Why I Took Prenatal Vitamins Before, During and After Pregnancy
March 15, 2019
This post was sponsored by Avion Pharmaceuticals and should not be construed to constitute medical advice. Meisha’s personal story and opinions are her own. She is not a medical professional and is not qualified to give medical advice. Please talk with your doctor about your individual medical situation.
Prenate® Vitamin Family is teaming up with Miesha Tate to help bring awareness to the importance of healthy habits before, during and after pregnancy. Miesha, a women’s MMA and UFC champion, and Prenate® are working together to offer insight and advice to women on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, being mentally strong, focusing on nutrition and setting achievable life goals during the transition to motherhood. In this edition, Miesha offers her insights into the importance of prenatal vitamins before and during pregnancy and in the postpartum months.
When I started my pregnancy journey I approached it like most other things in my life – to be the best. To do that, I had to soak up as much knowledge as possible to give my daughter every advantage possible. I started reading every day to learn what I needed to do to make sure that she’s super healthy and everything is top notch.
As a professional athlete, diet and nutrition are a big part of my life. For a time I was very meticulous about counting calories and tracking protein intake. But over time and through trial and error, I’ve learned to eat a balanced, healthy diet and to eat in moderation. I’ve been doing it for so long at this point that making better food choices is somewhat second nature. But when I was planning for pregnancy and throughout my pregnancy, I learned a lot about nutrients that are critical for my baby. My motivation for eating healthy took on a whole new meaning.
Prenatal Vitamins Support My Nutritional Goals
There are growth and development milestones that babies should achieve in each trimester. Through talks with my doctor and my own research I learned more about my daughter’s development at each stage. I also learned how I could adjust my diet to give her more of what she needed, whether it was calcium, iron or fatty acids. It was important for me to stay on top of that to give her every advantage. The way I looked at it is she’s being built for the first time and this is her baseline. So I’ve got to try and give her everything I can nutritionally.
But I wasn’t always able to reach the recommended daily amounts of nutrients with my diet alone. I learned that a prenatal vitamin taken before and during pregnancy can reduce the risks of birth defects and support a healthy pregnancy.1-3 I learned that prenatal vitamins are not only important before and during pregnancy, but they may also be beneficial after pregnancy.
Prenatal Vitamins to Support Breastfeeding
After nine months and a 67-hour labor, I gave birth to my daughter. But even though my pregnancy was over I didn’t stop taking my prenatal vitamins. I decided to continue my prenatal vitamins postpartum. I figured that a lot of the nutritional needs that my body had during pregnancy are still important to me postpartum.
I’m breastfeeding, and I’m sustaining the life that I created. So it makes sense to me to continue prenatal vitamins. My doctors agreed and recommended that I keep taking them daily. It was good to have that abundance of nutrients because breastfeeding takes a toll on your body.
Nutrients I Look For In a Prenatal Vitamin
I knew that folic acid was a major nutrient that is very important for the baby’s development during the first few weeks of pregnancy. In fact, it’s one of the most essential nutrients women can take to protect the health of the baby, lessening the risk of neural tube defects.3-6 I eat a lot of greens, so I get a good amount of folic acid from my diet. But I also made sure my prenatal vitamin contained folic acid.
Because I’m breastfeeding and producing milk for my daughter I want to make sure that I’m getting enough calcium. Right now I’m not getting a lot of calcium from my diet alone. I’ve cut out orange juice (which is often fortified with calcium) and milk because it seems to cause problems for my daughter. So that makes it even more important for my prenatal vitamin to contain calcium.
This is one of those nutrients that women need more of during pregnancy.7 My blood volume nearly doubled to support the needs of pregnancy. Plus, iron played a role in my daughters’ blood health and development.
I really focused on DHA during the third trimester and postpartum. It’s important for brain development, good body fat and immune development.8-11 I incorporate DHA-rich foods into my diet, like avocados and salmon. But I also look for a prenatal vitamin with DHA so help supplement my diet.
Iodine is an important nutrient for proper thyroid function. I have had an issue with hypothyroidism, where my thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. If my thyroid isn’t producing those hormones correctly, my body cannot provide them for my daughter. If I wasn’t diligent about my iodine intake and regulating my thyroid, it’s possible my daughter might have issues with thyroid function too.
I’m also making sure that I’m taking probiotics. I don’t think people realize how important gut bacteria is to the rest of their overall health. Probiotics may help keep your gut health in balance. For me, personally I’ve found that my energy levels and alertness are affected when my gut microbiome gets out of whack.
About Miesha Tate
Miesha Tate is an American mixed martial arts pundit and former mixed martial artist who competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and is a former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Miesha is an accomplished athlete but is also laser-focused on the empowerment of women to reach personal goals and develop life skills for healthy living. She is very involved in staying fit through exercise and proper nutrition, especially before, during and after her pregnancy. Miesha welcomed her first child, a baby girl, in July.
About Prenate® Vitamin Family
Prenate® Vitamin Family offers a line of prescription prenatal vitamins that offer nutritional support customized for the particular needs of every stage of pregnancy. Prenate® Vitamin Family incorporates USP pharmaceutical grade ingredients that provide patients the quality and purity important for prenatal nutritional support. With small prenatal vitamins ideal for preconception, to robust prenatal vitamins with advanced nutritional content, Prenate® offers something for everyone. Ask your doctor if a Prenate® prescription prenatal vitamin is right for you.