How Long Should Women Take Prenatal Vitamins?
Whenever you become pregnant, you’re actually eating for two. Because of this, the nutritional requirement that you get from food alone might not be enough to service both you and your baby. To make sure that both of you get the right amount of nutrition and vitamins, you must take prenatal vitamins.
Recommendation on Prenatal Vitamins
Some women enjoy the best prenatal vitamins with dha, while some of them actually lament the fish-flavored aftertaste from these DHA vitamins, queasiness when they take it, and constipation from the iron in the vitamins. Understandably, mothers stop taking these vitamins after giving birth. However, most doctors still recommend taking prenatal vitamins after childbirth. The question is, how long should women take it?
Actually, there is still no universally-accepted recommendation on the duration of taking prenatal vitamins after childbirth. Neither the World Health Organization or the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology have a strict timeline as to when you should stop taking them.
Here is a compilation of recommendations of separate organizations:
- Take prenatal vitamins when you are trying to conceive
For women who are actively trying to conceive, it’s important that they already take prenatal vitamins to anticipate the needs of the baby. These vitamins will help in starting the pregnancy in a very healthy way. You’ll need to stick up on these minerals and vitamins to ensure the safety of your future baby.
By doing this, the baby will be able to be equipped with the right amounts of multivitamins to be healthy, folic acid to produce the brain and spinal cord, and iron to create new red blood cells. That’s why vital that both you and the baby are getting enough nutrients for functionality and growth.
Most importantly, your baby’s neural tube, which will ultimately become the spinal cord and brain of the baby, actually starts developing in the first month of your pregnancy. During this time, you might not even know yet that you are pregnant. This is why it is important to start taking these vitamins even when you’re just actively trying to conceive.
- During your pregnancy, you should still take prenatal vitamins
The baby will demand more nutrients and energy from the mother. As a result, you need twice the amount of vitamins and minerals, most especially when you are already pregnant. During your pregnancy, it is still important to take prenatal vitamins regularly since they were, in fact, designed for pregnant women.
During the third trimester, it’s important that your baby gets enough calcium and vitamin D, which are found in prenatal vitamins, to strengthen and speed up the growth of your baby’s bones. Indeed, these supplements will benefit your baby, especially in their growth months.
- Continue with the vitamins for as long as you breastfeed
WHO suggests that women should continue taking prenatal vitamins as long as they are still breastfeeding. Cleveland Clinic also agrees on this, especially since vitamin D and DHA are needed for brain-boosting of your baby. Even though you are not expecting a baby, it is still good to take it when you’re nursing.
Maintaining the intake of prenatal vitamins during breastfeeding can lead to better brain development, visual abilities, and skill-processing of your baby. The nutrition intake of the mother will be reflected in the child’s growth. Make sure that your baby is getting the enough nutrients they need.
- Discontinue if you’re not breastfeeding
For some mothers who do not plan on breastfeeding their infants or getting pregnant right away, they can stop taking the prenatal vitamins. Taking them might cause some negative effects due to the large amounts of each mineral in it. Since it serves specific purposes, do not take them if you don’t need to. Instead, if you need vitamins, you can just opt to gear towards a balanced diet.
- Don’t take it when you’re not pregnant or trying to get pregnant
Since prenatal vitamins are designed for pregnant women, it is not advisable to be take when you’re not pregnant. You might get too much of the vitamin if you take them when you’re not pregnant.
For example, if you take too much folic acid, you might get a vitamin B12 deficiency. On the other hand, too much iron might make you get diarrhea, nausea, or constipation. While taking excess vitamin A might be toxic to your liver.
Ultimately, always check with your OB-GYN as to how long you should be taking prenatal vitamins. They will undoubtedly know how to guide you through it and prescribe the right dosage for you.