Are the benefits of prenatal vitamins actually real or can they be just the opposite and be dangerous?
The answer to this question is really quite simple; they are not only needed, they are critical for several reason.
The only real danger in this question is if you do not supplement your body during this miracle process, it can be dangerous not only to you, but to the fetus that is growing inside of you.
In fact, the earlier that you do take them, the more both of you will be protected.
In fully understanding the benefits of prenatal vitamins, it is very helpful to understand the various stages of prenatal development.
The actual length of time for this miraculous process is considered to be 38 weeks from the date of conception to the date of delivery.
It is during this time frame that a single celled zygote develops in a series of stages.
A zygote is the initial cell that is formed when two gametes cells are joined through the means of sexual reproduction.
There are three primary stages in this process; the germinal stage, the embryonic stage, and the third period which is the fetal stage and prenatal vitamins can help in each one of these periods.
The germinal stage occurs as the result of the female egg, or the ovum, being fertilized by a male sperm.
In most all cases and if everything is normal, a single egg will be released roughly once a month from the female’s ovary during ovulation.
Once this occurs, the egg will travel through her fallopian tube toward the uterus.
However, for the actual process of fertilization to occur, the sperm that is introduced must have made its way from the vagina into the uterus, where it then must make its way into the fallopian tube.
This process can occur for as long as eight to ten hours after the introduction of the sperm.
If all of this happens perfectly, a sperm cell must then bind successfully with a series of chemical reactions that will in turn allow the sperm to penetrate and enter the ovum’s membrane.
The egg and the sperm will then begin to form the single cell that is referred to as the zygote, where it will begin to divide very rapidly.
If this process and the steps that follow it also work perfectly, implantation starts and the second stage begins.
In the second stage, referred to as the embryonic stage, the benefits of prenatal vitamins begin to emerge as several major events will occur.
Once this stage begins, the cells are dividing very rapidly and they also begin to preform different functions, which are referred to as differentiation.
In week 3 of this stage, the brain starts to develop as well as the heart, blood cells, and the circulatory system.
The spinal cord and digestive system also start to form during this time frame.
In week 4, the development of bones begins, facial structures start to develop, and the arms and legs will form as buds and this process is helped by liquid prenatal vitamins.
The embryo’s heart also begins to beat in this week and the brain and tissues begin to form.
In week 5 of this stage, the eyes start to develop as well as the nose, lungs and kidneys and the heart starts to form valves.
In week 6 as this miracle continues to advance, the hands and feet start to form, and in week 7, hair follicles develop as well as eye lids and sex organs.
This week is also the first time that urine will develop in the kidney and brain waves start to send signals.
In week 8 of the embryonic stage, the internal organs and facial features are becoming a lot more distinct.
By now the brain waves are causing movement in the embryo which is now referred to as the fetus and the final stage begins; the fetal stage.
The benefits of prenatal vitamins are huge in the first two stages, but in this stage they are absolutely critical as this is the where the most dramatic development occurs.
In weeks 9 through 12 external features such as the face, the neck and the limbs are forming rapidly and the teeth are now developing.
In weeks 13-15, the fetus is now about 6 inches long and the bones are developing even further as well as all of the organs.
In weeks 16-20 the fetus grows another 2 inches and the skin is starting to develop rapidly as it lanugo is covering it and fat begins to form for the first time under the skin.
It is in this week that you may also begin to feel movement.
In weeks 21-24 air sacs are developing, the lungs are expanding, and your fetus’s reflexes develop.
In weeks 25-28 the growth is now about 15 inches, and the brain and nervous system are rapidly advancing.
Your fetus is also now able to breathe slightly on their own for the first time.
In weeks 29-32 the fetus is about 17 inches long and will weigh about 4 pounds, fat deposits are growing, and the bones are rapidly developing but still not hard.
In weeks 33-36 the lanugo disappears from the skin and the fetus now has a lot of control over body functions.
In weeks 36-38, if everything is normal, all organs are now fully operational and the miracle of birth occurs.
The benefits of prenatal vitamins are numerous not only to the growing miracle inside of the mother, but to the mother as well. However, how you eat will also play a big role.
It is extremely important to eat correctly during pregnancy, but it is also critical to supplement both your body as well as your baby’s body.
Because of this you want to choose the highest quality multi-vitamin you can find.
Folic acid is perhaps the most critical of all the vitamins, but there are also several other very important ones as well.
Folic acid leads the list in the benefits of prenatal vitamins as this nutrient helps to reduce the chances of any type of a serious birth defect in the brain or spinal column, which is called the neural tube.
It protects this tube from any exposure to nerve damage and it also aids in both cell formation as well as DNA synthesis.
If your fetus is not protected by this vitamin, all three of these functions can be compromised.
Calcium not only helps to protect your bone density, it also helps your baby to develop strong bones as well as teeth.
Thiamin or vitamin B1 is next on the list of the benefits of prenatal vitamins as it helps to produce healthy nerve cells in the fetus.
It also helps to maximize the energy in these cells which is critical in all stages.
Riboflavin, which is vitamin B2, assists with not only the production of the red blood cells, but also their growth.
It also helps with the fetus’s metabolism at both the second and third stages.
The benefits of prenatal vitamins continues with Niacin, vitamin B3, as it helps to assure that the growth as well as the weight is normal in all stages.
It is especially important in the head growth and configuration.
Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is crucial for nerve as well as blood development, and it also assists with the metabolism of protein making it yet another of the benefits of prenatal vitamins.
This vitamin also helps you to avoid morning sickness if taken in the very early stages.
Vitamin B12 helps to protect against anemia in both the mother and the fetus as it helps with proper nerve control as well as red blood cells formations and functions.
Next on the list of the benefits of prenatal vitamins is vitamin A and it is the most effective if taken in the mixed carotene form and helps with the skin, the eyes, as well as the immune system.
The benefits of prenatal vitamins do not end here as vitamin C helps with the nerves developing properly, connective tissues, as well as the gum and tooth formation.
Vitamin K helps with the bones and is also critical in preventing blood clots, and Iron helps with the growth of red blood cells.
Magnesium helps you to prevent leg cramping as well as preventing headaches.
However, the most important facts about the benefits
of prenatal vitamins is that they help both of you at the same time and
will pay dividends for the rest of your lives.