I think I eat pretty healthy. Do I still need to take a prenatal vitamin if I’m pregnant?
During pregnancy, an average woman should consume the following foods daily:
- 8 ounces of grains, with at least half of these grains coming from whole grains
- 3 cups of vegetables
- 2 cups of fruit, with the majority coming from whole fruit instead of juice
- 3 servings of dairy: milk or yogurt (1 cup per serving) or cheese (1 ½ ounces per serving)
- 6.5 ounces of protein, including 8 ounces of low mercury fatty fish per week
Even if you eat a well balanced diet, most doctors recommend a prenatal vitamin to ensure you get enough folic acid and iron. Folic acid helps protect your growing baby from a number of birth defects and although grains are now fortified with folic acid, a prenatal vitamin helps ensure you receive the recommended 600 micrograms daily. A woman also needs more iron while pregnant to protect her from anemia and to help the baby grow properly, especially during the second and third trimesters. A blood test ordered by your doctor will confirm if you are getting enough iron through your diet. Talk to your doctor about which prenatal vitamin may be right for you.