In addition to the standard nutrients all people need to stay healthy, women often need extra nutrients, especially during specific times in their life, such as during pregnancy or after menopause.
Dignity Health is a leader in women’s health and education. Whether you are pregnant or menopausal, we offer nutrition counseling on vitamins and supplements in the Sacramento region for women of all ages. For the services you need, Find a Doctor at Dignity Health who can refer you to one of our experienced dieticians.
Times When Women May Need Extra Vitamins & Supplements
While most vitamins and nutrients are included in a healthy diet, there are reasons why a woman may need to take extra vitamins or supplements. These include:
- Menopause: Women are at higher risk than men of developing osteoporosis, particularly after menopause. Calcium and vitamin D help build bone strength, and you can get both through your diet (exposure to sunlight also provides natural vitamin D). However, some women still do not get enough of these nutrients and may need to take supplements. Your doctor at Dignity Health can recommend an appropriate calcium supplement, which may also contain vitamin D.
- Before pregnancy: Our doctors recommend women take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Because the fetus is most at risk during the earliest weeks of pregnancy (before a woman may even know she’s pregnant), and half of all pregnancies in the US are unplanned, experts recommend at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily for all women who might become pregnant. You should not attempt to get this daily dose of folic acid by taking several daily multivitamins because it is easy to overdose on other vitamins found in the multivitamin. Instead, take a separate folic acid supplement.
- Pregnancy: Many obstetricians recommend prenatal vitamins for pregnant women. This is to ensure that both mother and unborn baby receive adequate and well-rounded nutrition throughout the pregnancy. Mothers who are not able to eat well, such as those who are experiencing severe morning sickness, may be given extra vitamins and supplements during that period.
How to Add Vitamins & Supplements to Your Diet
A healthy diet, as recommended by the US government Choose My Plate campaign, generally provides women with adequate amounts of the recommended vitamins and nutrients. If you are concerned about your health and your nutrition, speak with a Dignity Health doctor about your diet and what you feel may be missing. You can ask for a referral to a dietitian, who can assess your food intake, determine your nutritional needs, and offer suggestions on how to meet them. At Dignity Health’s Sacramento hospitals, registered dietitians provide expert nutrition counseling for women, including education on vitamins and supplements, in Sacramento, CA and the surrounding areas.