Growing a bub makes you want to eat all of the things or none of the things (thanks morning sickness). It means giving your body everything it needs to grow a baby gets a little tricky. The experts say pregnant women should be taking folic acid and iodine, and some of us will need an extra boost of B12, D, and K, as well as iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
While they don’t replace a healthy diet, prenatal vitamins and supplements help support you and your bub in the easiest way possible. And to give yourself a head start, prenatal vitamins can be taken even before your little bun is baking away to get your body prepped.
Do you need to take prenatal vitamins?
Having a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to help growing bumps, but experts also recommend additional supplements. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) says all expecting women should be taking folic acid and iodine, and some will need an extra boost of B12, D, and K, as well as iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
When should you start taking prenatal vitamins?
It’s recommended starting a prenatal supplement at least a month before conception. It’s ok if you don’t, just start taking them as soon as you get confirmation there’s a baby on board.
What do prenatal vitamins do?
Some prenatal vitamins help mum-to-be’s body cope with the extra demands of growing a baby, while others help bub. There’s been lots of research conducted on how each vitamin works to help support mum’s growing body, and give bub the best chance at a healthy start to life.
Here’s a more detailed look at what each vitamin and mineral does, and the dose recommended by the experts:
Iron: Lots of mums find that pregnancy drains their iron stores, and low iron in early pregnancy has been linked to low birth weight and premature birth
How much iron is needed: Between 22mg/day – 27mg/day
Iodine: A mild to moderate iodine deficiency can result in learning difficulties and impact motor skills development and hearing.
How much iodine is needed: 150 micrograms each day.
Folate: Making sure your body has enough folate helps to prevent birth defects like spina bifida. Folate can be found naturally in lots of foods.
How much folate is needed: At least 0.4mg daily, or 5mg if there’s a known increased risk of NTD.
Vitamin D: This gem of a vitamin is for you and for bub – to keep bones and teeth healthy. Not enough vitamin D can make children’s bones soft and lead to a disease called rickets.
How much is needed: 400 iu, but the dose will be more if your doctor determines your levels are too low.
Zinc: Zinc is really helpful in supporting pregnant bodies during the quick-fire cell growth that happens during pregnancy.
How much zinc is needed: Between 9mg/day – 11mg/day or more.
Vitamin C: Extra vitamin C is needed during pregnancy because of the increased blood volume flowing around to support the growth of your baby. It also helps aid the absorption of iron.
How much is needed: Between 40mg/day – 60mg/day or more
Calcium: Super important for creating bub’s bones and teeth. Calcium is found in dairy and eating fish with edible bones is also a great source of calcium.
How much calcium is needed: Between 1000 mg and 1300mg a day.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 is critically important for the development of baby’s brain.
How much is needed: no more than 2-3 serves (150g /serve) of fish per week for pregnant women, or from a pregnancy supplement.
5 prenatal vitamins and supplements for expecting mums
To help you find the right prenatal vitamins for pregnancy, we’ve compiled this handy list of brands to get you started in your search. In no particular order, they are:
There are 20 important nutrients for mum and bub in these tiny capsules. Think folic acid, iodine, DHA, vitamin B3 (nicotinamide), vitamin D3 and low-constipation iron.
Elevit has a pretty hefty claim to fame. It’s the only pregnancy multivitamin to meet the Australian recommended dietary intakes for folic acid, iron and iodine. And it has the highest level of folic acid and iron of any pregnancy multivitamin in Australia.
An easy to drink formula if morning sickness makes it a battle to swallow tablets. It contains folic acid, iron, zinc, vitamins A, C and D, vitamin A, B2 and 50 per cent of the recommended daily intake of calcium.
Has 21 vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids to support all stages of pregnancy and beyond.
Specially formulated based on the Australian diet with the recommended levels of the essential nutrients and low-constipation iron.
Continue your search for the best prenatal vitamins and supplements
Looking for the best prenatal vitamins and still not sure if any of these are right for you? Search online by jumping into one of our closed Baby groups and ask thousands of other Australian mums what they recommend – ‘What to buy’ is the most talked-about topic.