Your changing body and growing baby place an increased demand on you dietary intake. Taking a good prenatal vitamin can help to keep your body in tip-top shape to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
However, some women experience side effects or concerns with their supplements. Let’s take a look at common problems and how to overcome them.
Many women experience what is commonly known as morning sickness. While this is normal in early pregnancy, it may be aggravated by prenatal vitamins. Try to eat something before taking the supplement, or taking the supplement in the evening if you experience most of your nausea first thing in the morning. If the nausea is severe, rather hold off on the vitamins until the second trimester when morning sickness usually subsides. You will still need to take a plain folic acid supplement, but this rarely has any negative side effects.
Some supplements contain omega oils, which can leave a bad taste in your mouth if you burp. These essential oils usually come in a separate tablet. Try taking them at night when you’re less likely to experience a nasty after taste.
Many prenatal vitamins contain iron, which may cause you to become constipated. In combination with pregnancy hormones slowing down the digestive tract, this can cause a lot of discomfort. To minimise this negative side-effect, be sure to eat a fibre-rich diet and drink plenty of water. You may also opt to switch to a supplement with a lower dose of iron if you’re not iron deficient. Chat to your doctor or midwife about options.
“Preggy” brain is real and some women may find it hard to remember to take their supplement every day. It helps to keep your vitamins somewhere that forms part of your daily routine – like next to your tooth brush so you remember to take them after brushing your teeth in the morning or evening.
Finally, if you are finding it difficult to swallow a tablet, opt for a liquid supplement, which are usually in the form of a sachet or drink. This is sometimes is easier to tolerate.
Remember, prenatal vitamins are supplements and not substitutes for a healthy, well-balanced diet. A well-balanced diet of healthy protein, low GI carbs and a mix of fruit and veggies will provide your growing baby with all the nutrition it needs to grow.
Pippa is a Registered Professional Nurse and trained as a Registered Midwife at Chris Hani Baragwanth Hospital. She has extensive experience in all things baby related with a special interest in preparing couples for the exciting journey of parenthood as well as supporting them in the weeks that follow the birth. She and her husband Richard are the proud parents of Becca age 6 and Tom age 4. Pippa has a comprehensive private clinic service that includes Childbirth Education classes, a Well Baby Clinic including Immunization as well as Post Natal and Lactation support. With over 5 years of running a private clinic facility and raising 2 children Pippa comes with a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience of parenthood.