If you’re like me, you probably started the body-purifying process long before you even got pregnant. As soon as my husband and I decided we were ready for a baby, I cut down on the white wine, started transitioning to organic foods, and gave up my beloved spicy tuna rolls. I was committed to turning my body into a clean, mean, baby-growing machine.
As it turns out, though, I was already way ahead of the game. About a year earlier, right after I got married, my OB-GYN had suggested I start taking an over-the-counter prenatal multivitamin, like Nestlé Materna. Although I wasn’t planning on getting pregnant for a while, he explained that there were long-term benefits both to my health and the health of my future baby. Ideally, women should be taking a daily dose for at least 12 weeks prior to conception, but since unplanned pregnancies happen all the time, why not be prepared? I had so many friends who got wham-bam with-baby, so I figured it was like an insurance policy. And popping a vitamin seemed like an easy step toward a healthy pregnancy.
So, why are prenatal multivitamins such a big deal for moms-to-be?
First off, they contain folic acid, which, if taken before you even become pregnant, can reduce the risk of birth defects by more than 70%. Neural tube defects, like spina bifida, usually develop within the first few weeks after conception, before you may even know you’re carrying a child. So it’s smart to stockpile your body with folic acid in advance.
Of course, those are just the benefits pre-pregnancy. Once you actually have a little one in your belly, you’ll want to be sure you’re getting all of the nutrients that you both need. While I was committed to eating a healthy diet during my pregnancy, there were definitely days when I felt too nauseous to eat, when I consumed mostly banana pudding, and when the drive-thru seemed so much easier than another market run for green veggies. At that point, though, I was taking a prescription prenatal multivitamin, which I knew would fill in any nutritional gaps. It contained vitamins and minerals important for a healthy pregnancy like vitamin D, iron, and calcium.
Prenatal multivitamins, like Nestlé Materna, contain higher amounts of the essential nutrients needed during pregnancy, like folic acid, calcium, and iron, compared to regular multivitamins. While diet and exercise are obviously important, I found that it was kind of nice to know that I had all of the healthy essentials covered, especially on days when my food choices were not ideal.