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Vitamins and Minerals

Choosing the Best Prenatal Vitamin – Our guide to essential Vitamins and Minerals during pregnancy:

The foods and nutrition that you consume while you are pregnant is going to effect the development of your baby, a balanced diet is the best way to receive nutrients, but prenatal vitamins do also have a place. Prenatal vitamins will never replace a healthy diet, but rather assist you in ensuring that you get that little bit of extra help.  They need to be seen as a supplement and not a replacement to a balanced diet.

Your body’s need for certain vitamins and minerals increases when you are pregnant, as your baby is using your existing supply to grow and develop. Although you can get a prenatal vitamin especially formulated for pregnant women, containing most of the essential supplements you’ll need, taking folic acid, iron and calcium separately is sometimes necessary.

What are prenatal vitamins and what do they contain:

Prenatal vitamins are vitamin and mineral supplements intended to be taken before, during and while breastfeeding. Prenatal vitamins are similar to other multivitamins, but do contain different amounts of specific nutrients to better suit the needs of an expecting mother. Prenatal vitamins are available over-the-counter in nearly any pharmacy.

Below is a list of minerals that a prenatal vitamin should have and a list products that South Africa sells:

What vitamins and minerals you should find in a prenatal vitamin:

Vitamin A:
Recommended dose: 770mg
Vitamin A helps support the growth of bones and teeth, promotes the formation of healthy skin and helps your eyesight.

Folic acid:
Recommended dose:400 to 800 mg
Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects.
These defects are serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord. Folic acid is arguably the most important supplement for pregnant women.

Vitamin D:
Recommended dose: 5mg
Your body needs this fat-soluble vitamin to help build your baby’s bones and teeth. Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining levels of calcium and phosphorus.

Recommended dose: 200 to 300 mg
Calcium is a crucial nutrient for women. Calcium can help prevent the mother to be from losing her own bone density, as the baby uses calcium for its own bone growth. When a pregnant woman doesn’t get enough calcium from her diet, the body takes the calcium from her bones to give it to her growing baby.

Vitamin C:
Recommended dose: 50 mg
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects the tissues of your body from damage. It also helps your body absorb iron; promotes healthy gums, teeth and bones; and helps build a strong and healthy immune system.

Recommended dose: 15 mg
Zinc is necessary for the functioning of many different enzymes, which means it plays a role in a great number of bodily activities.

Recommended dose: 30 to 40 mg
Iron is essential for the manufacture of red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body.
Helping both the mother and the baby’s blood carry oxygen, iron will also help prevent anemia during pregnancy.

Vitamin B-6:
Recommended dose: 2 mg
Used for treating pregnancy-related nausea.

Recommended dose: 300mg
Omega-3s have been found to be essential for both neurological and early visual development of the baby.

Prenatal products to choose from:
These are stocked in most pharmacies around South Africa

1. Mum omega:
Mumomega is a unique supplement combining specific omega-3 and omega-6 long-chain fatty acids that are important before, during and after pregnancy for both mother and baby.


2. Centrum Materna DHA:
Centrum Materna DHA is scientifically formulated for women planning pregnancy, during pregnancy and during the breastfeeding period. It is a combination pack of a Centrum Materna multivitamin and mineral tablet and a soft gelatine fish oil capsule.


3. Centrum Materna:
Centrum Maternahas been specially formulated for women before, during and after pregnancy. Centrum Materna is a complete daily multivitamin with balanced nutrients to help support the nutritional needs of mothers before conception, during pregnancy and during lactation.


4. Caltrate plus:
Calcium is also important for women during pregnancy and lactation. The average calcium demand of a developing foetus is 30 g at the time of birth. 80 % of this calcium is acquired during the third trimester. Take this together with a multivitamin.


5. Chela preg:
Chela-Preg is a complete multi-vitamin and mineral supplement specifically formulated for pregnant women. Chela-Preg contains all the essential supplements such as iron, calcium and folic acid, as well as the necessary vitamins for a healthy mother and baby.

6. Vital Pregnant Woman:
The need for optimum nutrition is dramatically increased during pregnancy and breast-feeding for both mother and developing baby. Vital Pregnant Women + is a comprehensive multivitamin and -mineral formulation, expertly formulated to meet your increased needs during this time.