I’m sure you’ve glanced at the supplement facts on your prenatal vitamin, and really haven’t given these ingredients a second thought. They are almost looked at as “filler ingredients”. Typically we just check to make sure our prenatal vitamin has the common pregnancy vitamins like folic acid, calcium and iron. Who would have thought that these less “popular” vitamins actually serve a purpose?
- Iodine: A deficiency in this element may cause mental retardation
- Zinc: Low levels of zinc have been associated with low birth weight. Low birth weight, how serious is that? Very serious. Over 307,000 babies are born with low birth weight. Low birth weight babies are 40 TIMES more likely to die during the first months of life. Those that survive are 2-3 times more likely to suffer from a lifelong disability.
- Selenium: Newborns with selenium deficient mothers suffer from muscle weakness, and mothers with low selenium are at a greater risk for pregnancy loss. Infants with low muscle tone are prone to have delayed motor skills and coordination problems.
- Vitamin D: A deficiency in vitamin D is linked to poor fetal growth, calcium homeostasis, and bone ossification.
- Magnesium: Your levels of magnesium decrease while you are pregnant, which may lead to preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is the #1 maternal and fetal killer in the United States.
- Vitamin B6: Crucial for proper development of the central nervous system- aka the brain and spinal cord. A deficiency in B6 can cause behavioral abnormalities and low birth weight.
- Biotin: A biotin deficiency may be the cause of birth defects in humans
- Vitamin B12: Women who have low levels of this vitamin are at an increased risk of having a child with neural tube defects (spina bifida and anencephaly)
- Vitamin E: This vitamin doesn’t just improve your skin, it also influences the growth of your infants lungs and airway inflammation. If you have a low level of vitamin E your child is 5 times more likely to have asthma
- Copper: Helps in the development of your baby’s heart, blood vessels and skeletal and nervous system
- Manganese: Plays a role in the formation of bone and cartilage, but be careful too much manganese may cause clubfoot or even stillbirths
- Potassium: Helps regulate blood pressure and heart function. It may also come in handy when you go into labor, potassium is a natural pain desensitizer and promotes faster healing.
- DHA: Improves visual, cognitive and motor development in infants. Check out our page on the best organic prenatal vitamins
- Inositol: Protects against neural tube defects
- Choline: Boosts cognitive function and reduces the brain’s vulnerability to toxins
Probiotics: The Most Over-looked Pregnancy Nutrient
If prenatal vitamins ever become regulated you better believe probiotics will become a staple pregnancy ingredient, just like folic acid is today. In a perfect world all prenatal vitamins would have a large probiotic blend included in their formula. I’m not talking about a measly 25 million cfu, we’re talking BILLIONS! Some of the best prenatal vitamins with probiotics include New Chapter Perfect Prenatal and Garden of Life Vitamin Code RAW Prenatal Vitamins.
What purpose do these healthy bacteria serve for a developing baby and an expecting mother? Quite a bit, actually…
- Increases fertility
- Decreases the risk of spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) in the first trimester
- Improves digestive health
- Reduces the amount of weight you gain
- Reduces belly fat
- Helps women bounce back and regain their figure after pregnancy
- Reduces the risk of gestational diabetes by 20%
- Helps prevent post partum depression
- Helps prevent yeast infections
- Reduces colic in newborns
- Helps inoculate newborn babies
- Helps prevent pediatric diarrhea
- Reduces respiratory tract infections
- Prevents eczema in high-risk children by 46%
- Reduces diaper rash by 25%
- Strengthens your babies immune and digestive system
- Helps low birth weight babies gain weight