Prenatal vitamins are a great way to give your baby a jump start on the road to good health. They can help you feel better and stay healthy, too. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) indicates taking a multivitamin at conception can help ease nausea symptoms during pregnancy because they contain vitamin B-6, a vitamin that can help with morning sickness. Taking prenatal vitamins can also cause nausea, so how you take them is important.
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Nutrition is even more important during pregnancy than it is at any other time. It is essential for the health of both mom and baby. Prenatal vitamins can help fill in any gaps in your diet. According to MayoClinic.com, prenatal vitamins tend to have more folic acid, calcium and iron than regular multivitamins, which are important nutrients in pregnancy.
Although frequently called morning sickness, the nausea commonly associated with pregnancy can occur any time of day. It usually resolves itself around the 12th to 16th week of pregnancy, but sometimes can stick around longer. Severe morning sickness can cause dehydration and a doctor should monitor the condition. ACOG estimates 70 to 85 percent of women experience morning sickness during pregnancy.
How Vitamins Help
Prenatal vitamins can also help with nausea during pregnancy by helping provide an adequate supply of vitamin B-6, a powerful fighter of morning sickness. Because nausea and other symptoms may occur before you’re aware you are pregnant, ACOG states taking vitamins before conception can help alleviate morning sickness by ensuring you have vitamin B-6 stores in your body. Unfortunately, sometimes taking prenatal vitamins can actually cause nausea. To help minimize nausea induced by taking prenatal vitamins, MayoClinic.com suggests taking pills with snacks or at bedtime.
According to Harvard Health Publications, vitamin B-6 plays a role in the formation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that aids in sleep and protein metabolism. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B-6 is 1.9mg per day. Large doses of vitamin B-6, up to 25mg three times per day, are used to reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. According to the Institute of Medicine, the upper tolerable limit for B-6 is 80 to 100mg. The upper tolerable limit is the largest amount of a vitamin you can safely take. Since a dose of 25mg three times a day is 75mg of vitamin B-6, use caution when supplementing. Consider food sources when calculating daily B-6 intake and keep your doctor informed. Harvard Health Publications reports vitamin B-6 is found in meat, poultry, fish, bananas, watermelon, potatoes and fortified cereal.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- "Krause's Food, Nutrition, and Diet Therapy"; L. Kathleen Mahan, et al.; 2004
- Harvard Health Publications: Harvard Medical School: Listing of Vitamins
- Institute of Medicine: Daily Reference Intakes: Vitamins
- MayoClinic.Com: Prenatal vitamins: Give your baby the best start
- American Pregnancy Association: Morning Sickness
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Prenatal vitamins (By mouth)