As an expectant mother, you want to make sure both you and your growing baby are getting all the nutrients you need. This means taking a prenatal vitamin to supply important elements like folic acid, calcium, and iron. However, some women notice the numbers on the scale steadily rising and worry their prenatals are packing on unwanted pounds. Rest assured, prenatal vitamins themselves do not cause weight gain in pregnancy.
The mistaken belief comes from the fact that women do tend to gain weight when expecting. The average pregnant woman gains between 25-35 pounds to support fetal development. Much of this comes from increased blood volume as well as breast, uterine, and placental tissue. Your body is working hard to nurture a baby and requires more energy and circulatory capacity. Plus a bit of fat storage helps prepare for breastfeeding.
All this necessary weight gain is driven by hormonal shifts, not nutritional supplements. Progesterone relaxes muscles and ligaments to make room for the uterus and baby. Estrogen instructs the body to store fat for upcoming lactation. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) tells the ovaries to produce more estrogen and progesterone. These hormones signal the changes, not the added nutrients.
In fact, prenatals provide the key building blocks to construct vital organs and tissues. The folate, iron, calcium, and other vitamins ensure your baby develops properly. Skimping on these could negatively impact fetal growth rather than maternal pounds. Only in rare cases do prescription prenatals with higher than standard ingredients potentially contribute extra calories.
So rest assured, your routine prenatal vitamin is not what’s tipping the scales. Stick closely to your doctor’s recommended diet, exercise routine, and weight gain schedule instead. This ensures you stay on track and get the supplements your baby needs with no unnecessary extra pounds from your prenatal.