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The Importance of Prenatal Vitamins in the Last Trimester

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You've made it through the first 28 weeks of pregnancy and now you're in the homestretch. Even though you have two-thirds of your pregnancy under behind you, your baby is still going through a major growth spurt and is developing fully functional organs. During the last trimester, prenatal vitamins provide you the extra nutrients that your baby needs for her final burst of maturation.

Vitamin D and Teeth

A Canadian study published in 2014 shows a link between second-trimester and the early third-trimester vitamin D levels and tooth decay in toddlers, according to Fox News. At 16 months of age, toddlers of women who had low vitamin D levels had more cavities than those of women who had levels in the normal range. Fox reported that according to William B. Grant of Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center, taking prenatal vitamin D can also reduce the likelihood of having gestational diabetes, premature delivery and pre-eclampsia in the mother.

Continue With Calcium

Like vitamin D, calcium is necessary to help your baby build healthy teeth and bones, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It notes that pregnant women under age 18 should take at least 1,300 milligrams per day and those 19 and older should take 1,000 milligrams. An adequate amount of calcium is especially important during the third trimester, when formation of your baby's bones is nearing completion and he is growing from roughly 15 inches in length to between 19 and 21 inches long.

RELATED: Prenatal Vitamins and Minerals

Iron Needs

Your iron needs will gradually rise during the course of your pregnancy, according to a study published in 2000 in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." After the first trimester, your body's ability to absorb iron increases progressively, causing a higher intake need, explained the study's author, Thomas H. Bothwell of South Africa's University of Witwatersrand Medical School. Iron is necessary during pregnancy to help your blood carry an adequate amount of oxygen for both you and your baby and to boost your resistance to stress and infection.

Folic Acid

While the neural tube defects that folic acid can help to prevent typically occur three to four weeks after conception, continuing on with a folate supplement can help to prevent a rise in homocysteine levels later in pregnancy. Homocysteine levels rise in late pregnancy. Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure, according to the "American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology."

RELATED: What is a Healthy Prenatal Diet?

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