If you’re like me, you probably started the body-purifying process long before you even got pregnant. As soon as my husband and I decided we were ready for a baby, I cut down on the white wine, started transitioning to organic foods, and gave up my beloved spicy tuna rolls. I was committed to turning my body into a clean, mean, baby-growing machine.
As it turns out, though, I was already way ahead of the game. About a year earlier, right after I got married, my OB-GYN had suggested I start taking an over-the-counter prenatal multivitamin, like Nestlé Materna. Although I wasn’t planning on getting pregnant for a while, he explained that there were long-term benefits both to my health and the health of my future baby. Ideally, women should be taking a daily dose for at least 12 weeks prior to conception, but since unplanned pregnancies happen all the time, why not be prepared? I had so many friends who got wham-bam with-baby, so I figured it was like an insurance policy. And popping a vitamin seemed like an easy step toward a healthy pregnancy.
So, why are prenatal multivitamins such a big deal for moms-to-be?
First off, they contain folic acid, which, if taken before you even become pregnant, can reduce the risk of birth defects by more than 70%. Neural tube defects, like spina bifida, usually develop within the first few weeks after conception, before you may even know you’re carrying a child. So it’s smart to stockpile your body with folic acid in advance.
Of course, those are just the benefits pre-pregnancy. Once you actually have a little one in your belly, you’ll want to be sure you’re getting all of the nutrients that you both need. While I was committed to eating a healthy diet during my pregnancy, there were definitely days when I felt too nauseous to eat, when I consumed mostly banana pudding, and when the drive-thru seemed so much easier than another market run for green veggies. At that point, though, I was taking a prescription prenatal multivitamin, which I knew would fill in any nutritional gaps. It contained vitamins and minerals important for a healthy pregnancy like vitamin D, iron, and calcium.
Prenatal multivitamins, like Nestlé Materna, contain higher amounts of the essential nutrients needed during pregnancy, like folic acid, calcium, and iron, compared to regular multivitamins. While diet and exercise are obviously important, I found that it was kind of nice to know that I had all of the healthy essentials covered, especially on days when my food choices were not ideal.
I actually continued taking my multivitamin even after delivering my healthy twin boys. (Oh yes, I had identical twins.) As tough as it was to tandem feed my babies and pump six times a day, I decided to breastfeed for the first few months of their new lives. A lot of the nutrients that I needed during my pregnancy, I also needed while making milk for my babies, which can be incredibly taxing on a mother’s body. I was told the multivitamin would help replenish what I might be losing, and would also be a health boost for my little ones. Whatever good stuff I was getting went directly to my boys.
I’ll admit that before I started thinking about having babies, I often forgot to take my multivitamin. I’d forget to floss and take my makeup off at night too. Once I knew just how important a prenatal multivitamin was though, I got pretty strict with myself. Taking a daily prenatal multivitamin was a piece of cake compared to raising twins. And I know it was one of the best things I could have done for myself and for them.
This post was sponsored by Nestlé Materna