Pregnancy causes you to gain weight, it’s just one of those things. If you’re not use to these extra pounds, you might accept that over indulging due to cravings put on the pounds but suspect that other factors are at play. Can prenatal vitamins cause weight gain? In this post we find out.
The farmer who tends the ground before the seed is planted is usually the one who produces the best crops.
Something my momma always use to say to us when we were growing up.
Prenatal vitamins help you and baby get off to the healthiest possible start. Some mothers however worry that there could be side effects.
We’re going to discuss why it’s important to take a prenatal vitamin and just when to start taking them. We’re also going to take a look at whether a prenatal vitamin can cause weight gain and what to do if you experience any side effects.
Why Take A Prenatal Vitamin?
When it comes to baby’s health and development, good nutrition is so important. Unable to fend for themselves, your baby depends on you for all of their nutritional needs. So if your diet is lacking in vitamins and minerals, chances are that your baby to is missing out.
This is where a prenatal vitamin comes in.
Prenatal vitamins have been developed to include all the essential nutrients you and baby will need as part of a healthy development. These prenatal supplements are especially important if you have any dietary restrictions that might mean baby misses out on key nutrients.
Other benefits include:
- Fertility Boost. Scientific research has shown that a prenatal vitamin can help increase your chances of falling pregnant.
- Reduced Nausea. Morning sickness can be a real issue for some women. A prenatal vitamin contains B6 which research has shown can help reduce nausea particularly during the first trimester.
- Reduces Risk of Congenital Disibilites. Prenatal vitamins contain folic acid which has been shown to reduce the risk of neural tube defects as your baby develops.
Can’t I Just Take A Multivitamin?
The big difference between standard multivitamins and prenatal vitamins is that they are specially designed for pregnancy. Where a standard multivitamin provides only what YOU need, prenatal supplements contain everything for baby too.
This is super important
During pregnancy, your body will need more and more vitamins and minerals to help support baby’s growth and development. Your body will require a higher amount of everything from iron and calcium to prevent anaemia and support bone development to folic acid which helps prevent neural tube defects.
If you take a look at the back of the packed, you’ll see that most prenatal vitamins also include docosahexaenoic (or DHA) which helps support the development of baby’s nervous system, eyes and brain.
When Should I Start Taking Them?
The latest advice is that you should start taking prenatal supplements three months before you plan to conceive. This loading period helps provide your body with everything it needs to support a baby through the early stages of pregnancy.
Don’t worry if you find yourself pregnant without having taken a prenatal supplement, baby will still get all the benefits as long as you start taking the supplement as soon as possible.
Can Prenatal Vitamins Cause Weight Gain?
Now for the million dollar question, can prenatal vitamins cause weight gain?
No, we’re pleased to report that prenatal vitamins can’t cause weight gain.
During a healthy pregnancy, you can expect to gain up to 35lbs but the good news is that not a single ounce will be due to prenatal vitamin supplements.
What Causes Sudden Weight Gain?
While you can rest easy knowing that prenatal vitamins don’t cause weight gain, if you do find the number on the scales suddenly shooting up at an alarming rate you might want to schedule a visit to your doctor as it could be an early sign of preeclampsia.
Side Effects of Prenatal Vitamins
Read the back of any vitamins and you’ll see that there are some side effects lists, for prenatal these include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Dark stools
- Metallic taste
- Loss of appetite
- Changes to urine colour
The one to particularly take note of is the changes to urine which can often be quite alarming the first time you see your normal straw colour change to bright green or yellow!
The Bottom Line
Prenatal vitamins are advice to help with a healthy pregnancy.
So can prenatal vitamins cause weight gain? Absolutely not. Contrary to what some people believe, at zero calories per pill there’s no way that a prenatal supplement can lead to increases in weight.
Ellen Fetters, is a former Children's and Young People's Nursing Practice with an BSc from the University of Sunderland. After completing her SCPHN - HV she then worked as a Health Visitor within the local community.
In 2017 Ellen left nursing to launch Parenting Click, an online parenting resource aimed at creating happier families through better parenting.
She lives with her husband, beautiful baby girl, and two darling dogs. She spends her free time writing, running and learning how to become a better parent.