When I was a young newlywed and ready to start a family, I knew that I needed to make sure my body was healthy and able to handle the strain of pregnancy. I limited processed foods and sugar in my diet, ate plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and took a multi-vitamin every day. And because I had done some research about pre-natal health, the vitamin I chose was Nestlé Materna, which contains thirteen essential vitamins including 1 mg of folic acid.
I’m not alone in my knowledge of the importance of folic acid during pregnancy. In fact, in the recent Nestlé Materna Pre-natal Poll of Canadian women, 91% of those polled knew pregnant women should take a multi-vitamin containing folic acid. But what many women don’t realize is that they should be taking that multi-vitamin before becoming pregnant as well. About half of all pregnancies are unplanned and often, women don’t know they are pregnant until they’ve missed their first period. But folic acid is especially important in the first four weeks of pregnancy in order to prevent Neural Tube Defects such as spina bifida.
And the benefits of a daily multi-vitamin continue even after giving birth, especially for women that are breastfeeding. Nestlé Materna also provides iron, calcium and vitamin D to ensure that a woman’s body is capable of producing milk for her baby without compromising her own health in the process. As someone that doesn’t eat a lot of meat, getting enough iron is something that’s always been a challenge for me and I tend to bruise quite easily as a result. I still remember how the bruises on my legs faded in mere days once I started taking Nestlé Materna. That was enough evidence for me that it was providing nutrition my body desperately needed!
One of the other findings in the Nestlé Materna Pre-natal Poll was that for many women, simple healthy choices such as taking a multi-vitamin containing folic acid decline after the first baby. In fact, there is a 13% drop in the number of women who take pre-natal vitamins with folic acid when comparing the first pregnancy to third and later pregnancies. I have to admit, I understand how this can happen. After all, with a first pregnancy, a mother has the luxury of focusing completely on her body and the needs of the baby growing inside her. But with future pregnancies, a mother is already caring for a child as well as for herself, and women have a tendency to put their needs last when it comes to caring for their children.
But when something as simple as one small multi-vitamin each day can help prevent serious disorders and ensure a healthy life for your baby, it’s important to find a way to remember to take that vitamin! One of the best ways I’ve found to remember a daily vitamin is to keep the bottle out and visible on the counter. I never seem to take my vitamins when the bottle is hidden away in the cupboard, but when the bottle is visible, remembering is much easier! And if you’re an on-the-go woman that is often out of the house, fill up a pill container and download a pill reminder app to ensure that you always remember to take that vitamin no matter where your day takes you.
When it comes to ensuring that you’re doing the best you can for your body and your baby, taking a daily multi-vitamin like Materna as soon as you start trying for a baby and continuing until you finish breastfeeding is one of the easiest and most effective choices you can make. Women can learn more about the pre-natal and post-natal nutrition at NestléBaby.ca. Remember, Health Canada recommends all women who could become pregnant, as well as those that are pregnant or breastfeeding, take a multi-vitamin containing at least 0.4 mg of folic acid such as Nestlé Materna. So if you’re starting a family, make sure you make a pre-natal vitamin part of your daily routine!