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Benefits Of Taking Prenatal Vitamins Before Pregnancy

Benefits Of Taking Prenatals Before Ttc

The Importance of Prenatal Vitamins

Not trying to conceive right now, but definitely have babies on your bucket list? Learn the benefits of taking prenatals before even trying to get pregnant.

By OBGYN and fertility expert Dr. Kenosha Gleaton

Prenatal nutrition has a significant impact on your overall pregnancy and health outcomes for both you and your baby. A prenatal vitamin is a dietary supplement that includes the key ingredients and essential vitaminsyou need to enhance your health. So, if you’re starting to get the slightest case of baby fever, it’s time to evaluate your diet and pre-pregnancy routine.

How Prenatal Vitamins Differ From Multivitamins

It is often joked that pregnancy is a time of eating for two or three or however many youre pregnant with. But in reality, nutritional needs do not double. A womans calorie requirements only go up by a few hundred, and nutritional demands, similarly, do not double or triple.

However, the need for certain key nutrients does become significantly more important during the months before conception and throughout the pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins differ from most standard multivitamin formulations in that they have more of certain vitamins and minerals, including:

Folate: One of the most critical nutrients for pre-pregnancy and the first trimester, folate is essential for preventing neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. The RDA for non-pregnant people is 400 mcg DFE, while the RDA for pregnancy is 600 mcg DFE. Most prenatal vitamins have higher levels of this B vitamin than standard multivitamins do. Seeking Healths Optimal Prenatal formulation provides 800 micrograms of methylated folate, or the activated form, because this nutrient is so essential and not all women absorb it efficiently. By providing more than the RDA, the hope is that your body will be supported in optimal levels.*

Calcium: While the RDA does not increase for pregnant women, often prenatal vitamins have slightly more calcium than standard multivitamin formulations. Seeking Healths Optimal Multivitamin contains 210 milligrams of calcium, whereas Optimal Prenatal has 400 milligrams.

When You Decide To Try For A Pregnancy

Ready to start a family? In addition to scheduling a well visit with your gynecologist, quitting birth control, and cutting out unhealthy behaviors like smoking, you should start taking prenatal vitamins.

You wont be able to predict how long it will take you to get pregnant it could be weeks or months and you wont know youve been successful until a few weeks after conception. Prenatal vitamins are an important part of preconception care.

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Six Reasons To Take Prenatal Vitamins Before You Get Pregnant

Pregnancy is a unique stage in a womans life, and her nutritional needs during this time are different than at any other time. Not only do pregnant women need enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to support their own health, they also must take in enough nutrients to support their developing babies. However, the time to start taking prenatal vitamins is actually before you get pregnant, and regardless of pregnancy status, women can benefit from taking prenatal vitamins because of the following reasons:

  • You can get pregnant at any time. The most critical reason to take prenatal vitamins when youre not pregnant is because if you are in your childbearing years and are able to conceive, you can theoretically get pregnant at any time, even when taking birth control. After all, the only form of birth control that is 100 percent effective besides abstinence is a hysterectomy, which means there is always a chance of pregnancy. Most women do not find out they are pregnant until at least four weeks into the pregnancy, at which point the babys development would already have been impacted by any nutritional deficiencies.
  • How Are Prenatal Vitamins Different From Traditional Multivitamins

    Pin on Pregnancy Supplementation

    Lots of different prenatal vitamin types are available on the market. While theres not a specific formulation for all prenatal vitamins, youll likely find that prenatal vitamins contain at least these key nutrients:

    Calcium. According to the Mayo Clinic, pregnant and adult women need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. Prenatal vitamins typically have between 200 and 300 mg of calcium. This contributes to a womans calcium requirements but doesnt account for all of her daily calcium needs. Calcium is important for all women because it keeps their bones strong.

    Folic acid. Taking in enough folic acid is linked with reducing neural tube defects like spina bifida. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women take in 600 micrograms of folic acid every day from all sources. Since it may be difficult to get this much folic acid from foods alone, a supplement is recommended.

    Foods that have folic acid include beans, leafy green vegetables, asparagus, and broccoli. Many fortified foods including cereal, bread, and pasta have folate too.

    Iron. This mineral is necessary to create new red blood cells in the body. Because a woman increases her blood volume during pregnancy, iron is a must-have. According to the Mayo Clinic, pregnant women need 27 mg of iron a day. This is 8 mg more than women who arent pregnant.

    Prenatal vitamins often contain other vitamins and minerals. These could include:

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    What Is The Difference Between Prenatal Vitamins And Regular Vitamins

    Though prenatal vitamins and regular vitamins work the same way to provide your body with micronutrients that it may be lacking there are some key differences between the two, specifically when it comes to ingredients. For example, as an article on explains, there is a specific amount of folic acid and iron that pregnant people are supposed to have in their diet. A prenatal vitamin ensures that those exact levels are met, whereas a regular multivitamin might have some amount of folic acid or iron, but necessarily enough to meet the threshold recommended for pregnant people.

    As always, it’s important that you consult a health care provider or family physician prior to taking any over-the-counter medication or starting a vitamin regimen. After all, what works for one body does not work for all. But if you do have lingering questions about taking prenatal vitamins when you’re not pregnant, here’s what you need to know:

    Prenatal vitamins may help your skin and nails, but its likely that any type of vitamin with the same nutrients would be just as beneficial.

    Kipping says that more than 90 percent of women arent meeting their choline needs, and 50 percent are critically deficient in vitamin D. Since fetal organs start to develop in the first couple months of pregnancy, often before some women even realize theyre pregnant, its important to give your body the nutrition it needs ahead of time.

    Are There Any Side Effects Of Taking Prenatals While Not Pregnant

    Generally speaking, the vitamins and nutrients included in prenatals wont cause detrimental side effects if they did, pregnant women wouldnt be encouraged to take them!

    That said, prenatal vitamins do contain levels of nutrients specific to pregnant women, meaning they arent always the best choice for nonpregnant people on a long-term basis.

    Your iron needs, for example, increase from 18 milligrams to 27 milligrams during pregnancy. While the short-term side effects of too much iron include mild GI upsets like constipation and nausea, over time that excess of nutrients could become more problematic.

    Bottom line? If youre not pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you can hold off on prenatals until you really need them .

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    Why Take Them Before Youre Even Pregnant

    Heres the deal: Pregnancy takes a lot of you. Your cute little fetus is actually a major drain on your bodys natural resources, which is why you spend so much time in those 9 months feeling nauseated, exhausted, achy, crampy, moody, weepy, and forgetful.

    Your baby gets all the nutrients it needs directly from you, so its easy to become deficient in important vitamins and minerals during pregnancy. Making sure your body has what it needs to nourish both of you is much easier if you get started before baby is in the picture.

    Think of it like building up a reserve: If you have more than enough of the vitamins and nutrients you need to thrive, then you can afford to share those vitamins and nutrients with your baby as they grow.

    Why Prenatal Vitamins Are Important

    Do prenatal vitamins improve your fertility?

    During your pregnancy, your bodys nutritional requirements are different than at other times, and prenatal vitamins are designed for the specific needs of pregnant women. For example, prenatal vitamins have more iron, calcium, and folic acid than regular multivitamins. Folic acid, in particular, is an important part of any diet, but it is imperative for the pregnant woman. Folic acid is proven to be a crucial factor in preventing neural tube birth defects, which is why it is recommended that all women of child bearing age take a folic acid supplement, and also why pregnant women need to take more than the general population.

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    They Can Prevent Nausea

    Another nutrient that can support the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system is vitamin B6, and Dr. Nwankwo says the vitamin can alleviate some of the nausea associated with pregnancy. It works by helping the body process certain amino acids that can otherwise lead to nausea, and it’s best to take it before you even get pregnant.

    “It works best when its started one to three months before conception,” advises Dr. Nwankwo. Aside from getting it from your prenatal vitamins, you can also find it in foods like bananas and salmon.

    What Are The Most Important Nutrients In Prenatals Especially For The First Month Of Pregnancy

    While its important to have a well-rounded balance of vitamins and nutrients during pregnancy, some are truly MVPs because they actually help your baby form vital organs and body systems, many of which begin developing in the earliest weeks of pregnancy.

    According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , these are the most important nutrients you need:

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    Best Prenatal Vitamins And Their Health Benefits

    The 17 best prenatal vitamins and their health benefits include:

  • Folic acid :
  • One of the most important roles of folic acid during pregnancy is to prevent neural tube abnormalities . Folic acid aids in the formation of the placenta.
  • Some women may require an increased folic acid dose or if they have taken certain medications such as anti-epilepsydrugs.
  • Iodine :
  • Iodine promotes thyroid function, which is especially important during pregnancy.
  • Iodine deficiency can harm your baby’s physical growth and cause mental impairment and hearing loss. It can potentially result in miscarriage, birth defects, and stillbirth.
  • Iron :
  • Iron is required by your body to transport more oxygen-rich blood to you and your developing fetus. Your requirement for iron increases during pregnancy. Anemia of pregnancy can be life-threatening in mothers, causing heart failure in some cases.
  • Vitamin D :
  • It aids in the proper absorption of calcium and phosphate.
  • It is especially important during pregnancy because it promotes the development of the baby’s bones, teeth, kidneys, heart, and nervous system.
  • Pyridoxine/B6:
  • It aids in the development of healthy red blood cells, but more crucially, it can help alleviate the morning sickness of pregnancy.
  • Vitamin B6 is essential for the developing brain and nervous system of the baby during pregnancy.
  • It aids in your baby’s metabolization of protein and carbohydrates.
  • Calcium:
  • Calcium is beneficial to your baby’s heart, muscles, nerves, and hormones.
  • Zinc:
  • Importance Of Prenatal Vitamins: Why Should I Take Them

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    Pregnant? Congratulations! The next few months are going to be filled with excitement and anticipation, and yes, a lot of learning. One of the first things to learn about are the benefits of prenatal vitamins for both you and your baby. After all, you may be questioning the importance of prenatal vitamins overall and wondering, what are prenatal vitamins good for?

    While pregnancy can sometimes feel filled with things you cant control, like sleepless nights, nausea, and back painone of the many benefits of prenatals is that they help your body get the nourishment support you need during pregnancy. As an expecting parent you will want to do everything you can to ensure the best health of your baby and taking prenatal vitamins is a great starting point.

    If youre wondering whether or not its time for you to begin taking prenatal vitamins, why they are important, and why you should take them heres what we know:

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    Which Vitamins And Minerals Are Important During Pregnancy

    Essential vitamins and nutrients in pregnancy include folic acid or folate, calcium, iron, iodine, choline, Vitamins A, C, D, B6, and B12 to support the health of a developing baby.*

    In fact, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists does a great job outlining each key vitamin and mineral, the reasons why they are important, and providing nutritional sources for these nutrients as well. They recommend 600 micrograms of daily folic acid during pregnancy which can be achieved by taking a prenatal with at least 400 micrograms.

    Another very important nutrient during pregnancy is iron. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists Iron is used by your body to make the extra blood that you and your fetus need during pregnancy. Pregnant women need more, 27 mg per day. This increased amount is found in most prenatal vitamins.

    Having healthy stores of these vitamins and minerals readily available, as early as possible, is key. But dont worry if you werent already taking them, it is never too late to start. Just make sure you let your doctor know before switching to anything new, or if you have any other nutritional concerns.

    Should All Pregnant Women Take Prenatal Vitamins

    Proper nutrition is important for your babys health, and your baby depends on you for all of his or her nutritional needs, which includes important vitamins, supplements, and minerals that are necessary for embryonic and fetal development. Ideally, if you eat a healthy diet it should provide all of your growing babys nutritional needs however, doctors recommend taking prenatal vitamins if you are planning to conceive or are already pregnant, for your babys health.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends multivitamin supplements for pregnant women who do not consume an adequate diet. However, your doctor or midwife may still recommend taking them unless your doctor refers you to a nutritionist for a nutritional assessment.

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    Is It Safe To Take A Prenatal When Youre Not Pregnant Yet

    The very first thing you might ask yourself when youre planning to have a baby is: what can I do to make sure that me and my future bubs are as healthy as possible?

    While this article lists all the benefits of taking a prenatal when youre not pregnant yet, you also need to know if its even safe to do so. After all, prenatals are mostly developed for women who are already pregnant.

    Well, the CDC recommends that all women of reproductive age take 400 micrograms of folic acid each day, not just women who are already pregnant!

    Also, the Mayo clinic states that its generally a good idea for women of reproductive age to regularly take a prenatal vitamin.

    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also thinks starting early with prenatals is a great idea. They recommend taking a prenatal vitamin at least 1 month before becoming pregnant, but since you cant predict whats going to happen in the future, its a good bet to start when you start trying for a baby. Besides, you want to start early as Ill show you what the science says about how a good prenatal vitamin can actually improve your chances of becoming pregnant faster!

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    How We Chose The Best Prenatal Vitamins

    Prenatal Vitamins – Benefits and My Favorite Prenatal Vitamins!

    We started with the ingredients outlined above and found prenatal supplements that contain most of the nutrients you need. From there, we checked which of these options were also tested and recommended by members of our What to Expect community, OB/GYNs or editors.

    Here are our top picks.

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    Dha Is Not Only Good For Babythose Good Fats Are Good For You Too

    Dr. Valentine and colleagues just completed a 5-year National Institutes of Health study that examined the potential benefits of a higher daily dose of DHA during pregnancy compared to the standard recommendation of DHA . The results indicate that this higher dose can significantly reduce the risk for premature or early preterm birth.

    While several factors can contribute to preterm birth, getting a sufficient amount of DHA may be the single most important way to prevent it, especially considering many healthy American women average only about 50mg per day of dietary DHA, Dr. Valentine said.

    The study also showed that womens blood volume increased, and their bodies acquired new tissues to support the pregnancy, like the placenta. This shows how important adequate calories, protein, iron and folic acid rich foods or supplements are during pregnancy, she said.

    Vitamins Are Important Postpartum As Well

    While there are clear benefits for taking a prenatal vitamin before and during pregnancy, there is also significant evidence that prenatal or postnatal vitamins may help even after delivery with things like improving the nutritional needs of breastfeeding mothers, preventing anemia and calcium deficiencies and enhanced energy and better mood regulation.

    Some women, such as those with a vegetarian or vegan diet, may not get adequate nutrients through diet alone and may be at greater risk for deficiencies.

    Most health care providers recommend taking a prenatal vitamin as long as you are breastfeeding to ensure your baby continues to get sufficient nutrients like A,D and B vitamins, DHA and iodine, Dr. Valentine said. If not breastfeeding, then the general recommendation is to continue taking them a minimum of 6-8 weeks postpartum while your body is healing.

    Talk to your health care provider about whether youd benefit from taking prenatal or postnatal vitamins after delivery.

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