Prenatal Development, Nutrition and Vitamins Choices

Taking Good Care from the Very Beginning

When it comes to caring for yourself during your pregnancy, a good regimen is essential to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Prenatal care can be defined as the medical and nursing care given before and during pregnancy that is aimed at preventing problems during pregnancy. This is accomplished, in part, by professional recommendations for diet, exercise, vitamin intake and to refer a woman to appropriate caregivers if necessary.

Prenatal Development

Prenatal development refers to the stages of growth of the baby from the germinal stage, which occurs at conception, through the fetal stage, which begins at the end of the embryonic stage and carries on throughout the balance of the pregnancy. During the various stages of prenatal development, it is vitally important to ensure proper nutrition and vitamin choices are made so the baby stands the best of all possible chances at a healthy beginning.

During the germinal stage that begins with conception when the egg and sperm connect in one of the fallopian tubes, the new creation is busy with cell division at a very rapid rate. The cells become a blastocyst which is made up of three layers - the ectoderm, which will become the skin and nervous system, the endoderm, which will become the digestive and respiratory systems, and the mesoderm, which will become the muscles and skeletal systems. When the blastocyst completes the trip from the fallopian tube to the uterus, it implants there and continues to grow. So, from the very outset, even before a woman actually knows she's pregnant, the baby's life is developing and changing.

That's why it is so important that a woman begin serious care and prenatal preparation before she even conceives. Folic acid and prenatal vitamins should be introduced before conception in order to circumvent neural tube defects like spina bifida - which can occur in those very early days of cell multiplication. During the embryonic stage that begins after implantation, the umbilical cord and placenta develop. These are the nutritional support systems and need to be healthy to ensure the baby gets all that is necessary to healthy development. During the embryonic stage the eyes, mouth, fingers, and ears become visible and the outlines of the organs, body and nervous system is established.

During the fetal stage the balance of the growing and development continues until birth. Prenatal pills make a difference in how well the growth unfolds. Without the additional nutritional assistance of prenatal vitamins, a woman's body would become very depleted. The baby will take what is necessary for its growth, but if there is a lack in the mother's system, then both mother and baby are shortchanged.

A Healthy Diet is Good, But It's Not Enough

No matter how well you think you eat, it is likely you're not getting enough of certain necessary vitamins and nutrients. A high quality prenatal vitamin is great, but it isn't always enough. Women who are prenatal and perinatal (have had their baby and are nursing) need more nutritional support than even a high quality vitamin can provide. Not only should the vitamin contain folic acid, calcium and iron (the recommendations of the FDA), but they should also contain DHA, which support fetal eye and brain development, as well as the other three. On top of that, high quality nutrients include CoQ10, to reduce the risk of preeclampsia, choline, to boost cognitive function and improve learning and memory, inositol, to reduce the risk of neural tube defects, and probiotics, which may reduce the chance of miscarriage by 50%.

And the Winner Is...

While there are many brands of prenatal vitamins on the market, only a handful pass the test of being top ranking. The three top brands of prenatal vitamins available in 2010, based upon expert and consumer reviews, are: Trimedisyn (1st), Prenatalgyn (2nd) and Twinlabs Prenatal Care (3rd).

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