By Emily Folk
If you are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant, you already understand the importance of nutrition during pregnancy. However, even if you are eating a balanced diet, it’s hard to know if you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals to support both you and your growing baby. That’s why prenatal vitamins are so important. Taking one each day ensures you and your little one are getting all the nutrients you need.
Not all prenatal vitamins are made equal, however. And, with so many to choose from, it can be difficult to choose. So how do you know which one is right for you?
Look for Third-Party Certifications
Finding a prenatal vitamin that’s transparent and regulated is key to choosing one that’s right for you.
Many supplements are unregulated, meaning they may or may not contain ingredients listed on the label.
The best vitamins and supplements, however, prove their quality through third-party certification. In this case, an unbiased company tests products and investigates their quality. Some popular and trustworthy third-party certifications include the National Science Foundation, United States Pharmacopeia and Consumer Lab. Look for their seal of approval when choosing a vitamin.
Follow Minimum Requirements
Supporting the health of both you and your growing child requires more vitamins and minerals than you would normally ingest each day.
It’s nearly impossible to eat enough to support this high intake.
Therefore, you should follow the recommended daily minimum requirements for the following nutrients. This will ensure your baby receives enough nutrients to support growth and healthy development.
400 mcg Folic Acid
Foods like spinach, beans and citrus naturally contain folate, which plays an important part in the production of red blood cells.
Folic acid is the man-made form of folate and supports your baby’s neural tube development, especially during the first month of pregnancy. Thus, ingesting 400 mcg of this vitamin each day will lower the risk of your child developing a neural tube defect that could severely affect its spinal cord, brain and skull.