Pregnancy and vitamin supplements

Pregnancy is an exciting and special time in a woman’s life. Navigating all the dos and don’ts of pregnancy can be overwhelming, as every mum wants to give their baby the best possible start in life. With this in mind we’ve put together some of the most common questions new mums‐to‐be have.

When should I start taking a prenatal vitamin supplement?

A good diet is always important for optimal health, but this is especially the case during pregnancy. A pregnancy vitamin supplement will help ensure your baby has everything it needs to develop properly, including folic acid, iron and calcium.1 Ideally you should start taking a pregnancy vitamin as soon as you start trying to conceive a baby. This is because the baby’s neural tube, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, develops in the first month of pregnancy before you may even know that you’re pregnant. The folic acid in pregnancy vitamins helps to prevent neural tube defects. It’s important to keep taking your pregnancy supplement throughout your pregnancy. Your doctor may even recommend that you continue taking it after birth, especially if you’re breastfeeding.2

Should I stop using complementary or alternative therapies during pregnancy?

Complementary or alternative therapies and medicines include a wide range of treatments such as herbal and homeopathic medicines, acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage, reflexology and chiropractic treatments. It is advised that you should always avoid unnecessary treatments and medicines while you’re pregnant. If you are considering using a complementary therapy, make sure you speak to a qualified healthcare practitioner to find out if it’s considered suitable in pregnancy.3 If you are already using a natural medicine product before finding out about your pregnancy, find out if it’s OK to carry on taking it, or stop straight away.

How soon should I see my doctor?

It’s a good idea to book an appointment with your doctor as soon as you suspect you’re pregnant or have had a positive home pregnancy test. He or she will be able to confirm the pregnancy, determine your due date and refer you to an obstetrician. Your first doctor’s visit will also give you an opportunity to ask questions and learn about specific recommendations around weight gain, exercise and a proper diet in pregnancy. Your doctor will also order routine blood tests to check your health status and any pregnancy risk factors you may have.4