Prenatal vitamins are essential to support your little one’s development and to keep you healthy before, during and after your pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a time full of excitement and anticipation, however it’s ok if this new season of life feels a little uncertain or daunting, especially if you’ve heard that in addition to morning sickness, there can be unpleasant side effects of prenatal vitamins, like nausea or bloating.
“Morning sickness and nausea from my prenatals?!”
Well, don’t panic just yet, the good news is it doesn’t have to be that way! With a prenatal supplement that is easy on the stomach, you can avoid the queasy feelings and discomfort.
But first, let’s understand how to get the most out of your prenatals and discover why your prenatal vitamins might make you feel sick:
The million dollar question: are your prenatal vitamins causing nausea and sickness, or are those just pregnancy symptoms? It’s hard to distinguish between the two – after all, your body is going through many physical and hormonal changes – but prenatal supplements can cause:
Nausea. One of the most frequently reported side effects of prenatal vitamins, nausea can be caused by a couple of different factors. The most common is the additional iron your body is receiving, which can cause digestive strain (we’ll explain why in just a bit). The size of your prenatal vitamin can also trigger nausea as you try to swallow it and even the smell can upset your stomach.
Bloating. Most prenatal supplements include omega-3, a fatty acid that plays an important role in your baby’s brain and retina development. However, if you’re particularly sensitive to omega-3 or fish oil, this ingredient can cause bloating and gassiness.
Constipation. For many women, prenatal vitamins and constipation come hand in hand. Once again, the iron in the supplement can often be the culprit of this discomfort, as it slows down your digestive tract.
Before we get to the solution to these side effects of prenatal vitamins, it can help to understand why your supplement is making you feel nauseous. Although it can be tricky to pinpoint the exact reason, a few common causes are:
We’ve mentioned iron a few times already and the truth is, although this nutrient is essential for preventing anemia and supporting your baby’s healthy growth, too much of it can easily irritate your stomach.
Finding a vitamin that provides you with the right amount of iron can go a long way in minimising nausea and constipation.
For many women, folic acid is a pre-natal vitamin must-have. However, this ingredient can cause bloating, nausea and loss of appetite. The good news is that these symptoms are often mild and short-lived.
It can take a few tries to find the right prenatal supplement for you, and right now you might just be taking one that is too difficult for your body to absorb.
If you suspect this is the case, it can be worth going through your supplement’s ingredients list with your doctor to check that it includes the nutrient forms your body can handle and avoids as many nasties as possible.
If you are finding that your current prenatal is causing you to feel unwell, there are a few things you can do to stop nausea from affecting your day-to-day:
Reducing the side effects of prenatal vitamins can be as simple as trying a different one.
If you’ve been taking your prenatals in the morning, they may be exacerbating your morning sickness. Instead, try taking them at the time of the day when you typically feel less nauseous.
Taking prenatal vitamins on an empty stomach is a no-no as it can easily make you feel sick. Make sure to always eat beforehand, even if it’s just a quick snack!
If you’ve tried the tips above and nothing seems to be working, it may be time to ask your doctor for recommendations. They’ll be able to give you dietary and lifestyle advice to improve your well-being without giving up on your prenatal vitamins.
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.