The Best Vitamins in Pregnancy and Beyond the Birth

pregnancy woman on bed taking vitamins

Taking a supplement is really important during pregnancy and there are options to suit everyone. Folic Acid is recommended for all women who are trying to conceive and they must keep taking this until between their twelfth and thirteenth week of a successful pregnancy, it is usually taken until they have had their 12-week scan and they get their dates confirmed.

So why is Folic Acid so important? 400 micrograms in the form of a tablet can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Eating a healthy and varied diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables is really important during pregnancy. But lots of people suffering from allergies or intolerances find that they are sometimes lacking in things, so taking a vitamin supplement can benefit the body during this time.

Alternative milks, breakfast cereals and other fortified foods usually have added folic acid and things like Vitamin D added to them, but you need to be getting a certain amount of it into your system, this is where taking a tablet really helps to achieve this.

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What benefits does taking a pregnancy supplement have? To reduce the risk of your baby developing any problems it is important to get enough of certain vitamins and minerals and to avoid too much of others. That’s why it’s important to listen to your Doctor and Midwife and read any information that they give you during those early stages.

Supplements for pregnancy will contain the 400 micrograms of folic acid that the woman needs, but will also contain a mixture of other minerals such as Vitamin C and D. Too much Vitamin A during pregnancy can be harmful to your baby, also ensure there is no Retinol in the supplement that you choose either. Look for boxes that say this supplement is suitable for someone who is pregnant or a conception one if you’re currently trying to conceive. You don’t need to take a Folic Acid tablet as well as a supplement, choose if you would like to take one or the other. Depending upon your diet and if you’re lacking in anything you can decide with the help of your midwife which option suits you better.

What sorts of supplements are available and where do I get them from? The vast majority of tablets can be bought from your local supermarket or pharmacy. You can compare the supermarket own brand with a well-known vitamin supplier and work out if there any additional benefits between the two. If you eat well then a supermarket own brand or pharmacy own brand should suffice. I personally went with a branded box of supplements because I wanted what the additional minerals were that were included within it, this was due to some dietary restrictions that I have.

After week thirteen of your pregnancy has begun and you enter the second trimester, you can then choose whether or not to continue with a supplement designed for pregnant women, taken daily, right through until you give birth. If you were only taking Folic Acid up to this point you can now stop taking this, and decide if you would like to take up a daily supplement tablet or not.

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Once you have given birth to your baby there are also more options, tablets such as New Mum or Breastfeeding supplements. These are very popular nowadays and give support to new mothers especially those who want to breastfeed their babies by giving them additional vitamins and minerals that they would be losing. Lots of minerals and vitamins from the mother's body are passed on to the baby through the mother's milk.

Options for Vitamin Supplements in the United Kingdom include Pregnacare which do Original, Max, Conception, Breastfeeding and Plus. All are slightly different and are designed to suit individual needs. They do a Conception box for a couple as well as individually tailored to both. There are also Seven Seas, Active, Proceive and Bassetts, which are all popular for reasons such as being Vegan, or being Chewable as opposed to swallowing tablets. There is something to suit everyone; you just have to find them and give them a try.

Supermarkets like Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s do their own pregnancy tablets, as do Boots, who do those and also have Conception ones too. The best thing to do is compare what you want, with these and with popular branded products in both prices and with what you get within the boxes themselves. You can also look for special offers where places offer three for the price of two on vitamins.

During the last five years I have taken Pregnacare Conception tablets, Pregnacare Pregnancy Tablets, Tesco and Boots Pregnancy Tablets, and more recently Pregnacare Breastfeeding Tablets. On average a box of tablets costs anything between £4 and £16. I would normally look for when offers are on which allowed me to get one box for free. Each box usually covers a month worth of tablet taking with 30 days supply inside.

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It’s important to remember that every pregnant woman will have different needs, explore what you require with your Midwife or Doctor, and most importantly eat healthily from the beginning of trying to conceive and right through your pregnancy. Take the health professional's advice and make informed choices for what is best for you both in body and with what you can afford to purchase.

In my personal opinion, I definitely found the tablets helped me during certain points of motherhood, for sure at the start during the first trimester when I felt so sick and tired, the tablets (that have to be taken with something to eat) helped me to get back some nutrients I was losing. Then when I had my son and I breastfed him for more than three years, the Breastfeeding supplement I took gave me the minerals and vitamins that I required and gave me boosts of them due to them leaving my body through my breastmilk.

Everyone is different and the best thing to do is to compare and shop around.

Good luck with your pregnancy and remember that once you have your maternity card you can also apply for the Healthy Start scheme from the NHS which gives you money for fruit and vegetables and they can help you to get basic vitamins too.

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