Differentiating between prenatal vitamins and dietary supplements

vitamin-supplementsTaking dietary supplements is always recommended even if you are eating healthy. Dietary supplements include things like vitamins, minerals, probiotics, enzymes, fish oil, amino acids, herbals, and botanicals. They come in different forms ranging from capsules, powder to tablets. There is always a problem for pregnant mothers who get confused between taking prenatal vitamins and dietary supplements.

How are prenatal vitamins different from dietary supplements?

Prenatal vitamins can contain almost every nutrient found in dietary supplements, but dietary supplements will lack some nutrients that are meant for the baby. Most dietary supplements will lack nutrients like iron and folic acid which are in plenty in prenatal vitamins.

The two main nutrients that must be found in every prenatal vitamin include:

Folic acid: Folic acid is very crucial in the healthy development of the baby helping prevent neural tube defects. Neural tube defects cause serious abnormalities to the spinal cord and the brain.

Iron: Iron which lacks in some dietary supplements is also very crucial in the development of the baby. Babies who develop anemia (a condition of having a low number of healthy blood cells) usually receive low amounts of iron when in their mother’s womb.

Prenatal vitamins must not be confused with dietary supplements. Dietary supplements can be taken by both men and women of all ages, but prenatal vitamins are meant for pregnant mothers. Most of the nutrients in dietary supplements can be found in prenatal vitamins, but those specific for the healthy growth and development of the baby might lack.

Which is the best prenatal vitamin?

Prenatal vitamins can be bought over-the –counter, shopping website (saving more via Amazon coupons) or be prescribed by your doctor. When buying prenatal vitamins, consider the ones with the following nutrients:

Folic acid
Calcium
Vitamin D
Iron
Vitamin C, A, and E
Zinc
Iodine
Copper

Prenatal vitamins should not be a solution to all your baby’s nutrient requirements, prenatal DHA is also important. Prenatal vitamins and dietary supplements complement a healthy diet as diet alone cannot supply the body with all the required nutrition.