Vitamins and nutrients essential for every expectant mother

During your pregnancy, your primary care physician will likely recommend prenatal vitamins, but how do you choose the right one? There are numerous vitamins that are essential to fetal development and your own health as you go through the nine months. Whether you've been through this before or it's your first time, it's important to familiarize yourself with which nutrients can be beneficial to your little one. Here are some of the vitamins you should look for in foods and on prenatal vitamin labels.

Vitamin A
Most prenatal vitamins have vitamin A, but you can also find this nutrient in foods such as milk, carrots, eggs and other forms of dairy. The reason why this vitamin is so important because it promotes strong bones and teeth. It also encourages growth, which is essential in developing babies. 

Folic acid
You might have heard of folic acid before, but you'll hear about it even more now that you're pregnant. From the first trimester onward, it's crucial to consume a large amount of folic acid to prevent certain birth defects, such as spina bifida, and encourage healthy growth in your child. When you aren't getting folic acid from your prenatal vitamin, you can consume it from foods such as oranges, strawberries, spinach and broccoli.

Calcium
Similar to vitamin A, calcium can encourage the growth of strong bones and benefit the mom-to-be as well. Calcium can easily be found in most prenatal vitamins, but it can also be obtained through dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt.

Iron
If you want your baby to develop into a healthy child, iron is essential. Prenatal vitamins are loaded in iron, and for good reason. This nutrient promotes your infant's growth and development, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also ensure that your baby has healthy red blood cells.

Vitamin D
Once you get the calcium you need into your body, you'll want to make sure that it uses it - vitamin D can do this for you. The most obvious source of vitamin D is the sun, but as you may already know, too much sunshine can expose you to dangerous ultraviolet rays. A prenatal vitamin can help you get the amount you need without needing to sit outdoors for hours at a time. 

Finding the right prenatal vitamin for you
Once you know which vitamins and nutrients are necessary in the prenatal vitamins you take, you can narrow down your options even further by considering a few factors. First, are you getting valuable nutrients through your food? By making sure you're getting the vitamins you and your baby require through your diet, you can reduce your reliance on supplements.

Next, it's important to choose prenatal vitamins that works for you. If you have trouble swallowing the pills because they're rough or large, you may be more reluctant to take them on a regular basis. In the end, this translates into a waste of money.

In addition to considering how difficult the pills are to swallow, you'll want to note any side effects that the supplements may have on your body. After all, you'll already be going through first trimester symptoms such as morning sickness!

Finally, speak to your primary care physician about which nutrients are best for you during your pregnancy. An expert can help you select the best prenatal vitamins for you, your medical history and your unborn child.

How have you made sure you've received the nutrients you need while pregnant in the past? Do you have any tips for sustaining a healthy pregnancy diet? Leave your feedback in the comments section!