Prenatal Vitamins or Lack Thereof

5 Weeks 0 Days

I’ve decided not to take prenatal vitamins.

I’m not crazy. I’m not purposely putting my baby at risk. I just decided they’re not for me.

I eat a healthy, well-rounded diet. Yeah, I sometimes over-indulge on sugar, but it’s on top of eating healthy things rather than replacing the good for me stuff. I drink green smoothies daily. I eat an apple a day (to keep the doctor away?). I feel that I get the majority of my vitamins that I need without help of a supplement.

Personally, I’ve never really been into supplements. I don’t see why I should take a pill every day to make up for not eating right. I’m reading a book called The Natural Pregnancy Book and thus far I’m really liking it. It stresses that you should be getting the nutrients you need from food rather than supplements and that’s definitely the approach I’m taking. Especially since that pill is synthetic, so I doubt my body absorbs it as well as real food. Really, when did we get to the point where we had to make up for not eating real food? Makes me sad for our country.

Here’s a break down of the essential nutrients that a woman needs during pregnancy and how much (according to this Baby Center chart and which ones they say I should supplement) and how I compensate for the nutrients:

Folic Acid. Pregnant woman needs 600 mcg per day. Sadly, my spinach intake only covers about 1/10 of what I need folate-wise. I also eat other leafy greens high in folate and beans which are too, but I don’t think I’m getting enough for a pregnant woman (though probably enough for a non-pregnant woman). I’ll discuss this further below.  Also nuts are high in folate, but I can’t eat those anymore because of Peanut’s allergy.

Iron. Pregnant woman needs 27 mg per day. I’m not a huge meat eater, but my husband is. That means that pretty much every meal I cook has a good amount of iron in it–especially since he likes red meat. I also eat at least 3-4 cups of spinach a day in my smoothie in the morning (which is about 1/3 of my needed amount by itself) and I love beans. I think I’m pretty iron-riffic.

Vitamin D. Pregnant women need 5 mcg. Guess what, I go outside. What a thought! 😛 I also eat other things fortified with it like orange juice and milk (mmmm….), but I’m certain I’m getting enough of this one.

Even if you extend this list to all the things listed in my pregnancy book I’m reading (though their chart is old), I’m still good. Vitamin A I need 6000 IU as a nursing mom (only 5000 IU as non-nursing pregnant mom) which I easily get just from my smoothies. B12 is easily covered by meat. So on and so forth. If anything, I’d say that it’s bad for me to take a prenatal vitamin because I’d be getting too much of some of the nutrients that aren’t water soluble and therefore can hurt me.

That said, I am still taking a supplement. I want to make sure I’m getting enough folate so I found a vitamin that has just that and other B vitamins. B vitamins are water soluble, so there isn’t any harm in getting too much. It’s just two tablets that I can either stick under my tongue and they dissolve (thanks @ToniRaquel for the suggestion!) so if I start vomiting, I’ll still get them down. Hopefully that doesn’t happen, but the fact that I feel nauseous most mornings doesn’t exactly seem like a sign in my favor. I’ll continue to take them until I’m beyond the 10 week mark (probably just until they run out) because that’s when all the biggest development stuff is happening. Beyond that, I’ll probably be supplement-free. I’ll let you know when the time comes.

I’m now 5 weeks and 1 day along. Still feeling incredibly tired and semi-irritable. I think I’m getting a handle on each of these things though just by getting used to them. It’s sad that I’m not getting as much quality time with my husband, but we just try to make my pre-tiredness time really count. I’m also more able to “step back” from the situation when I’m freaking out about something regarding Peanut and realize that it’s not her fault I’m so upset. Just acknowledging these things seems to help.

I’m also so bloated I look like I’m 4 months pregnant (see photo above). Seriously. Not. Cool. I’ve heard from other moms that it’s pretty normal in second + pregnancies, but it still makes me sad. When I told the neighbors my due date they looked at my belly like I was lying to them. Oh well. I’m sure it doesn’t help that I’ve always had a bit of what I call a “donut belly,” but I’ve decided to just not care. Out with the feeling fat and in with the loving my pregnant body. I don’t care if my baby is the size of a poppy seed (like it is now according to my books) or a bowling ball, I’m going to love every minute of it. Or at least most minutes. Until next time!

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3 thoughts on “Prenatal Vitamins or Lack Thereof

  1. This is a *fantastic* post!! I COMPLETELY agree with you! I can’t believe how much flack one can catch for not taking the prenatal vitamins. What a load. As you said, humans have been birthing long before there were such things as ‘vitamins’ and having to rely *gasp* on the food they ate!!

    I’ve read many studies that conclude that there is STILL no proof that vitamins actually work. (That is, that people who take vitamins are healthier than those who don’t.) Hahahah!

    Truly, the one PROVEN thing that works to get your nutrients? GOOD FOOD. (Shocking, I know 😉 I applaud you posting this very brave blog. I know a lot of women who look at you like you’re going to smoke and drink while pregnant, simply because you don’t take prenatals! Poor ladies.

    Awesomeness. Keep up the good work, gal!

    • It is so true that people act like I’m doing something awful by not taking prenatals. My diet would have to be pretty awful (like maybe those people who eat at McDonalds multiple times a week) for me to really need them. It’s just silly.

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