Most doctors recommend that their pregnant patients take prenatal vitamins, but many prenatals are difficult to tolerate and are expensive. You might be wondering if taking over-the-counter children's vitamins, such as Flintstones vitamins, can help you get the nutrients you need. You should talk to a doctor before taking anything other than a true prenatal vitamin, though, since they might not actually provide the vitamins and minerals you need and may supply too much of other nutrients that could be dangerous for the developing baby.
Prenatal Nutrition and Vitamins
During pregnancy, you need more of certain nutrients, including folic acid, iodine, iron and calcium. While getting these nutrients through food is the best option, taking a prenatal supplement ensures that mother and baby both get everything they need. Regular multivitamins and Flintstones vitamins may not have the correct amounts of each nutrient for pregnancy.
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Reasons to Switch
Some people find that prenatal vitamins are hard to tolerate, either because they are difficult to swallow or because the mineral content makes them feel nauseated. Flintstones vitamins are chewable and may be easier on the stomach because of the lower levels of nutrients in each dose. However, a single dose of Flintstones vitamins usually does not have the necessary amount of nutrients. Chewable prenatal vitamins, available via prescription from your doctor, may be a better alternative.
Flintstones vitamins do not contain the necessary levels of folic acid for pregnancy. Folic acid is especially important because taking it significantly reduces the chances of neural tube defects in the developing baby. Pregnant people need a prenatal vitamin with 800mcg to 1,000mcg of folic acid, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Flintstones vitamins only provide 400mcg per chewable tablet. Other nutrients that may be present at too low levels in Flintstones vitamins include calcium and zinc. Taking more than one Flintstones vitamin in an attempt to boost your levels of these nutrients may cause you to take too much of other nutrients that Flintstones vitamins have too much of for pregnancy.
If you're pregnant, you need more folic acid than one Flintstones vitamin can provide, so you might consider taking two or more a day. However, this will typically provide too much iron, vitamin A and vitamin E. Too much supplemental vitamin A can be particularly dangerous to a developing baby. Vitamin A doses over 5,000 IU per day can increase the risk of birth defects, according to the March of Dimes.