Women who have become pregnant need to start receiving antenatal care in order to be monitored and given all the information and advice that they need for their well-being and that of the child that they are carrying. This article discusses some nutritional supplements that your antenatal care provider may ask you to take while you are pregnant.
Folic acid plays a very big role in preventing children from being born with neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. All pregnant women are therefore usually advised to take this supplement in order to keep their unborn children safe from those defects. Each woman is assessed to determine her risk profile regarding neural tube defects. Additional folic acid supplementation advice may then be given. For instance, women with diabetes may be advised to take this supplement even after giving birth.
Vitamin D is also important for the health of the unborn child and its mother. Healthcare workers therefore recommend different amounts of vitamin D supplementation for pregnant mothers. For instance, women who stay indoors most of the time may be asked to take a higher dosage in comparison to women who spend a considerable amount of time outdoors. Race and body weight may also influence how much vitamin D supplementation is required for each woman. Other factors, such as one's kidney health, are usually considered before vitamin D supplementation is prescribed by an antenatal healthcare provider.
Healthcare providers do not normally ask pregnant women to take iron supplements because those supplements can cause a number of side-effects, such as constipation. However, the women are normally advised to eat certain foods that will provide them with sufficient amounts of iron to sustain them and the babies that they are carrying. The women are then monitored for signs of anaemia. Women who become anaemic during pregnancy are asked to take daily iron supplements until the antenatal care provider decides that it is no longer necessary to continue with that supplement.
Much more advice, such as advice regarding exercise and alcohol use, is given during antenatal visits. It is therefore helpful for you to select an antenatal clinic that is near you so that you can go for all your antenatal visits without switching clinics. That consistency will enable those healthcare providers to detect even minor changes that can signal a developing problem long before it becomes a threat to you or your unborn child. You will also find it easier to ask any question due to the familiarity that will develop between you and the professionals attending to you.