by Pregnancy.org Staff
Prenatal vitamins: Best friend of pregnancy health; worst enemy of the pregnant woman.
Most women say they'd rather not swallow a pill the size of a baked potato while already nausous and bloated. This pill might have unpleasant side effects -- more nausea and maybe constipation. Swallow some of these tips to ease that pain-in-the-pill:
While it may be tempting to cheat and skip a pill (or three), making that effort every day means a healthy and nutritious enviornment for your developing baby. Prenatal vitamins aren't intended to replace a healthy diet but to enhance it.
Confession time...none of us eat perfectly every day. The vitamins can help fill nutritional gaps and offer that little extra boost to your baby! These important pills provide nutrients like folic acid which are essential to prevent certain common birth defects. Call them little insurance policies!
How It All Goes Down!
You shouldn't ditch the pill, but you can keep the daily drama down to a minimum!
- Take your prenatal vitamin before bed. This way you can sleep through the vicious waves of nausea.
- Drink a glass of water with the pill to help it dissolve and disperse faster!
- Swallow the pill with a flavored drink. If the vitamin taste throws you for a loop, drink with a cup of juice. It will mask the flavor and help the medicine go down. Don't with milk, or other dairy products. Calcium makes it harder for your body to absorb certain ingredients in your prenatals.
- Take the pill with food! Taking the prenatal after you have a little something in your tummy can help reduce the "sickies".
- Try the half-and-half approach. If those giant horse pills are too much to swallow, ask your midwife or doctor to prescribe a split dosage -- one in the morning, and one in the evening! Half the pill might mean half the misery!
- Try a new brand! Not all prenatals are gigantic, some are even quite small. Work with your provider and find one that works for you.
You give it your best, but the pill is still escaping your tummy in less than pleasurable ways. Good news -- these alternatives will keep the nutrients in your body, and hopefully your breakfast as well!
- Flintstones chewable vitamins: That's right! That same multivitamin your mom fed you when you were a kid will work perfectly for pregnancy. Two a day and a small folic acid pill (if your provider recommends) is all you need to match the power of one "adult" prenatal vitamin.
- Gummy vitamins: You can choose either the children's version (take two a day) or find an actual "gummy prenatal" on almost any drug store shelf. They offer a fruity flavor that most women can stomach.
- Liquid vitamins: Less popular, a lot pricier but if you cannot do the others, then this may be for you. They can be taken straight or mixed into a glass of juice. Not exactly tasty, but they do go down much quicker!
- No prenatal at all - not recommended: If all else fails, your doctor may approve just a simple folic acid and/or iron supplement for you, in conjunction with a well-rounded diet. These pills are usually very small and have little to no effect on your already raging symptoms.
Supplements contain vitamins and minerals in concentrated form. Combining several different types increases the risk of overdosing on a particular nutrient. Let your provider know what nutritional supplements you're taking and work together on a plan that's both healthy and easy to swallow.
While getting these vitamins in seems almost more trouble than it's worth, the good news is prenatal vitamin intolerance usually doesn't last past the first trimester. Until you get there, we applaud your effort!