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Christina Chaney, CNM, MSN, is a certified nurse midwife with Lovelace Medical Group. Today she is joining us on the blog “Minute with a Midwife,” answering questions many expectant mothers ask. 

Congratulations! You just found out that you’re pregnant, but you haven’t had your first prenatal appointment yet. What should you do to ensure the best start for your baby and your health? If you are not already taking a prenatal vitamin, it’s time to start.

You may experience nausea, however, in the first trimester taking a prenatal vitamin, especially if you take it in the morning or on an empty stomach, can sometimes make your nausea worse. If you feel too nauseated to take a prenatal vitamin, you can take 800 mcg of folic acid instead. Folic acid is easy on the stomach and it’s the most important vitamin to take during the first trimester to prevent some birth defects, including neural tube defects (openings in the spinal cord). When you are no longer nauseous, you can go back to taking the prenatal vitamin in addition to the folic acid.

When choosing a prenatal vitamin, look for one that contains  docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  DHA is a nutrient that supports baby’s brain development. Many women prefer to take gummy prenatal vitamins and this is fine too.

Along with maintaining a healthy balanced diet, taking daily prenatal vitamins throughout your pregnancy will help ensure sure that you and your baby aregetting the nutrition you need.

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