Is your prenatal vitamin enough?
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
Pregnancy is an important time for a woman to ensure if she is getting enough nutrients in a well balanced diet.
Most people living in the United States do not consume adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals in their diet.
This is due to a lack of understanding regarding what exactly a balanced diet is, low socioeconomic status, and/or poor food availability.
Diet during pregnancy...
A balanced diet and lifestyle does indeed require time and effort that many individuals are not prepared for. This effort is heightened during a time like pregnancy, making a healthful/balanced diet even more difficult for a woman that is expecting.
Individualized maternal care...
As healthcare providers, we tell all women to take a prenatal vitamin while pregnant (or trying to become pregnant) in order to be certain that the future mother is consuming adequate amounts of folate, magnesium, etc. We rely on the prenatal vitamins as a safety net to 'cover' what the mother does not receive through her diet. Unfortunately, studies have shown that this method still may not be enough.
A study found that even with a prenatal vitamin, many women were short on a few vital nutrients. Out of 1,000 pregnant women 48% were low in magnesium, 36% low in vitamin D, 43% low in vitamin E, and 36% low in iron. Likewise, 95% had intakes that were too high in sodium and even on the flip side 25% were too high in iron.
So clearly this 'giving out supplements' approach isn't working, but what can be done differently?
We need a more individualized approach, where dietitians and other health care providers sit down with women and see what their specific needs are. Through this, we can find out what exactly each mother's strengths and weaknesses are in their diet. With this approach, a prenatal vitamin is not the main line of defense for proper nutrition. It simply becomes the extra 'cushion' of nutritional support that it was originally meant to be.
There are few places that offer these specialized prenatal services due to time, money, and insurance. Because of this, often times pregnant women do not get the care they need or deserve.
At Mamas Maternal Health, we offer one-on-one prenatal nutrition and lactation counseling that is individualized to your needs for this exact reason. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, please click --- here!
Until next time!
Mikayla and Cassie
Mamas Maternal Health Registered Dietitians/Lactation Counselors
Reference: Average Pregnant woman in U.S. may have poor nutrition
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