Monday, April 18, 2011

Important Considerations When Choosing A Prenatal Vitamin

For women who are currently pregnant, thinking about pregnancy or are breastfeeding, having a quality prenatal vitamin in your arsenal of daily nutrition is one of the most important things you can do for your baby. There are several good prenatal vitamins on the market, but which one is right for you? Is the prenatal that your OB/GYN or family doctor recommending the best for your baby? Below are some questions you may want to consider when choosing your prenatal vitamin:

Does your prenatal vitamin have artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives?

Artificial colors have been linked to many behavioral issues and other health concerns in children. I see this first hand in my practice. Below are two links from Organic Authority that touch on the subject, as well as the disappointing U.S. decline to adopt a nation wide ban on food dyes; a ban in which many countries in Europe have recently adopted due to claimed adverse effects on children.

FDA Declines to Ban Controversial Foods Dyes in United States

Banned in Europe, Food Coloring Linked to Behavior Problems

Is your prenatal third party tested for safety and purity?

Vitamins, whether prenatal or other, are minimally regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Currently, the FDA does not test for heavy metals, pesticides or allergens and only performs limited testing for bacteria, mold and yeast.

According to Kirkman Group President, David Humphrey, "unless companies do the extensive product testing that Kirkman offers in our 'Ultra Tested' product line, they can't know what toxins may be lurking in their product". Kirkman Group is currently third party lab testing their products for more than 950 environmental contaminants. Kirkman is by no means the only safe company from which to obtain supplementation. However, I recommend conducting research before beginning your prenatal regimen.

Does your prenatal have enough supporting nutrient qualities for your baby?

Make sure your prenatal has adequate levels of folic acid, iron, vitamin D and many other supporting nutrients. For example, some prenatal vitamins are separated into two doses per day, spacing out iron intake, which can aid in constipation prevention.

If you have further questions regarding which prenatal is right for you, consult your licensed health care provider.

Staci Small M.A., R.D.
The Wellness Philosophy Inc.