Calcium and Iron in Prenatal Vitamins
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
While a healthy diet that contains a considerable amount of calcium and iron is vital for each and every person, pregnant women need these key nutrients a little bit more than others. This is the main reason why reputed manufacturers of dietary supplements add a significant amount of calcium and iron in prenatal vitamins so that they can meet the requirements of these key nutrients for pregnant women or fill up the nutritional gaps if any. By the way, the actual purpose of dietary supplements is to supply necessary nutrients that are lacking in the body and it is also true in prenatal vitamins.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the importance of calcium and iron in prenatal vitamins in a little in-depth manner. But before we get into how calcium and iron in prenatal vitamins help with pregnancy, it’s important to know the basics of prenatal vitamins a little bit more. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What are prenatal vitamins?
- Importance of calcium and iron in prenatal vitamins
- How much calcium and iron do pregnant women need?
- When to consider taking prenatal vitamins with calcium and iron
- How long do pregnant women need to take prenatal vitamins?
- Things you need to know about taking prenatal vitamins, calcium, and iron supplements
- Final words
What are prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins, otherwise known as prenatal supplements, are nothing but multivitamins that are specifically prepared for pregnant women or women who are hoping to conceive. In pregnancy, the requirement of key nutrients in the body changes. This is the reason why the amounts and types of major nutrients such as calcium and iron in prenatal vitamins are far different from those that are present in other multivitamins.
Prenatal vitamins usually contain more calcium, iron, folic acid, and vitamin D, all of which are critical for expecting moms as well as babies. Sometimes they may contain an extra boost of omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients as well.
Importance of calcium and iron in prenatal vitamins
Iron is the key content in hemoglobin, an essential component of red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. In pregnancy, women need to produce more blood to supply oxygen to the fetus and placenta. For this reason, the requirement for iron intake during pregnancy increases to nearly double.
Insufficiency or deficiency of iron during pregnancy not only increases the risk of iron deficiency anemia, which is characterized by excessive fatigue and weakness, but also, in serious cases, can increase the risk of a whole range of birth complications such as low birth weight, preterm birth, and postpartum depression.
Calcium, on the other hand, plays a crucial role in developing healthy bones and teeth, not only for expecting moms but also, for their babies too. In addition, without enough calcium, the nervous, circulatory, and muscular systems cannot function properly.
How much calcium and iron do pregnant women need?
Women who are pregnant or willing to conceive should ensure a 27 mg intake of iron and 1300 mg intake of calcium each and every day. But the standard doses of daily intake of iron and calcium may vary from person to person depending on age and specific health conditions. Therefore, it makes sense to have a discussion with a professional nutritionist or healthcare provider to determine the exact doses.
When to consider taking prenatal vitamins with calcium and iron
All nutrients found in dietary sources are neither present in the same form nor equally absorbed in the human body. Hence, even though a pregnant woman is on a balanced diet, she might yet have some kind of shortage of certain key nutrients such as folic acid, calcium, and iron.
Prenatal vitamins contain considerable amounts of iron, calcium, folic acid, vitamin D, zinc, copper, vitamins A, C, E, and others. They are able to supply a large portion of recommended daily amount of these nutrients. This is why most clinicians recommend prenatal vitamins to women who are hoping to conceive. Some experts recommend starting them at least three months prior to conception.
But, if clinicians find severe iron and calcium deficiency in some cases, they may recommend separate iron and calcium supplements too, because most pregnant women experience issues digesting or absorbing vitamins and minerals during pregnancy.
How long do pregnant women need to take prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are usually recommended throughout the pregnancy. But, in certain cases, clinicians may also advise continuing it even after the baby is born since it can hugely benefit breastfeeding moms too.
Things you need to know about taking prenatal vitamins, calcium, and iron supplements
If prenatal vitamins, iron, or a calcium supplement is recommended to you, your physician or nutritionist will guide you on the best method to take it. There is nothing to worry about if you carefully follow the guideline of your healthcare provider and take it as prescribed.
Sometimes prenatal vitamins, particularly iron may cause some side effects, such as:
- Black urine
Here are a few ways to avoid or prevent these side effects:
- Taking plenty of water or fluids
- Taking fiber-containing foods
- Taking these supplements with some snacks
- Getting some exercise, but as long as permitted by your doctor
- Trying other options like taking a stool softener as recommended by your doctor
Getting enough nutrition is equally important for expecting moms as well as babies. Calcium is crucial for the development of healthy bones and teeth and iron is important to build hemoglobin and supply oxygen to the placenta and fetus.
Extra support for these nutrients has been found to be helpful to reduce the risk of various birth complications. Calcium and iron in prenatal vitamins may play an important role to fill the gaps in recommended daily amounts of these nutrients and may give you a helping hand to offer your baby the best possible start in life.
Here you can see Vorst’s Prenatal Vitamins Capsules with 29 ingredients
Here you can see Vorst’s pure and natural Calcium with Vitamin D Tablets
Here you can see Vorst’s pure and natural Iron Supplement Maximum Strength Vegan Capsules