Tips for Choosing a Prenatal Vitamin

Tips for Choosing a Prenatal Vitamin

Never is proper nutrition more important than when you’re pregnant, but some women develop strong aversions to foods that might be excellent for them when they’re expecting. Between palate changes during pregnancy and nausea brought on by morning sickness, it can become challenging to get the nutrients you need. 

This and many other relevant topics are things that Dr. Peter Khamvongsa and the Miami Institute for Women’s Health team will go over with you if you’re expecting a baby, or if you’re considering getting pregnant. Dr. Khamvongsa’s specialized training in urogynecology, his clinical expertise, and his warmth make him a trusted OB/GYN when you need the best prenatal care possible.

Why prenatal vitamins?

We talked about the barriers that can emerge that prevent you from getting optimal vitamins and other nutritional benefits when you’re pregnant, but there are additional things to consider.

Even if a mother-to-be has an excellent diet, she still needs to take prenatal vitamins, since it takes turbo-charged amounts of vitamins and minerals for a fetus to develop into a healthy baby. 

Some women are unexcited about the side effects that can come with taking prenatal vitamins, which include constipation or diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping. Your urine and poop can also be affected. You might notice darker or greenish stools when you go to the bathroom, or bright yellow pee.

If you find yourself constipated or experiencing diarrhea, the culprit is usually iron. Drinking more water, exercising, and eating more fiber can help with constipation, but if you're having diarrhea, talk to Dr. Khamvongsa about what might help. 


Your urine can change color because of folic acid, vitamin B, and riboflavin surpluses, and vitamin B can also give your urine an odor that’s reminiscent of sulfur. 


Although these side effects can be uncomfortable and distracting, it’s important not to stop taking your prenatal vitamins. Sometimes all that’s needed is for Dr. Khamvongsa to prescribe a different kind of prenatal vitamin.

Why prenatal vitamins are essential

It’s advised that you start taking prenatal vitamins even before you’re planning on getting pregnant. You should be getting folic acid one month before you conceive. 


Prenatal vitamins offer critically important things that help both your baby and you:


  1. Folic acid, which supports the development of your baby’s brain and spinal cord and protects them from developing birth defects such as spina bifida.
  2. Iron, which helps blood get oxygen to your baby; it may prevent premature birth and low birthweight as well. 
  3. Calcium and vitamin D, which fortify your own bones and teeth, because your baby takes calcium from your bones and teeth as they develop. Prenatal vitamins help both of you in that they support your baby’s growth and protect you from losing bone density.


Of course, you should still focus on eating a healthy diet of nutrient-dense foods while pregnant, even if you are taking prenatal vitamins. Dr. Khamvongsa typically discusses foods to avoid during pregnancy as well, which include milk, cheese, and fruit juice that’s unpasteurized, raw fish like the types that are in sushi, and highly processed foods with “empty” calories.

How should I select which prenatal vitamin to take?

Talk with Dr. Khamvongsa about the different types of prenatal vitamins out there, since you may experience side effects with some and not others. He can help you tweak the type you take should it be necessary. 


The most important thing is to take a prenatal vitamin that contains those key ingredients of folic acid, iron, and calcium, that are vital to your and your baby’s health. Dr. Khamvongsa will also talk to you about which prenatal vitamins contain appropriate amounts of other important vitamins, like vitamins A, C, and E, B vitamins, and minerals like zinc and iodine. 


Dr. Khamvongsa will also want to go over taking the appropriate dosage of prenatal vitamins and avoiding taking more prenatal vitamins than he prescribes, or other multivitamins in addition to your prenatal vitamins. This can set you up for vitamin doses that are too high, putting your baby at risk. 


Taking your prenatal vitamin is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your baby’s healthy development. The Miami Institute for Women’s Health is here for you throughout your pregnancy to provide care, offer guidance, and answer all your questions. 

Call our office at 786-220-2184 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Khamvongsa for prenatal care, or if you’re just considering getting pregnant. You may also book an appointment online.

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