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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more

Prenatal Vitamins

As hard as anyone pregnant or not can try, very few mothers get a nutritionally balanced diet everyday. During pregnancy this can sometimes become even more impossible especially during early pregnancy when morning sickness is a common appetite suppressant and fatigue makes an expectant mother skip eating in exchange for a soft pillow and fresh sheets! These are just two small reasons why taking a good prenatal vitamin is vital throughout pregnancy. A good vitamin does not take the place of eating nutritiously but it can balance the scales in your favor, and your baby's too.

Doctors routinely prescribe prenatal vitamins to women trying to conceive and to those who are pregnant. Taking a prenatal vitamin before getting pregnant and in the early months of pregnancy has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects (spina bifida) in babies.

A prenatal vitamin is a multivitamin designed to meets the need of pregnant and nursing mothers. Neither the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have set guidelines for what has to be in a multivitamin for it to be called a prenatal vitamin. There are some ingredients that are now considered standard in prenatal vitamins such as a greater amount of folic acid (folate), iron and calcium. Expectant mothers, breastfeeding mothers and those trying to conceive need more of these nutrients than the average woman, especially folic acid. Folic acid specifically reduces the chance of neural tube defects. And iron because with pregnancy, your body is making so much extra blood, that you could become anemic without the help of extra iron. Remember, your baby will take what it needs first to develop and grow, and therefore, your body may suffer if you're not getting enough of the necessary vitamins and minerals needed throughout pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins can be purchased over-the-counter at a drugstore or your doctor or midwife may write a prescription for your vitamins.

A good prenatal vitamin should contain:

Vitamin C - is essential for tissue repair, healing wounds and bone, and increases the body's resistance to infection. For mother and baby this vitamin is essential as it is the agent that holds newly formed cells together. It also helps baby to grow and build strong bones and teeth, and is instrumental in the body's ability to absorb iron.

Vitamin D - promotes general growth. It maintains proper levels of calcium and phosphorus thus helping to build baby's bones and teeth.

B Vitamins (thiamine, vitamin B6, riboflavin) - Thiamine converts carbohydrates into energy for mother and baby and is essential for baby's brain development. It also aids in normal functioning of the nervous system and heart. If deficient during pregnancy, a baby is at risk for beriberi, a serious heart ailment. Vitamin B6 is also vital to develop your baby's brain and nervous system. Riboflavin helps the body to produce energy, promotes growth, good vision and healthy skin for mom and is important for the development of the baby's bone, muscle and nervous system.

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