Did you know that there is a huge variation in quality when it comes to different brands of prenatal vitamins? That’s right, not all prenatal vitamins are created equally! Everyday in my Naturopathic clinic, I educate mommas-to-be about the importance of choosing a prenatal vitamin that is right for them. Here are some guidelines:
- Choose capsules, not hard tablets. Your stomach is not a grinding or chewing organ, therefore a hard tablet is very difficult for your digestive system to break down. A capsule easily dissolves, leaving the nutrients contained inside ready for easy absorption.
- Look for a vitamin with lots of iron. Iron deficiency is very common during pregnancy, and can be prevented if the right amount of iron is supplemented early on. Aim for a prenatal that contains around 30mg per day.
- Methylated folate (as opposed to synthetic folic acid) is much more bio-available, meaning your body knows how to use it properly. Look on the label for folate, or methylated folate or 5-MTHF (synthetic folic acid, which is less easily used by your body, will be simply labelled “folic acid”).
- B vitamins are important for helping energize your body and helping you adapt to stress. B6 also helps treat nausea/vomiting of pregnancy. Choose a prenatal with a high B6 content (ideally at least 25mg per day).
- Vitamins generally don’t taste good😊 If you have a gummy or chewable prenatal vitamin that tastes fantastic, chances are it does not contain therapeutic levels of important nutrients such as iron.
- The specific forms of the nutrients in a prenatal vitamin matter. For example, calcium carbonate is less absorbable than calcium citrate. If you aren’t sure, ask your Naturopathic Doctor!
I suggest starting on a prenatal vitamin that meets your individual nutritional needs at least 3 months prior to conception. Every day more and more research is emerging on the importance of a mom’s health not just during, but PRIOR to pregnancy.
Dr. Joanna Thiessen, ND, is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, Birth Doula, and HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator. Her clinic, George Street Naturopathic Medicine, is located in a beautiful home in Uptown Waterloo. Dr. Joanna uses nutrition, botanical medicine and acupuncture to help families get pregnant, have healthy pregnancies, and raise healthy children. When not at her office, Dr. Joanna can be found experimenting in her kitchen or chasing her 3 kiddos at the park.