Q & A: What to look for in prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement

Q: What should I look for in a prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement?
A: A comprehensive prenatal should include most of the vitamins and minerals, just like a regular multivitamin.  Your prenatal should be free of vitamin A, as this has a risk of toxicity for your developing fetus.  Vitamin A a fat soluble vitamin and may be stored to reach levels toxic to a growing fetus.  There are different forms of vitamins and minerals and you should make sure your prenatal has the most bioavailable forms otherwise you are just making expensive urine!  B12 should be in the form of methylcobalamin, not the more common and cheaper cyanocobalamin.  Your prenatal should also be free of artificial colours, like FD&C dyes, fillers, talc, and other additives that have no place in nourishing you or your growing baby. Some prenatals also have added DHA, an omega 3 essential fatty acid which is a very important fatty acid for your growing baby; if you can find a prenatal with this added, this is a bonus.  If not, be sure to take a separate DHA fish oil supplement before, during, and after pregnancy.  In addition to the prenatal and fish oil, folic acid should be part of your prenatal regimen.  Folic acid or folate is not the form that is most bioavailable or usable in the body.  Look for 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) to get the best folic acid; take 1-5 mg depending on your age and individual risk factors for neural tube defects.

Have a question for Dr. Carly? Email her.

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