In my role as a midwife, I frequently encounter inquiries about optimal nutrition and diet during pregnancy. Questions often revolve around the do’s and don’ts of dietary choices. To shed light on the critical role of multivitamins during pregnancy and guide you on selecting the right ones, let me share my insights.
Allow me to introduce myself – I am Rachael, a UK-based midwife with over two decades of experience. Additionally, I am the founder of bitbaby, a wearable device designed to monitor womb movements during the later stages of pregnancy.
Multivitamins and Pregnancy:
Understanding the essentials of the multivitamins you should incorporate during pregnancy is crucial. This period represents a significant phase of a woman’s life, marked by substantial bodily changes. Proper nutrition becomes paramount to ensure the well-being and development of both the mother and the growing baby.
Multivitamins serve as a valuable resource to guarantee that both you and your baby receive the necessary nutrients. These supplements provide the vital elements crucial for fetal development.
Your midwife will likely recommend commencing with folic acid during the first trimester, and you can even start taking it when attempting to conceive. Folic acid is one of the most crucial nutrients during the initial 12 weeks, as it plays a pivotal role in the formation of the baby’s brain and spinal cord.
Other essential nutrients to incorporate include:
Iron – indispensable for the production of red blood cells, vital for carrying oxygen to the developing fetus.
Calcium – crucial for the development of robust bones and teeth.
Vitamin D – aids in the absorption of calcium.
Omega-3 fatty acids – vital for the baby’s brain and eye development.
An additional reason multivitamins are vital during pregnancy is their role in preventing complications. Iron deficiency, a common pregnancy complication leading to anaemia, can result in premature birth and low birth weight. Adequate iron intake through multivitamins helps prevent such complications. Furthermore, folic acid, present in multivitamins, can contribute to preventing conditions like preeclampsia, characterized by high blood pressure, liver, and kidney damage.
While the benefits of multivitamins extend to your baby’s well-being, they also contribute to your overall health during pregnancy. Multivitamins containing omega-3 fatty acids aid in reducing inflammation, mitigating risks of gestational diabetes and preterm labor. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the multivitamin is suitable for pregnant women, as certain formulations, like cod liver oil, may contain high levels of Vitamin A, potentially harmful to the developing baby. For variety, incorporate two servings of oily fish like tuna, salmon, or sardines into your weekly diet.
Despite the advantages, multivitamins should complement a well-balanced diet, rich in diverse and nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. When selecting a multivitamin during pregnancy, opt for formulations specifically designed for pregnant women. Always consult with your midwife before incorporating any supplements to ensure they align with your specific needs and your baby’s well-being.