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Organic Prenatal Vitamins: Worth the Investment?

 

Much like organic fruit and vegetables, Organic Prenatal Vitamins are a wonderful choice for expectant mothers and compliments an organic diet. You wouldn’t want to go through all the effort in consuming organic food only to ruin it by taking any prenatal vitamin that might not meet your standards when it comes to quality and purity. Organic Prenatal vitamins provide a natural, high-quality product with a little “peace of mind” on the side as you can rest assure that they are produced from food sources free from harmful chemical fertilizers, additives, and pesticides.

Organic vs. non-organic prenatal vitamins:

While there isn’t any evidence currently available proving that organic prenatal vitamins are more beneficial than non-organic prenatal vitamins, it only makes sense that mothers would want to offer their unborn child the best possible nutrients in its purest, most natural form. Your baby’s biggest and most significant developments already take place while inside your womb and everything you consume, your little one consumes too. So even though we cannot prove that organic prenatal vitamins trumps regular vitamins, it only makes sense that it will be healthier for both you and your little one.

Do I really need a prenatal vitamin when I’m already eating a healthy, organic diet?

Quite simply put, yes. Although eating healthy can provide you with many of the nutrients you and your unborn child needs, our busy lifestyles often leave gaps in the nutrient department which could lead to serious defects in your child such as neural tube defects and anemia for yourself. It is also important to realize that while you aren’t technically “eating for two” during pregnancy (your body only needs small amounts of additional calories during the second and third trimester), it does demand nutrients for two.

During pregnancy, your body requires additional nutrients for both yourself and your baby and organic prenatal vitamins are designed for this exact purpose.

It is important to note that it is nearly impossible for pre-natal vitamins, organic or not, to contain all of the daily required vitamins, which is why eating healthy during pregnancy should still be your number one priority. If your little one is lacking in any of the required vitamins, it will take these vitamins from your body and leave you depleted. In the same way, pre-natal vitamins should be viewed as a supplement only and one cannot rely on these vitamins for all your dietary needs.

Other factors to take into consideration are whether or not you are carrying multiples, any substance abuse or eating disorders and your age. If this is the case, it is often best to consult your doctor for advice on the best possible Organic prenatal vitamin.

What to look for in an Organic pre-natal vitamin?

The “buzz word” when it comes to organic prenatal vitamins is “raw food”. This means that the vitamins are extracted from actual fruit and vegetables but be warned, “raw food” does not automatically guarantee that the fruit and vegetables are organic. Make sure that when you purchase an Organic Prenatal vitamin that the label confirms it – these vitamins undergo several tests and certification before an organization can label their product as organic.

If you are aware that you are lacking in any department regarding vitamins, be sure to mention this to your doctor or gynecologist. (If for example, you know that you are prone to low iron levels, your doctor can prescribe an additional iron tablet if required and monitor your iron levels on a regular basis.)

Now, let’s take a look at a few organic prenatal vitamins out there and what exactly your nutritional needs are during pregnancy:

Folic Acid:

Folic acid, a B vitamin, is probably the number one reason why doctors recommend taking a prenatal vitamin even before you are pregnant. Research has shown that enough folic acid can reduce your baby’s chances of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommend that pregnant women take at least 600 mcg of folic acid on a daily basis.

Food sources containing Folic acid includes avocado, lentils, citrus fruit, dark green vegetables such as spinach, Brussel sprouts and broccoli, dried beans and nuts.

How these Organic prenatal vitamins compare:
Country Life, Real Food Organics, Prenatal daily nutrition800 mcg
New Chapter Perfect Prenatal600 mcg
Garden of Life mykind Organics800 mcg
Recommended dosage:600 mcg

Iron:

Lack of iron can lead to iron-deficiency anemia, which can leave you feeling tired and weak. Aside from folic acid, this is often the one mineral that we don’t get enough of in our diet. By increasing your intake of iron, you may prevent low birth weight as well as decrease your risk of preterm labor. It is recommended that pregnant women take 27 mg of iron per day.

Try eating leafy greens, liver (be careful not to eat too much as liver as it contains high levels of vitamin A which can be harmful to your baby), lentils, beef and kidney beans. Iron can leave you feeling constipated so be sure to eat enough fruit in your diet. Prune juice will also alleviate constipation.

How these Organic prenatal vitamins compare:
Country Life, Real Food Organics, Prenatal daily nutrition18 mg
New Chapter Perfect Prenatal18 mg
Garden of Life mykind Organics18 mg
Recommended dosage:27 mg

Calcium:

Your body requires Calcium to help your baby grow strong teeth and bones. It is also used to develop healthy nerves and muscles in your unborn child. Keep in mind that as a woman (and as you grow older), you need a substantial amount of calcium for your own body and prenatal vitamins often simply aren’t big enough to provide you with all the calcium required. In fact, some prenatal vitamins don’t contain any calcium! Look for a prenatal vitamin containing anything between 1000 and 2000 mg of calcium.

Here’s how our three recommended prenatal vitamins did:

How these Organic prenatal vitamins compare:
Country Life, Real Food Organics, Prenatal daily nutrition27 mg
New Chapter Perfect Prenatal75 mg
Garden of Life mykind Organics5 mg
Recommended dosage:1000 mg

Food sources containing calcium includes,Yogurt, milk, raw kale, calcium-set tofu.

Your doctor might also recommend that you keep taking your prenatal vitamins even after pregnancy as your calcium intake is still significant while breastfeeding.

Vitamin D:

Although all doctors agree that pregnant women need Vitamin D to help maintain levels of calcium and phosphorus in your body, there is still some debate on the required dosage. While some doctors recommend 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D, others argue that pregnant women may need up to 2 000 IU of vitamin D. The fact is, your body needs Vitamin D to help build your baby’s bones and teeth and may also be linked to prevention of rickets. Ask your doctor for the recommended dosage. Food sources contain Vitamin D includes canned sardines, pink salmon, egg yolk and some cereals and fortified milk.

How these Organic prenatal vitamins compare:
Country Life, Real Food Organics, Prenatal daily nutrition440 IU
New Chapter Perfect Prenatal1000 IU
Garden of Life mykind Organics1000 IU
Recommended dosage:Unknown

Other fatty acids and vitamins:

Much like calcium, some prenatal vitamins don’t include any omega-3 fatty acids (DHA) which can help with baby’s brain development. These can be found in most fish, peanut butter and eggs but your doctor may also subscribe an additional supplement to fill this need. A pregnant woman typically needs 200mg of DHA daily.

Your prenatal vitamin will also contain other supplements such as Zinc and Vitamins C, B and K that your body needs on a daily basis.

Here are our top 3 Organic prenatal supplements for overall health:

Garden of Life mykind Organics

New Chapter Perfect Prenatal

Country Life, Real Food Organics, Prenatal daily nutrition

In conclusion:

It is essential to take a prenatal vitamin, whether organic or not, when you are pregnant (or when trying to conceive) as your body’s need for nutrients increases. Although some refer to prenatal vitamins as an “insurance policy” to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients you and your little one requires, one should never rely on these vitamins alone and should always use it as a supplement to your diet as seen during our comparison because no prenatal vitamin can contain all the required nutrition. Always consult your doctor if you have any concerns or if you are aware of any gaps in your dietary needs and don’t be afraid to ask them for an organic product as they are just as nutritional.

 

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