Every stage of pregnancy comes with its own challenges, but it’s crucial to maintain a healthy diet throughout. Being pregnant saps resources and nutrients from your body, but a good traditional or vegan prenatal vitamin will help restore the balance. Without a number of very crucial compounds, you could be putting the baby, and even yourself, at risk!
What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
Humans need vitamins and minerals to perform basic cellular and bodily functions. Ideally, we would get these compounds from a well-balanced diet, but not everyone is capable of getting all of the essentials that way. A multivitamin fills the nutritional gaps in your diet, providing those essentials in capsule or gummy form. Vegans are especially prone to these gaps as they avoid a crucial part of traditional diets.
Becoming pregnant puts even more stress on the human body, demanding a number of specific nutrients to help the developing fetus. Vegans have the additional worries of a compromised diet that might already lack some of the most critical. The three most important compounds prenatal vitamins supply are:
- Calcium: Important for strong bones and a healthy body, calcium is necessary for growing bones just as much as for keeping them firm. Your body will actively start taking the mineral directly from your bones for skeletal formation.
- Iron: Helping to oxygenate the blood, iron also helps to prevent premature or small births while also staving off anemia.
- Folic Acid: This compound is essential for preventing certain congenital anomalies in the brain or spinal cord. This should be one of the first supplements you take.
Because these nutrients are critical for embryo development, your body will prioritize giving them to the baby before you. Without supplementing these necessary components with vegan prenatal vitamins, the child may be at risk of birth defects or even a premature arrival! Getting a nutrition blood test can provide valuable information about your nutrient status and help your healthcare provider identify any deficiencies or imbalances that may be affecting your health.
When Should I Take Prenatal Vitamins?
While it makes sense to take prenatal vitamins during your pregnancy, many people are still unsure of when to start. The best time to take your first dose is before you even get pregnant. Because having a baby is so taxing, the process will deplete your reserves. You may already be lacking some of these essential nutrients, and preparing your body beforehand will help the pregnancy go that much easier. If you’re planning to have a child, discuss vegan prenatal vitamins with your obstetrician who will have a good idea of the types of supplements you need.
Don’t think that an unexpected pregnancy means you’ve missed out on your chance! As soon as that pregnancy test comes back positive, start turning to those supplements. Your body is already transferring much-needed supplies to the uterus, and some of the most major developments occur within the first 12 weeks. In addition, those breastfeeding after delivery are encouraged to continue taking vitamins and delivering those nutrients to their baby.
Why Vegan Prenatal Vitamins?
Vegans already have it rough in the nutrient game. A plant-based diet is going to lack a number of important vitamins and minerals, and getting them back through prenatal supplements for your pregnancy is a necessity. However, not all vitamins are the same. Some companies source their products from animals, hiding potential diet dealbreakers in their tiny little pills. A few of the more notable additives to traditional prenatal vitamins include:
- Magnesium Stearate and Gelatin: These products come from sheep, goat, cow, and pig byproducts, acting as fillers to buff out the vitamins.
- Vitamin D: While we all need Vitamin D, vegans would prefer to get it from the sun instead of sheep’s wool, a common source of the compound.
- Omega-3: Most commonly found in fish, many companies get it the easy way instead of from chia seeds and Brussel sprouts that vegan prenatal vitamins use.
- Bee Pollen and Other Bee Products: These additives are taken straight from the hive and don’t offer any benefits that couldn’t be found elsewhere.
- Red-4: This food dye, also called carmine, is actually made from crushed insects.
If you want to avoid going against your diet, make sure you check vitamin bottles and product pages carefully. If there is nothing about plant-based sourcing, check the ingredients carefully or choose only products that specifically note their animal-friendly qualities.
When it comes to getting pregnant, you’ll want to make sure you’re body’s nutrition is at its peak. For vegans, this may mean switching from your standard multivitamin that already provides some missing nutrients to vegan prenatal vitamins that will ensure the baby gets what it needs.
It’s important to remember that supplements are not meant to replace a healthy diet, just make up the difference. When you’re planning to get pregnant or discover that you already are, make sure you pay attention to your diet. Certain changes will almost always be necessary, and turning to a prenatal vitamin will help fill any gaps that you can’t during one of the most challenging, and wonderful, times of your life!
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