Chances are when you found out you were pregnant (or even when you were TTC) the first recommendation you got was to start taking a prenatal vitamin. But why are prenatal vitamins important, and how do they help baby’s development? Let’s get into it with this comprehensive guide to prenatal supplements.
Pregnancy is a life-changing experience — one that requires extra support for our bodies. When you’re pregnant, your baby’s brain and body have extra nutritional demands that are different from your normal needs. As baby grows, different parts of their brain and body need specific nutrients to develop properly. Although a well-balanced diet is important for a healthy pregnancy and baby, taking a high-quality prenatal multivitamin is the best way to fill in any nutrient gaps.
What should I look for in a prenatal vitamin?
Choosing a prenatal vitamin can be overwhelming when you don’t know what to look for or what any of the ingredients mean. Here are some important ingredients to look for and how they support baby’s development:
You’ve probably heard that you need to take folate during pregnancy, but do you know why it’s so important? And why folic acid may not be the best form to take? Folate is an essential B-vitamin that is vital for neuronal cell replication and growth. During pregnancy, folate supports baby’s neural tube development including visual, language, and memory skills and protects against the development of neural tube defects such as anencephaly and spina bifida.
Folic acid is the form of folate commonly found in multivitamins because it is cheap and stable. However, over 60% of people have a gene variation called MTHFR, which means they aren’t able to metabolize folic acid efficiently. Therefore, it’s preferable to consume folate as methylfolate. Methylfolate is the active form found in our bodies, and your body can use it immediately because it doesn’t have to convert it.
Not sure where to find a prenatal supplement with methylfolate? Best Nest’s prenatal vitamins are made with methylfolate to properly absorb folate and give you and baby the proper nutrients.
Choline is an essential nutrient vital for many body functions including cell growth, metabolism, liver, and muscle function. During pregnancy, choline is critical for proper brain function and development.
The body naturally produces choline, however, the majority comes from diet. A shocking, 91% of Americans don’t meet the daily recommended choline intake and requirements are even higher during pregnancy with recommendations of 450 mg/day. Studies have shown that supplementing with additional choline may improve pregnancy outcomes and protect against some neural and metabolic differences. It’s important to note that most fertility supplements don’t contain choline, so be sure to check the label. Best Nest’s Mama Bird AM/PM Prenatal Multi+ contains additional choline that most prenatal vitamins don’t include.
DHA is a superstar for baby’s brain development. It promotes the formation of new brain cells and continued growth of existing brain cells. But that’s not all! DHA is also a mood booster and is required for the maintenance of normal brain function in adults.
Many prenatal vitamins include DHA, but most prenatal vitamins that include DHA don’t come from the best source. They use synthetic ethyl esters because they can be compressed. Plus, they also don’t use optimal amounts.
To provide expectant moms with the right amount and type of DHA, Best Nest Wellness created a separate, easy-to-swallow, soft-gel capsule. Their Mama Bird Prenatal DHA is made from superior triglyceride oil. It’s real fish oil derived from Icelandic anchovies.
Their No Fish, No Fish Prenatal DHA is available for vegan mamas and is made from pure algae oil. Neither can be compressed. Like their prenatal vitamins, Best Nest Wellness DHAs are pure, natural, and made from the highest quality ingredients available.
So make sure you snag one from Best Nest Wellness that includes this essential nutrient.
Here’s the down low of vitamin D. Along with vitamin D’s more well-known benefits, like supporting immunity, nerve function, and helping build healthy bones, it’s especially helpful during pregnancy. Supplementing with vitamin D can help support a full-term birth and helps minimize the risk of some pregnancy complications such as preterm birth, asthma, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes. A pregnant person’s Vitamin D levels predict their baby’s levels, so start baby out on the right foot! Nearly one third of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient, which makes taking a prenatal supplement like one from Best Nest Wellness all the more important.
You’ve probably heard that iron supports healthy bones, but there’s so much more to this vitamin! Iron is an essential mineral for growth, development, and the production of hormones.
Iron supplies oxygen to the body and the brain by attaching to red blood cells. It helps red blood cell production, boosts energy, and supports attention span. Additional iron is often needed during pregnancy to help reduce the risk of pregnancy anemia.
Now that you’ve got the rundown on all things prenatal, you can feel confident choosing your prenatal vitamin. For a comprehensive prenatal vitamin that includes all the ingredients mentioned above (and then some!) browse Best Nest’s Mama Bird Prenatal Product Line prenatal vitamins,.which includes prenatal multivitamins, prenatal DHA, morning sickness relief, and more. They have a variety of supplements so that you can decide the best one for your pregnancy.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Folic Acid” CDC. CDC. June 15, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/about.html
Zhan X, Fletcher L, Dingle S, et al. Choline supplementation influences ovarian follicular development. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 26(12):1525-1536. December 2021.
Özdemir AA, Ercan Gündemir Y, Küçük M, Yıldıran Sarıcı D, Elgörmüş Y, Çağ Y, Bilek G. Vitamin D Deficiency in Pregnant Women and Their Infants. J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 10(1):44-50. March 2018.
Kathleen Daily. “Prenatal Vitamins: Nutrition Your Baby Needs” WebMD. WebMD. August 5, 2020. https://www.webmd.com/baby/prenatal-vitamins-nutrition-your-baby-needs
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Pregnancy Week by Week”. Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. April 19, 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-vitamins/art-20046945#:~:text=Ideally%2C%20you’ll%20begin%20taking,of%20healthy%20red%20blood%20cells.