How to Choose a Prenatal Vitamin

Prenatal vitamins, daily doses that contain vitamins and minerals benefiting to both Mom and Baby, are a great way to supplement a healthy lifestyle while you're pregnant. They come in many varieties from chewable, liquid, and organic, to over-the-counter and prescribed. Simply consulting your physician or obstetrician can help you make an educated choice about which to choose, and don't forget these helpful tips!

Discuss With Your Doctor

Talk to your obstetrician about your individual health needs. Every woman is different, especially when she's pregnant, and a professional can be very helpful in deciding what to focus on as far as prenatal health. Be sure to mention any family history of birth defects or similar information--this will affect the type of vitamin your doctor recommends. Also, a doctor will be able to quickly tell you what side effects each supplement will potentially have and what to avoid during pregnancy.

Do Your Homework

Search the internet for vitamins that are beneficial to pregnant women and their growing babies. Many obstetricians recommend an increase of folic acid, vitamins A and D, and calcium to combat bone density loss, as well as iron to help with the production of oxygen in both Mama and Baby. When you're ready to make a purchase, go to several stores to scope out your options before you buy. You'll be more informed about your purchase if you discover what's out there prior to making a final decision.

Read the Labels

Take a look at the mineral and vitamin content of each bottle and look for high levels of the important stuff. It's recommended that pregnant women get around 30 mg of iron, 400 IU (international units) of vitamin D, 4,000 IU of vitamin A, 300 mg of calcium, and between 800 and 1,000 mcg of folic acid daily. Many over-the-counter prenatal supplements will contain at least that much of each, plus some other generally beneficial vitamins.

Be Healthy

Once you've decided on the prenatal vitamin that's right for you and your baby, start taking it daily. And while you're at it, make sure to eat plenty of protein, calcium-rich dairy, and leafy greens and veggies that contain iron.