The Importance of Prenatal Vitamins: TTC through Breastfeeding Baby

 

Whether beginning to plan for baby #1 or deciding to add to your growing family, the importance of prenatal vitamins for mama and growing baby is essential to a healthy pregnancy and beyond. From the moment you make the decision to embark upon the journey that is parenthood, you need to start thinking and planning for both you and your baby’s health. Ensuring that your body has the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to conceive another human being and then to successfully sustain you both for the next 9 months is essential to a happy, healthy pregnancy and birth.

Once you are sure you are ready to start trying to conceive, the first thing you need to do is start taking a prenatal vitamin. A common misconception is that prenatal vitamins are only necessary once you become pregnant. However, the truth is that prenatal vitamins should begin as a part of your TTC routine and continue throughout your pregnancy. Prenatal or postnatal vitamins should then continue to be consumed to ensure the continued health of the mother and a breastfeeding baby until breastfeeding ends. At Mother’s Select, they have carefully crafted a vitamin regime to easily transition you through every phase of this journey from TTC through breastfeeding and infant care.

Trying to Conceive


You should begin taking prenatal multivitamins at least a month before you begin trying to conceive to prepare for baby and also to maintain your optimal health.

  • Prenatal vitamins, as opposed to regular multivitamins, contain nutrients that can actually help you become pregnant. This is because you are more likely to become pregnant when your body has all of the essential vitamins and nutrients it needs. Although a healthy diet should meet all of your nutritional needs, oftentimes with work, other children, and the busy lives we each lead, that is difficult to achieve.
  • Prenatal vitamins also contain the proper and safe dosage of all essential vitamins and minerals for a mother and growing fetus. Some regular multivitamins contain larger dosages of certain vitamins that when stored in the fatty tissues of a mother’s body can actually become toxic to a developing fetus.
  • Finally, and most importantly, the reason for taking prenatal vitamins when TTC is the amount of folic acid found in prenatals. Folic acid is necessary for a healthy, developing fetus well before that positive pregnancy test. Folic acid is essential in the prevention of neural tube defects of the spinal cord and brain in a developing fetus during the first 28 days of conception, when most women do not even know they are pregnant yet.

 

Mother’s Select offers a power packed, once a day, wide spectrum Prenatal Plus providing all essential vitamins and minerals including 800 mcg of folic acid. Their ultra gentle supplement comes in easy-to-digest veggie capsules and is allergen free.

The CDC strongly recommends that women start taking 400 mcg of folic acid every day for at least one month before getting pregnant to reduce the risk of major birth defects.
    

Yay! You’re Pregnant!


Whether it’s a plus sign, a blood test, or a few blue lines, that positive pregnancy test is breath-taking from the first to the last time you ever experience it! Flooded by emotions, you will literally be happy, sad, excited, and terrified all at the same time. As you get accustomed to this new life, meaning your’s as a pregnant mama and the one growing inside of you, make sure you continue with your prenatal vitamin routine to guarantee the best outcome for you and your little one.

  • Throughout the stages of your baby’s development, different nutrients are necessary at different times, and again, prenatal vitamins have been perfected to give you the proper amounts needed. Prenatal vitamins are especially important to give your developing baby the right amounts of iron, calcium, and folic acid he or she requires.
  • Folic acid in particular will continue to be essential to your baby’s developing brain throughout pregnancy. This B vitamin will also help prevent anemia, and may also protect your baby from developing a cleft lip/palate, premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriage, and intrauterine growth development.
  • If you are not taking a supplement which includes DHA, you should consider adding this Omega-3 fatty acid, or finding a prenatal with DHA included, which helps in the healthy development of fetal brain and eye function. This fatty acid is a primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina, thus the addition to your pregnancy routine has significant benefits to your developing baby.

 

Mother’s Select all in one Prenatal Multi + DHA provides 15 essential nutrients for preconception, pregnancy, and lactation. The addition of Omega-3 Fatty DHA promotes fetal brain and eye development while combating mother’s stress, fatigue, and any illness. This supplement is safe for MTHFR and Allergen Sensitive mothers.

“A growing number of studies in human infants show a correlation between omega 3, especially DHA, and cognitive and visual function, and overall brain development.” – American Pregnancy Association

Uh! You’re STILL Pregnant…


Although a human pregnancy is only 9 months (really, almost 10), by the 3rd trimester you may be dragging, or waddling around feeling sluggish and exhausted for a majority of the day. First things first, be glad you aren’t an elephant since they have a gestation period of approximately 22 months! No thanks! Then, make sure you are continuing to take your prenatal vitamin routinely which should help curb some of those unwanted pregnancy symptoms. If you haven’t done so already check your label and make sure your prenatal vitamin provides you with all the recommended daily dosages of the Vitamin B complex which is crucial during this stage of your pregnancy.

  • The Vitamin B complex plays a critical role in your strength, energy levels, and health during pregnancy, especially during the 1st and 3rd trimesters, so make sure your prenatal is providing you with what you need to keep up your energy levels and stay awake.
  • Vitamin B-2 in particular helps you maintain good vision and healthy skin during pregnancy while also promoting the development and growth of your baby’s bones, muscles, and nerves. It also lowers your risk of developing preeclampsia.
  • Vitamin B-3 helps improve pregnancy symptoms to include better digestion and less heartburn while reducing nausea and migraine headaches. It is also essential to your baby’s brain development.
  • During this final stage of pregnancy, Vitamin B-5 is important because it helps to metabolize fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, prevents pregnancy related muscle cramps, and helps release stress relieving hormones which we all need some of as we anxiously await our little one.

There are plenty of natural sources of Vitamin B including almonds, oats, peas, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, beans, seeds, eggs, and lean meats. However, because of the importance of the entire B vitamin complex during pregnancy, make sure you are consuming a good prenatal vitamin along with maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet.

Welcome to the World, Baby


As your baby prepares for their exit from your womb into this big, exciting new world, you need to ensure your birth canal is prepared to give them the healthiest start possible. WHAT, you may ask? During the first approximately 20 days of life your baby’s gut flora begins to develop, with the first and largest dose of probiotics being “administered” as she passes through the birth canal and into the world. Probiotics are the “friendly bacteria” that support you and your baby’s digestive health. Supplementing probiotics during pregnancy can have multiple health benefits to both mother and child.

  • Probiotics are healthy gut bacteria that can reduce the unwanted symptoms of nausea, constipation, and/or diarrhea during pregnancy.
  • Probiotics can curb yeast infections and vaginosis that frequently occur in pregnant women. Due to high levels of progesterone, the immune suppressing hormone, during pregnancy, bacteria or pathogens in the vagina can get out of control. The use of probiotic supplements can populate this area with beneficial flora to combat any unhealthy bacteria.
  • After the trip through the birth canal, breastfeeding provides the best source of probiotics for your infant. Continuing to supplement with probiotics after the baby’s birth ensures that you are maintaining a healthy gut bacteria which is then transferred to baby through your breastmilk.

 

Mother’s Select Probiotic, “the SuperBiotic”, is specifically formulated to provide healthy bacteria to pregnant mothers and their babies, specifically to treat symptoms of constipation, cramping, and heartburn. This probiotic is suggested for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding to maintain the optimal balance of your intestinal flora.

Studies have shown that the gut flora of babies born via C-section are completely different than those delivered vaginally, with the former being at increased risk for allergies, asthma, and autoimmune disorders.

Breast is Best


Giving your child the healthiest possible start in life is the goal of all parents. Breastfeeding is one huge factor in accomplishing this goal. Ensuring our newborn’s health and happiness begins by making sure they are properly fed and nurtured, both of which are accomplished in the breastfeeding relationship between a mother and her child. After birth, although all of your attention may be focused on your new little one, you also need to ensure your own health and well-being. In order to maintain a healthy milk supply you need to make sure you are getting plenty of rest, allowing your body to heal, and continuing to eat a healthy, balanced diet. You should also continue the use of either your prenatal vitamin for added support and nutrients for you and your baby, or switch to a postnatal vitamin which will include some additional support for a breastfeeding mama.

  • Breastmilk provides essential vitamins and nutrients while protecting your baby against infection, helping them develop a healthy gut bacteria, and potentially protecting them from more serious illnesses later in life.
  • Postnatal vitamins specifically for breastfeeding mamas include Vitamin D, Iron, and some combination of fenugreek, fennel seed, and coriander for improved milk supply and nutritional support. Your body is an amazing thing that can make enough milk to nourish your growing babe, however the added support can ensure your baby is also receiving all the vitamins and minerals he or she may need to develop. You should also continue taking a DHA supplement and a probiotic to promote healthy brain, eye, and intestinal development and health.
  • Postnatal vitamins will also help you as the mother ensure your optimal health to include the maintenance of healthy hair, skin, and nails. Oftentimes around 3 months after birth, mothers begin to experience hair loss and acne due to adjusting hormones, however postnatal vitamins can help reduce hair loss and maintain a healthy, glowing complexion for new mamas.

Mother’s Select also offers a Postnatal vitamin which supports the health of baby and mother, including support for lactation, mood, and daily stressors. They also offer a wide range of additional supplements for breastfeeding mothers and infants.

The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding to begin within one hour of birth, be “on demand” as often as the child wants both night and day, and continue for up to 2 years or more.

Just as all good things come to an end, the pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding journey will end eventually. If you opt for extended breastfeeding as much as you can’t wait to reclaim your body as your own, you will likely also experience your fair share of sadness at the end of this exciting, overwhelming, and yet incredibly awesome bonding experience. Having given your baby life and the healthiest start possible is a huge accomplishment, so congratulate yourself. There are still many adventures in store for you as we all know this path of motherhood never ends, but the milestones will be met, the years will pass, and that baby will one day blossom into the beautiful man or woman you knew they would be… all the while you will be looking back seeing that tiny newborn you gave life, love, and comfort to in those first few years.

For more tips on trying to conceive, pregnancy, and breastfeeding, check out our Expect section.

Photo Credits: Kristin dePaula, Pixabay, Ronda Wollard Originals, Ashley Sisk, Keniston Family Photography, St.-John Photography

References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, American Pregnancy Association

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Kristin Depaula

Kristin is a native Floridian who loves warm weather and sunshine but owns too many scarves and boots. She lives at the World’s Most Famous Beach with her husband, 3 boys and enough animals both warm and cold blooded to make up a zoo. She is a practicing attorney who spends her days working with at-risk and delinquent youth and her nights being a Montessori Mama to her independent, strong willed little humans. On the weekends you can find her at soccer games, chasing her boys at the Beach or cooking for her husband who suffers from Crohn’s disease but is healing with a healthy diet. In her free time, Kristin loves reading and laying by the pool.

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