There is a joke that goes something like this:
With your first pregnancy you can’t wait to get into maternity clothes, with your second pregnancy you drag it out as long as possible before using your maternity clothes, and with your third pregnancy your regular clothes already are maternity clothes.
I went through three (relatively) healthy pregnancies and gained weight with each one, between 20 to 40 pounds worth. With that said, the joke turns out to be true; you will gain weight with the joy of pregnancy.
But can your prenatal vitamins have anything to do with it?
More than a few parenting blogs and forums are telling the very impressionable pregnant ladies of the world that their prenatal vitamins made them gain weight.
You may even have a friend who swears this is true. An incredible number of women have gained weight while taking them, so it makes sense to blame the supplements.
Well, the short answer is no!
General multivitamins including prenatal vitamins don’t make you gain weight because they just don’t contain the human body calories or energy providing nutrients necessary to do so.
Vitamins contain minerals and help your body and your baby’s body in other ways. It is true that some people, and surprisingly, also some doctors out there say that you can gain weight from your prenatal vitamins.
While you may very well be gaining weight, this is almost certainly due to some other contributing factor such as the food you’re eating. Or possibly, the healthy growing baby inside.
Prenatal vitamins are very slightly different from women’s multivitamins, containing higher levels of iron and folic acid. They vary slightly from product to product, but generally, they should include the following:
None of these things contain fat or calories. Note that if you have additional needs or deficiencies that your doctor can help diagnose, you may need extra nutrients to those listed above.
Pretty much the worst thing you can do is suddenly stop taking, or not start taking your recommended vitamin supplement just because you’re worried it will make you fat.
Sound medical research shows that you need the nutrients these supplements provide and that you cannot get from food alone. Moreover, some nutrients are more easily absorbed by your body when in their processed form.
Here is a helpful list of things the prenatal vitamins can do:
Ensures you don’t get too much of the things you don’t need, like vitamin A.
Remember, your body really needs a certain amount of healthy fat, especially when you’re growing a small angel inside you. And as it turns out, some particular vitamin deficiencies, such as magnesium, iron and vitamin D can make your baby gain weight!
So you certainly shouldn’t be avoiding fat or vitamins altogether.
What could be causing the confusion in this area is that some experts say these vitamins do help you gain weight, with the qualifier that the weight you gain is a healthy growing baby. Others say that they help you gain weight by helping you build muscle.
Basically, what health professionals recommend is that you should be gaining weight when pregnant, that’s part of what a healthy normal pregnancy is.
Some prenatal vitamins can cause some women to have constipation which can cause water retention and bloating which may make your clothes tighter.
Also, these kinds of vitamins are high in iron. If you have too much iron, your liver may struggle to work properly, which means it may not break down fat as well as it’s supposed to.
Another possible explanation for weight gain is that the prenatal vitamins can increase your appetite, as opposed to a bad morning sickness.
However, there are many women have reported that they have used prenatal vitamins while not pregnant to help with other things, such as weakness in hair and nails, and have reported no weight gain.
Make sure to take your prenatal vitamins as they do not make you gain weight. And even if they did, they are awesome and you have to use them anyway. Your body is doing incredible things, and you should probably let it change a little to do this.
Instead of worrying, there are lots of fun things to enjoy during your pregnancy, such as listening to your baby's heartbeat.
How about you? Have you ever used prenatal vitamins and noticed a significant weight gain? Please let me know by posting below and I would be very happy to reply.
Amy Duncan is the founder of KindMommy, a blog where she's providing helpful information about pregnancy and many useful tips for young parents. Besides writing, Amy loves to cook and travel with her friends and family. You can also find Amy on Twitter (@AmyKindmommy).