Everyone tells me to take prenatal vitamins. Exactly which vitamins and minerals should be in them?
Below is a rundown of the optimal daily amounts of key nutrients that we recommend to support a healthy pregnancy and grow a healthy baby. Of course, taking prenatal vitamins doesn't give you a free pass to eat "whatever" for 40 weeks straight. Make your best effort to eat healthfully. Try these tasty recipes.
Vitamin A aids in both cell development and brain growth, but this vitamin does have a drawback. There have been links between excessive amounts of vitamin A and an increased risk of birth defects, especially neural tube defects. (Be careful not to eat too many protein, breakfast or meal-replacement bars, each of which may have 100 percent of your daily value of vitamin A. Get into the habit of checking the FDA nutrition labels on everything you eat.)
Aim for this amount: Consume no more than 15,000 international units (IU) a day while pregnant or just before becoming pregnant.
Low levels of B6 are associated with a delay in the development of the baby's nervous system. Plus, inadequate amounts are also linked to problems for mom, such as morning sickness, preeclampsia and complications during delivery.
Aim for this amount: 3 milligrams (mg) twice a day.