Pregnant! Now, what? Prenatal vitamins! They are critical for providing the essential nutrients that our fast growing babies use from our bodies during pregnancy. Our pediatrician once said that the mother’s body is altruistic and will allow the growing baby to take all the needed nutrients. Therefore, we must replenish ourselves so we can continue to aid in the healthy development of our babies.
On the store shelves or online, there are hundreds of choices for prenatal vitamins.
The top 4 things I look for in a prenatal vitamin:
- Quality- I prefer plant-based vitamins
- Vitamins! Consult with your doctor or health expert for your personal needs
- Once a day dosing- with morning sickness, you do not want to have to swallow 3 pills a day
- Vegan- of course!
Some people may not be aware that animal by-products can be found in our supplements and vitamins as gelatin. If the vitamin is in a capsule or chewable form, then it is likely made with gelatin. Gelatin is a protein used to hold substances together and can act as a glue. It can be found in a long list of items, from marshmallows to photo paper. Where does gelatin come from? Sadly, bones. To avoid bones in your vitamins look for the or “Vegan” declared on the bottle/package. When in doubt scan the ingredients and don’t forget to read the inactive ingredients!
Side note regarding inactive ingredients, Brand name medications and generic medications do not have to have the same inactive ingredients. And yes, inactive ingredients have the potential to cause unwanted side effects. The active ingredients can also vary to some extent. The FDA requires that blood concentrations of the brand and generic drug are within a 6% variance. So, it is good to know what is in your medications and how well your body tolerates them.
Another buzz word to look for when shopping for supplements is carrageenan. When shopping for my daughter’s pain relief OTC medication (teething time), I was horrified to find carrageenan as an inactive ingredient in various liquid acetaminophen formulas. FYI, Infant Tylenol grape flavor is carrageenan-free (at least the last time I purchased it). To learn more about this complicated substance, check out the dedicated post “Carrageenan”-coming soon!