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Friday, May 21, 2010

Prenatal vitamins: Give your baby the best start Part 2

When should I start taking prenatal vitamins?
It's best to start taking prenatal vitamins three months before conception. The baby's neural tube, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, develops during the first month of pregnancy — perhaps before you even know that you're pregnant.

How long should I take prenatal vitamins?
It's best to take prenatal vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy, preferably with water or juice — not milk or soda. Your health care provider may recommend taking prenatal vitamins while you're breast-feeding, too.

Do prenatal vitamins have any side effects?

Some women feel queasy after taking prenatal vitamins. In other cases, the iron in prenatal vitamins contributes to constipation.

If prenatal vitamins seem to trigger nausea:

* Take your prenatal vitamin at night
* Take your prenatal vitamin with a snack
* Chew gum or suck on hard candy after taking your prenatal vitamin

If you're struggling with constipation:

* Drink plenty of water
* Include more fiber in your diet
* Include physical activity in your daily routine, as long as you have your health care provider's OK
* Ask your health care provider about using a stool softener

If these tips don't seem to help, ask your health care provider about other options. He or she may recommend another type of prenatal vitamin or separate folic acid, calcium and iron supplements.

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