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When I fell pregnant with my twin boys I was overwhelmed with information about how to have a “healthy” pregnancy. As a first time mum I was extremely concerned about doing the “right” thing and read up on every piece of information I could find about having a “healthy” pregnancy. Then when I found out I was expecting (identical twins) and my consultant explained how high risk my pregnancy was I was set on being as healthy as I could be so ensured I took all the advice and throughout that pregnancy took Pregnacare. Now I’m expecting child number 3 I have also been taking Pregnacare.
***Pregnacare- What Is it? *** Pregnacare is basically a supplement for pregnant women or women trying to conceive to ensure they get the right vitamins and minerals they need for their body to support the growth of a baby. Pregnacare can also be taken when breast feeding.
The Department of Health advise that all women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant should take a 400mg dose per day of folic acid in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to help ensure normal development in the early development of a baby and to help with the development of a baby’s nervous system and minimise neural tube defects. Pregnacare
Pregnacare has been “expertly developed” and is a formulation of 19 different vitamins and mineral to support the development of an unborn baby. These vitamins include zinc, vitamin D, vitamin E, a low dose of iron and vitamin B12. Pregancare is described to be suitable to take for those trying to conceive as it helps to build up stores of nutrients such as iron, folic acid and zinc. These vitamins are important from as soon as a baby is conceived as they help with cell division and neural tube development.
Obviously pregnancy puts a strain on a woman’s body as not only does she need vitamins and minerals to keep her healthy, she needs vitamins and minerals to support a growing child. Pregnacare includes these in the recommended doses. Although standard folic acid is advised to be taken by midwives during early pregnancy, B Vitamins are important throughout pregnancy which standard folic acid supplement alones do not help with. This helps to produce extra red blood cells for the baby’s new blood supply. Vitamin E is also another nutrient which supports the growth of vital organs which Pregnacare contains the recommended dietary intake of this (4mg).
Women who are breast feeding can also take Pregnacare to ensure they receive the right amount of nutrients each day to pass onto their child via breast milk.
Pregnacare comes in tablet form. This is a reasonably small white tablet to be taken once per day.
Pregnacare is sold by a number of retailers in their health section. This includes Boots, Superdrug, Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and most chemists. You can also purchase online from Amazon and feelunique.com. The price of the Pregnacare tablets varies significantly and you can get two sized packs. Boots sell a 30 pack (enough for one month’s supply for £5.50) and a 90 pack for £14. Amazon appear to be the cheapest as they sell a 30 pack for around £4 and a 90 pack for £8.50 therefore it is a product definitely worth shopping around for as if you are taking for the duration of your pregnancy and beyond it can prove quite expensive. Especially if you compare the price to standard folic acid supplements which are only around £1.50 for three months’ supply.
***My Experience*** -Pregnancy- My first pregnancy was considered “high risk” as I was carrying identical twins (sharing a placenta) so did receive a lot of medical care. My current pregnancy (I’m now 36 weeks with one baby) is “low risk” and although I receive a fair amount of medical attention being “low risk” I would say I’m pretty much left to get on with it. In my first pregnancy I was virtually instructed how I should live for the duration of the pregnancy with regards to eating, resting etc. and looking after myself so when Pregnacare was recommended it was more of an instruction rather than an option. In my current pregnancy my midwife mentioned I might want to take Pregnacare as I have a busy lifestyle and will “get run down quicker” but because I have had a baby (or babies in my case) these types of decisions are just almost assumed knowledge and passing comments.
In both cases I did decide to take Pregnacare although because we were not actively trying for children on both occasions I did not take the supplements pre conception more so from 10 weeks and then 6 weeks in this current pregnancy. One issue that I did have and still do is actually physically taking the tablet. It is recommended that you take one tablet once a day with your main meal and not on an empty stomach as this can lead you to feel nauseous. However as someone when pregnant who suffers “morning sickness” and cannot eat most meals this is quite a challenge. I tended to take with a cup of tea and toast but did feel very sick for around 30 minutes after taking the tablet on a morning and still often do more so than just the all-day sickly feeling I suffer anyway as part of pregnancy.
With my first pregnancy I took Pregnacare all of the way through. Because I was “high risk” I was warned of all of the complications that go with an identical twin pregnancy and scanned fortnightly then weekly to check all was fine with my boys. It was very reassuring to see that I had two healthy babies and throughout these checks there was never any concern that I had problems. I was also told that the strain of growing two babies inside of me could take its toll on me and I was likely to feel very tired and run down. I did have some pregnancy aches and pains but looking back (and comparing to this current pregnancy) I glowed and my skin and hair looked fantastic and I generally had a fair amount of energy and didn’t suffer from bugs or viruses.
During my current pregnancy I took Pregnacare from 6 weeks until around 12 weeks when became unsure of the benefits taking Pregnacare was giving me this time around as I generally felt run down anyway looking after two young toddlers. When I stopped taking the supplements for 8 weeks I must admit I felt a lot more run down and I suffered a lot of colds and 2 stomach bugs which I put down to my lifestyle however when I started taking the Pregnacare tablets again at 20 weeks I since have not suffered a cold. I also have received more comments that I look “well” and during the time I wasn’t taking Pregnacare Mr Lools would often tell me I looked “shattered”.
Pregnancy wise all appears to be healthy with baby number 3 from scans so despite feeling like I am suffering at times; our latest addition appears to be getting everything that he or she needs.
-Post Pregnancy- As I have not yet had my third child I can’t say if taking Pregnacare has helped me to have three healthy children but I do have 2 healthy boys from my first pregnancy who despite having some allergies (which run in the family) they are healthy. In fact despite being told that as they were low birth weight and born before 37 weeks gestation they could be likely to suffer more health problems I genuinely do not think that has been the case in the last two years and seem to pick up less viruses and colds than friends children (who seem to pass on their germs to me rather than my boys!!)
I also took Pregnacare when expressing milk for my boys for 10 weeks. As low birth weight babies (weighing in at under 5lb when born) from a medical perspective feeding was more of a concern and even when my boys were discharged from hospital their feeding patterns were observed and closely checked up on. In addition to the supplements (and a healthy diet) my boys put on weight very well and although they did not catch up fully, in the early few weeks of their life they thrived and were considered “healthy”. I’m sceptical at the benefits of Pregnacare alone in this but I do feel it gave me as a mother peace of mind I was “healthy” and getting the right vitamins rather than being neurotic over ensuring my diet was balanced.
***Overall*** My naivety and sheer lack of knowledge (and fear) in my first pregnancy would have led me to take any supplement if I was told it would give me healthy children, however I definitely think that taking daily helped me have a healthy (yet high risk) pregnancy. In my first pregnancy despite carrying two babies and having constant morning sickness I suffered one cold and when I look back I had very healthy skin and hair and did have a “glow” despite not eating the best of diets (due to my sickness). I was told identical twin pregnancies are at much higher risk of premature labour and my consultant actually prepared me to deliver before 32 weeks earlier if I “did not concentrate on staying healthy” and I managed to get to 36 weeks and have my boys only 4 weeks early so I assume I managed to “stay healthy”. Despite having a few allergies (which run in the family) my boys are perfectly healthy two year olds and were two healthy (yet small) babies.
In this second pregnancy I must admit I was put off by the high price of taking Pregnacare throughout my pregnancy and after the first 12 weeks stopped taking these supplements for a number of weeks. However due to suffering constant colds and feeling run down for 8 weeks I decided to start taking the Pregnacare tablets again for the last 16 weeks and although I’m still feeling tired I haven’t picked up any further viruses and I appear to be having a healthy baby. For someone who has a busy lifestyle I would definitely recommend to take Pregnacare as its one less worry that you are getting everything you need
A product I do not think has miracle like benefits but has definitely allowed me to have two healthy pregnancies and two (hopefully 3) healthy children.