Without a doubt, being pregnant takes a lot of effort. Your doctor says you need to take prenatals for a few months, but in the back of your mind, a question keeps buzzing: “Will I become fat if I take those prenatals?” Your concern is justified, mommy-to-be. But hear me loud and clear: YOU DONT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT WEIGHT GAIN.
Pregnancy hormones may have made you overthink the matter. Prenatals, especially folic acid, don’t make you gain weight. You need to start taking them at least 3 months before you start trying for a baby. There are other reasons for weight gain during pregnancy, but as far as prenatals are concerned, they are beneficial for you and your little one’s complete nutrition, and there is no way they increase your weight.
5 Benefits of Prenatals
Maintaining a healthy pregnancy is no easy feat. You have to take care of several hundred things and abstain from a hundred more. Taking prenatal vitamins makes your life easier in terms of covering nutritional gaps that can otherwise not be taken care of through a normal diet. The high nutrient content is only one of the major benefits. Other benefits of prenatal vitamins include:
If you are trying for a baby, a fertility boost is what you are looking for. Prenatal supplements are micronutrients essential for normal menstruation and ovulation. This helps in maintaining a healthier reproductive system and increases your fertility levels.
And the best part? They also increase fertility in men by improving sperm count and motility. So both men and women can benefit from them. The only thing you need to do is maintain a nutritious diet in combination with these prenatal supplements.
Loss of Nausea
Nausea and morning sickness are some of the main symptoms of a healthy pregnancy as they clear the body of toxins, keeping the baby and the mother safe. But at times, nausea becomes too much, making it hard for the pregnant mom to eat anything.
Prenatal vitamins can help with this too. Try prenatal vitamins containing ginger and say goodbye to nausea and vomiting in an instant.
Boost Immune System
As discussed before, prenatal vitamins provide the necessary nutrients to the body, strengthening the immune system against attacking microbes. This ensures that the baby’s body develops normally and the delivery is safe and at the right time.
Prenatal vitamins are more effective if they are taken in combination with zinc, vitamins A, C, and iron.
Proper Fetal Development
As much as the mother requires nutrients, the baby needs additional nutrients too. The fetus in the early stages of pregnancy needs a lot of nutrients for bone development as well as organ development. These nutrients are not only acquired through diet, but prenatal vitamins also play a huge role.
They contain all the micronutrients necessary to cover the mother’s and the baby’s health needs.
Reduced Risk of a Congenital Disability
Congenital disabilities are one of the common risks to a baby’s health. They occur in several ways and are under the umbrella of congenital disorders or birth defects. However, taking prenatal vitamins is a step toward the prevention of such diseases. Birth defects can have genetic reasons, but if there is no family history of such defects, there is no reason why you can’t prevent them.
Using prenatal vitamins keeps such birth defects at bay.
Do Prenatals Make You Hungry?
Pregnant women experience a lot of strange cravings. They eat more than often to subdue those cravings. Not only this, but increased appetite is also part of a healthy pregnancy, as a woman has to eat for two. Parental vitamins don’t have any impact on hunger. On the contrary, many pregnant women reported a reduced appetite and even an upset stomach after taking prenatal vitamins.
This may happen because they contain nutrients and fill up your stomach. As your body doesn’t need additional nutrients you are taking through food; they will be flushed out of your body when your stomach becomes upset. So if you have an increased appetite, know that it is common during pregnancy and is not the result of taking prenatal supplements.
Why Not Take Other Multivitamins?
Good question. When science offers you great alternatives in the form of multivitamins, why not just continue them during the pregnancy too? The problem is prenatal vitamins, especially folic acid, are designed with pregnant women in mind. Therefore, there present no harmful effects for a pregnant woman, and they fully cover the nutritional needs of the mother and the baby.
As far as multivitamins are concerned, they only keep you fit. You need something that keeps both you and your baby healthy. Multivitamins have no beneficial impacts on your baby’s health or development, which means your baby gets no nutrients for normal development. You might be thinking, why not take multivitamins for just me then?
Prenatal vitamins are more convenient, as you don’t have to remember to take multiple supplements for the 9 months of your pregnancy. Pregnancy makes your body’s daily nutrient requirement higher than when you are not pregnant. Therefore, a multivitamin is not so effective in fulfilling these needs compared to prenatal supplements.
By having no minerals to offer to the growth and functioning of the fetus, a multivitamin becomes useless during pregnancy, as the pregnancy revolves around the health of the fetus. Moreover, folic acid prevents several pregnancy issues like neural tube defects, anemia, and calcium deficiency in the mother and the baby, which is required to support bone development.
Other than that, for the sake of the baby’s health prenatal vitamins are best, as they keep the baby’s brain, eyes, and overall nervous system development normal. A multivitamin can never beat that.
What Happens If You Take Prenatals If You’re Not Pregnant?
It is noted that women should start taking prenatal vitamins 90 days before they are trying to get pregnant, as these supplements help women get pregnant. So this shows there aren’t any issues if you start taking them before you are pregnant. Rather, the high nutritional content of iron, vitamins, and folic acids helps improve the body’s natural immunity. But, if you aren’t trying to get pregnant, try to use multivitamins rather than jumping to prenatals.
The reason? Prenatal vitamins have an ideal composition for women trying to get pregnant, women who are already pregnant, or breastfeeding mothers. These women have an extraordinary requirement for nutrient intake, for which prenatal vitamins are the best. While women who are not pregnant must take care of their nutrition, taking extra nutrients in large quantities over a long period can do more harm than good.
Women are tempted to take prenatal vitamins for improved hair growth and to make nails stronger. However, till today no study has shown the positive effects of prenatal vitamins on hair or nails. Yes, folic acid supplements or folate are best for improved hair growth and nails, but as far as prenatal vitamins are concerned, don’t consume them without medical recommendations.
Then What Causes Pregnancy Weight Gain?
Pregnancy weight gain is quite normal. It is rather a healthy symptom of pregnancy, as it shows the baby is growing. The baby is inside a sack-like structure containing amniotic fluids. These are, however, not the only fluids that make pregnant women gain weight. The blood cells in the body see marked high production, which increases the blood volume to at least 45% more in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women.
During pregnancy, the uterus expands and makes the body ready for delivery by stretching other parts of the reproductive system. This makes the body heavier. The placenta adds further weight. Other than this, fat storage increases as well to preserve energy for the new mother and baby. This increase is at least 2 to 4 kilograms per person.
The weight gain is gradual and reaches a peak just before delivery. After delivery, once the postpartum period ends, your body goes back to normal.
However, if the weight gain is not just due to the baby’s growth, it won’t go away easily. There are multiple reasons behind pregnancy weight gain. One of the major ones is hormones. If there is abnormal production of weight gain hormones in your body because of any reproductive system problems you had before the pregnancy, you will see a sudden increase in weight.
An uncommon reason behind pregnancy weight gain, which is also a dangerous condition in pregnancy, is preeclampsia. But instead of being a cause, the sudden weight gain is a symptom of this problem. If accompanied by headaches and abdominal pain, the sudden weight gain points directly to preeclampsia.
This is a rare but harsh condition that can damage the fetus and result in miscarriage, seizures, stillbirth, and can even become a threat to the life of the mother. If the baby is born, he will be born with a low birth weight. If you see any such signs, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.
How Much Weight Is Normal During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy weight gain varies from person to person. Some women gain weight extraordinarily, while others see a slight increase. It depends on food choices, exercise, and your body before pregnancy. So you can’t define a standard for how much weight gain is normal. Women gain approximately 25 to 30 kg during pregnancy.
Most of the weight gain is in the form of the baby bump that decreases exponentially after the mother gives birth. Other weight gain is due to hormones and increased food intake. Hormonal levels go crazy in a pregnant woman’s body. While they directly affect a woman’s emotional health, they also cause weight gain.
Other Side Effects of Prenatals
One of the major side effects of prenatal vitamins is loss of appetite. This happens because prenatal vitamins have a rich nutrient composition, which gives pregnant women a feeling of fullness. This results in a loss of appetite. However, this varies from pregnancy to pregnancy and from supplement to supplement.
Another side effect of prenatal vitamins is an upset stomach. Prenatals have high iron content, which upsets the stomach. Other than this, the high increase in quantities of nutrients in the body is not good for a pregnant woman. Due to this, the body’s natural defenses come into action and try to expel these extra nutrients either through feces or vomiting. Frequent urination is also a side effect for the same reason as an upset stomach.
Other minor side effects include nausea, bloating, constipation, hair loss, and teeth staining. If you are uncomfortable taking prenatal vitamins and they cause stomach bleeding, muscle weakness, or any other such big problem that can affect your or your baby’s health, you should stop taking them immediately. Always consult your doctor and take prenatals as advised by him.
Are You Feeling Satisfied Now?
The entire story of prenatal vitamins is in front of you. You know that there is neither scientific nor medical reason for prenatal vitamins to make you gain weight, so you shouldn’t be afraid. Take folic acid before and during pregnancy to have a healthy pregnancy and proper fetus development for your baby.
Pregnancy is all about weight gain, as your body is going through many changes. This is good, as it shows your growing baby and your body are healthy for birth. If you feel symptoms of preeclampsia, visit your doctor immediately.
There are certain minor side effects of prenatal vitamins, but if they fulfill the requirements of essential vitamins and you and your baby are healthy, you can ignore these side effects. If a prenatal vitamin is hurting your health at all, you can switch to another one or ask for a doctor’s advice.