactiv products for my own personal use. This post is not intended to address or diagnose any medical conditions. All opinions, text and experiences are my own.
As a pregnant woman, I am constantly inundated with ways to care for my baby, and baby "must haves", both online and from friends and family. Taking care of our children is important, yes, but what about me? As mothers, we need to make sure to treat ourselves well and make sure we are getting all of our daily nutritional needs in order to be the in the best health possible. Because if mama has an off day, everyone has an off day!
When you're expecting, the first thing everyone tells you to do is take is a Prenatal vitamin. Many of us assume that these vitamins are all inclusive and have all of our daily recommended needs, but unfortunately, that's just not the case.
At my first appointment with my Midwife, she asked me what vitamins I was taking. I told her the brand of Prenatal, and she looked it up online to show me that I was still missing out on some crucial vitamins by only taking the one supplement a day. After that first appointment, she had me add the following vitamins to make sure both baby and I were benefitting the most from my daily intake:
- Vitamin D
- Folic Acid
- DHA Omega 3s
Vitamin D3 in particular, along with Calcium were the first two things my Midwife told me I needed to start adding to my Prenatals. While certain guidelines say that you only need around 600 IU per day, my Midwife told me that women in the Northwest particularly need more as we don't experience as much sun, and that everything she has read and researched lately suggested to up my Vitamin D3 to 4,000 - 6,000 IU! Vitamin D as a supplement is crucial, because food isn't a good source, and time spent out in the sunshine isn't always an option, or sufficient.
Calcium is critical for the development of baby's bones, teeth, heart, nerves, and muscles, and if mom isn't getting the required 1,000 mg of Calcium daily through regular dietary sources (which most of us aren't!), then a supplement is definitely needed. Did you know that if you don't have enough Calcium in your diet than baby starts draining what it needs from your bones? That's not a good thing for either of you, and can actually lead to Osteopenia and Osteoporosis and high bone fracture rates later on in life! My Midwife actually told me that most Prenatal supplements cap out at about 20% of our daily Calcium needs, and for those of us who can't eat dairy, that means we more than likely are way under our necessary intake.
To confirm these facts, I looked at several of the most popular leading Prenatal brands' nutritional facts labels to see the Calcium count, just to see if this was really true, and found that many of them had 125mg - 200mg (with the majority having 150 mg), which is sadly only about 12.5% - 20% of our daily recommended needs as women, let alone women who are pregnant. In fact, several of the more 'natural' brands of Prenatals that I looked at didn't even list Calcium amounts on the nutrition facts label, which leads me to believe there isn't enough of this crucial ingredient in the supplement for the company to be able to count!
Folic Acid is included in many Prenatals nowadays, thank goodness, but make sure that yours has at least 400 - 800 mcg (the original one I was taking only had about 200 mcg, which was definitely not enough!). This helps keep your placenta healthy and can prevent spina bifida, as well as other neural tube defects.
Even if you're not pregnant, you should be getting at least 200 mg of DHA Omega 3 fatty acids, but pregnant women should up that to 300 mg per day. DHA is not only an essential nutrient for women, but has immense benefits for baby as well, both for during pregnancy and postpartum. A few of the benefits include optimal brain and eye development, and studies have even shown that supplementing with DHA can increase the length of pregnancy by up to 6 days, which means less likelihood for preterm birth, and DHA can also possibly be linked to improving the baby's developmental milestones, such as hand-eye coordination and attention span.
Our need for Iron increases while pregnant, and almost 1 in every 5 pregnant women are diagnosed with Iron deficiency in the US. Ensuring you are getting at least 27 mg of Iron each day can prevent anemia, low birth weight and premature delivery, and helps in the production of hemoglobin (which is what carries oxygen from the lungs to the body's tissues) for both mom and baby. Because you'll need more Iron, you'll also want to consider a daily probiotic and / or adding in extra fiber in your diet or a light stool softener, as the Iron has a tendency to stop things up, and nobody wants that!
The list was a little overwhelming at first, but I've quickly found easy ways to incorporate all of the above vitamins into my daily routine. The first thing that I did was to switch my Prenatal to one that had more DHA and Folic acid, and the next was to start including Viactiv Soft Chews - the #1 doctor-recommended calcium-supplement chew.
Viactiv Soft Chews were a no-brainer addition to make sure I get all the calcium both baby and I need, and it sure doesn't hurt that the Caramel soft chews are ridiculously delicious. Considering that Osteoporosis runs in my family, especially in females, I've always tried to make sure I have enough Vitamin D and Calcium in my diet, but with having to change my diet to remove dairy products recently, I've been struggling to keep up. When I saw that one Viactiv Calcium Soft Chew (500 mg of calcium and 500 IU of Vitamin D) taken twice daily provides 100% of the daily value of calcium for most women plus vitamins D and K, I was sold.
As an added bonus, each of the Viactiv Soft Chews are individually wrapped, so I tend to throw a handful in each of my purses and diaper bag so I don't forget to take them, and they are more convenient and accessible so it means I actually take them, (which is, of course, the most important part of the whole process)! Along with obtaining adequate calcium in your diet, regular bone strengthening exercises, supplementing with Viactiv when your diet isn't enough is part of the three keys to healthy bones. Viactiv Soft Chews are a super easy, good tasting way to help decrease my risk for osteoporosis and ensure that both my growing baby and I are getting an adequate intake of necessary Calcium, daily.
Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews are available in milk chocolate and caramel flavors at major retailers including CVS, Rite Aid, Target, and Walmart, as well as supermarkets nationwide. Print this coupon to save $2 on your next in-store purchase of Viactiv.
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Were you aware of the calcium needs during pregnancy?
Were you aware of the calcium needs during pregnancy?
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please speak with your healthcare provider regarding any medical concerns.