Your Prenatal Multivitamin: What Should You Look For?
Choosing A High Quality, Effective Prenatal Vitamin
Dr. Audra Foster
Pregnancy is a special time for mom and baby. Eating for two can sometimes become a complex undertaking as requirements for most nutrients are higher during pregnancy and lactation. Since most women are not able to meet those increased nutritional needs through diet alone, health care professionals recommend a daily prenatal multivitamin during conception, pregnancy, and lactation … but not all prenatal vitamins are equal and offer a woman convenience, ease, assurance and quality. Choosing the right prenatal multivitamin that nurtures you and baby is crucial. So is making a commitment to taking it every day, even when you are breastfeeding! Here are some tips that make navigating the store aisles a bit easier so you can make a better choice.
Look for these key nutrients for a healthy pregnancy
- Folate/Folic Acid: Increased intake of this B vitamin during pregnancy has a well-established role in reducing the risk of neural tube defects.
- B Vitamins: In addition to Folate/Folic Acid, the other B vitamins are also important for proper nervous system development. B6 supplementation has also been shown to safely and effectively decrease nausea.
- Vitamin A: This fat-soluble vitamin is key for embryonic growth and the development of the circulatory, respiratory, and nervous systems.
- Iron: This mineral is essential for the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood and for the development of the brain and nervous system during pregnancy.
- Choline: Pregnant women are at a higher risk of being deficient in this essential micronutrient, which plays important roles in brain and nervous system development.
- Vitamin D: Because evidence indicates that the current recommendations of 200-600 I.U. daily may not be adequate for optimum maternal and infant health, I recommend choosing a daily prenatal vitamin that contains at least 800 IU Vitamin D3.
Replace the standard, large prenatal pill with an effervescent multivitamin drink
Many of my patients experience nausea, sensitive palates, and difficulties swallowing pills, and/or keeping pills down while pregnant—which makes taking the prenatal vitamins they crucially need especially challenging. That’s why I recommend an effervescent prenatal multivitamin instead of traditional pill-form prenatal vitamins. You simply add the effervescent powder to a glass of water or juice and stir to create a tasty sparkling drink that provides the nutrients required for a healthy pregnancy. An added benefit is that drinking an effervescent prenatal multivitamin everyday also helps women stay hydrated during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Effervescence also delivers nutrients more effectively than pills. Many of us do not break down pills efficiently. But unlike pills, an effervescent drink does not need to be broken down by stomach acids in order to be absorbed—delivering better absorption (and therefore better results) than pills.
Choose a brand that has been tested for contaminants.
A responsible company will always test a prenatal product. It must be free from any ingredients that are not healthy for you such as additives or synthetic sweeteners and from chemicals in the environment that are dangerous such as mercury, PCBs and lead.
I recommend a product called Prenatal Oxylent because of its effervescent delivery system and superior quality -- plus you will find it easy-to-digest. Prenatal Oxylent’s convenient single-serving packets mix into water to make a nutritious, delicious drink that contains only the highest-quality ingredients in their most absorbable form—including Albion Minerals, the only manufacturer able to guarantee the absorption and metabolism of their minerals. Prenatal Oxylent is the official prenatal multivitamin of the American Pregnancy Association. (You can check out this educational organization at www.americanpregnancy.org.) With no sugar, gluten, dairy, caffeine or artificial additives of any kind, you can feel confident about its purity. Most importantly, the product is third-party tested to be free of environmental contaminants like heavy metals and PCBs. To learn more, see www.oxylent.com. And please, enjoy your prenatal vitamins … each and every day!
Dr. Audra Foster is a licensed, board-certified doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and is considered a Primary Care Physician in the state of California. She has been in private practice for 15 years, and focuses on general medicine with an emphasis in women's health. Dr. Foster graduated from Pitzer College with a Bachelors of Art in PreMed and Neuropsychopharmacology. She earned her doctoral degree in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. Her clinical training took place at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health, where she graduated in 1997. Dr. Foster also pursued a license in midwifery while in Seattle, and she completed a year residency as a Naturopathic Doctor and Midwife at a birth center in Seattle.
Dr. Audra Foster highlights an important trait you should look for in a multi-vitamin -- effervescent technology – which has proven to be the better option for increased absorption over tablets an pills. Here are some reasons why it is a clear winner:
- Nutrients delivered in a solution like water require no digestion or breakdown to access the ingredients.
- Carbon Dioxide Helps Nutrient Absorption –Carbon Dioxide alters the permeability of cells in the intestines and allows nutrients to be more effectively absorbed through the intestinal wall.
- A Buffered Solution Means Greater Absorption Too – Mixing the powder with water forms a buffered solution so that the nutrients are optimally absorbed after passing through the stomach to the intestines.
- It Gives Your Body a Break! – Conventional vitamins go into the mouth and on to the stomach where it takes time to dissolve and then absorb. Effervescent powder dissolved in a glass cuts down on the time needed for absorption.
- It saves you money! – You get more bang for your buck with an effervescent multi-vitamin by the way of increased absorption.
- It can increase your daily liquid intake! The effervescent delivery system helps increase the water intake of the person ingesting the formula. Users of conventional tablets and pills often do not include enough water when taking their supplement.
Disclaimer: All information is presented on an informative basis and is not intended to replace the diagnosis of your personal primary physician. Please check with your doctor before changing your dietary plan.
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