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 .
Should You Be Taking A Prenatal Vitamin When Ttc
If youre actively trying to conceive, its a good idea to do all you can to take good care of your body and stay as healthy as can be. Also a good idea? Taking a daily vitamin with the nutrients youll need during pregnancy as a means of being extra prepared for when you do get pregnant. But if youre not yet pregnant, you might be wondering if you need to take an actual prenatal vitamin in advance or if you can stick with a regular multivitamin for now.
What Do I Really Need In A Prenatal Vitamin
Sifting through drugstore shelves or Amazon suggestions is super intimidating. And don’t worry, it’s not just youall of those options don’t just start to sound alike, they really are very similar, says Wendy Goodall McDonald, MD, a Chicago-based ob-gyn.
These are the recommended daily amounts of essential nutrients you should be getting when you’re pregnant, and what a basic prenatal should have:
- Folic acid: 400 milligrams
- Vitamin D: 600 international units
- Calcium: 1,000 milligrams
- Iron: 27 milligrams
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 200 milligrams
Other vitamins you should look for in your prenatals:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
One thing to note: Getting enough vitamin D is especially important for BIPOC women, as they’re more prone to having a deficiency, says Lucky Sekhon, MD, an ob-gyn, infertility specialist, and reproductive endocrinologist at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York.
Vitamin D is important for bone health and a healthy pregnancy, and not getting enough has been linked to conditions like preeclampsia and preterm delivery. “Vitamin D is derived from sun exposure and skin absorption, which is limited in melanin-pigmented skin,” says Dr. Sekhon. “The average prenatal vitamin contains 400 IU of vitamin D. A woman whose levels are known to be deficient will require more than this daily amount to replenish it.” If you do need more vitamin D, there are ways to get it from your diet .
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My Experiences Trying To Conceive
When I was trying to conceive my first baby I really did not know what I was doing. As I mentioned above, it was a lot of trying without a plan. Sure you can get pregnant this way, maybe. But if you have been on the fertility roller coaster you need a plan, and the first step is making sure you are ovulating and knowing when you are ovulating. Once I figured this out it still took me months of trying due to my cycle being pretty irregular.
When I decided I wanted to try for baby number two my cycle was even worse. I was still breastfeeding and while I did get pregnant while breastfeeding, I had no idea if it was even possible.
I knew I wanted another baby, but I had only recently gotten my period back and some cycles were very short and others were long. At this point I did know how to pinpoint my ovulation, but it still took going through a lot of ovulation tests and tracking.
My days of trying to conceive are over now. I am done having children but my period is still erratic. Some months it is 28 days like clockwork, and others it is over 40 days and lasts extra long. At this point I think it might be my age, but I am trying Conception to see if it can help regulate my cycle a bit.
Even though I am not trying to have any more babies having such an unpredictable cycle is beyond annoying. I also have a lot of random spotting each cycle which makes planning, clothing, and outings a pain. I am hoping Conception will help me with this.
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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Risks Of Taking Supplements
While most vitamins are sold over the counter, theyre not necessarily risk-free. Many supplements can negatively interact with medications you may already be taking, causing unpleasant side effects or aggravating existing health conditions.
Though it may sound far-fetched to overdose on vitamins, its also possible to take in excessive doses to the point of harm. Some micronutrients have set tolerable upper intake levels meaning the amount you can consume before experiencing adverse effects.
To avoid overstepping these bounds, follow dosage instructions on the supplements label, and always consult your doctor before beginning a new vitamin or supplement.
Its also important to note that the Food and Drug Administration does not monitor or regulate vitamins or supplements for quality like it does for medications. Quality may not be consistent from batch to batch. This is why finding a reputable brand is so important.
Make Sure Your Prenatal Pick Contains These Vitamins And Minerals
This B vitamin has been shown to prevent birth defects involving the brain and spine. Its hard to get from food, so the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all pregnant women take a daily vitamin supplement containing 400 micrograms. Most over-the-counter prenatals have plenty of folic acid, Hawk says. But if youve previously had a baby with neural tube defects, your provider may prescribe one that has more.
Pregnant women need calcium not only for their bones but for the development of the babys bones, Hawk says. Studies have also found that women who supplement with calcium during pregnancy reduce their risk for hypertension and pre-eclampsia. ACOG recommends that women age 19 and older get 1,000 mg per day of calcium through food and/or supplementation.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium that builds your and babys bones and teeth. Although we can get it from sun exposure and certain foods, most Americans do not get the recommended amount, which is about 600 IUs per day.
Vitamin B6 may help curb nausea and vomiting from morning sickness. And, Hawk says its even more effective when its combined with an antihistamine called doxylamine, which is available over-the-counter. The National Institutes of Health recommends that pregnant women get 1.9 milligrams of B6 each day.
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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:
What Is The Best Male Fertility Supplement
Male partners should absolutely be taking fertility supplements during the preconception period to boost sperm quality, as well. L-carnitine and L-arginine have both been shown to increase both sperm count and motility, and zinc boosts testosterone levels in studies. Ask your male partner to talk to their primary care doctor about testing their vitamin D levels, too.
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What Goes In A Prenatal Vitamin
Most high-quality prenatals will include folate, iron, calcium, vitamin D, DHA, and iodine.
- Folate: The CDC recommends folate specifically to women of reproductive age to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
- Iron: Iron is important for making the extra red blood cells youll need for pregnancy and can decrease the chances of complications such as low birth weight and preterm delivery.
- Calcium: Calcium and vitamin D are helpful for building strong bones and teeth for you and your baby.
- DHA: Finally, DHA is a building block of your baby’s developing nervous system.This omega-3 fatty acid can be found in fish and in omega-3 fortified foods like eggs and dairy.
- Choline: Most prenatals lack choline. But growing evidence of its benefits shows choline improves several pregnancy outcomes and protects against certain neural and metabolic disorders.
When youre on your TTC journey, its important to consume enough of these nutrients to meet your recommended daily allowance . This ensures both mom and baby have what they need for a healthy pregnancy. Natalists prenatal provides comprehensive prenatal nutrition that meets or exceedsACOG‘s recommendations for pregnancy.
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.
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Can Prenatals Increase My Fertility
Taking your prenatal vitamin wont make you any more likely to get pregnant. This one is just a myth were happy to bust.
Prenatal vitamins will, however, make it significantly more likely that you experience a healthy pregnancy. They significantly reduce the likelihood of neural tube defects. Their use is also associated with a lower risk of miscarriage. They are a key safety net in preventing pregnancy complications that result from nutrient deficits, such as low birth weight or premature birth. So, we recommend that you add prenatals into your TTC journey these can include vitamins and fertility supplements such as iron, folate, or DHA supplements, but dont expect them to be magic fertility pills.
Can Taking Prenatal Vitamins Help You Get Pregnant
Im sure you already know the wonderful benefits of prenatal vitamins.
They are one of the simplest to make sure you and your baby are off to the best possible start.
They do a thorough job at bridging any nutritional gaps you might have in your diet.
This helps ensure that both of you are well taken care of and free from harmful nutrient deficiencies.
Prenatal vitamins are best utilized before, during, and after pregnancy.
The reason theyre so useful before getting pregnant is because they set you up with the proper amount of vitamins and minerals and safeguard you against any deficiencies.
That being said could they help you get pregnant in the first place?
Lets take a look!
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Picking The Best One: Folic Acid Or Methylfolate
Needless to say, a prenatal multivitamin is an awesome way of lowering the risk of miscarriage and making sure that when you do become pregnant, your developing little peanut remains healthy.
But there are many different kinds. Which one is best? What ingredients should a prenatal contain?
Prenatal vitamins contain essential minerals such as iron and magnesium, and antioxidants such as vitamin B12, vitamin C and D and riboflavin. All of these are really important to help your body and reproductive system stay in balance and protect the growing egg and embryo.
But perhaps the most important ingredient in a prenatal multivitamin is folate. Most prenatals contain the synthetic form of folate called folic acid. Some others contain methylfolate , which is a more natural form of folic acid.
But does natural equal better? Most research has been conducted on the synthetic form and we know just how safe it is and how it can protect your future baby from a whole bunch of problems in development.
The difference between the two is that folic acid requires an extra step by an enzyme in your body to convert it to methylfolate, whereas methylfolate is, well, methylfolate already! If you have a gene mutation called MTHFR then your body isnt as good at doing this folic acid to methylfolate conversion by itself. Hispanic populations are most likely to have this gene variant at about 25% of women.12
Why Should I Take Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are like a nutrition safety net that helps you maintain the vitamins and minerals your body needs to grow a healthy baby and sustain your pregnancy. They work best when supported .
The most noted example of the benefits of taking prenatal vitamins is the fact that they help you get more folic acid. When taken before pregnancy, prenatal vitamins with folic acid can help drastically reduce the incidence of neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly.
Other vitamins and minerals of importance in pregnancy include iron, calcium, vitamin D, DHA, and iodine. Your body needs twice as much iron as usual during pregnancy to build red cells to bring oxygen to the growing baby. You need 1000 milligrams of calcium per day as your baby develops its bones, teeth, and muscles. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Iodine is needed for the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system.
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Benefits Of Taking A Prenatal Vitamin Before Pregnancy
A prenatal vitamin is an excellent investment for you and your future baby. Although many of us have well-rounded diets, most of us are also unable to absorb adequate amounts of essential vitamins needed to support a healthy pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins help ensure that were receiving essential vitamins during pregnancy.
Studies also show that taking a daily supplement can lower your risk of giving birth prematurely and even stave off morning sickness. But thats not all a prenatal can do before and during pregnancy.
Taking prenatal vitamins before conception can reduce the chance of irregularities such as neural tube defects, heart defects, limb deformities, and cleft palate, according to research published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. Additionally, taking vitamins before TTC may reduce the risk of preterm birth. Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill found that taking vitamins before conception reduced the risk of preterm birth by about one half in a group of about 2,000 women.
After conception, folate supports the earliest, most critical stages of fetal development. The babys brain and spine develop within the first month of pregnancy, sometimes before you even know youre pregnant. By the time you get that first positive test, you should already be regularly consuming folate.
Are There Any Extra Benefits
Some celebs swear by prenatals as the secret to their glowing skin and luscious locks because they contain biotin, one of the all-important B vitamins.
And rumors of biotins hair, nail, and skin growth powers have circulated forever many people take biotin supplements for this exact reason.
Besides biotin, though, there are some extra benefits to prenatals. If you take one with DHA, for example, youll be getting a boost of omega-3 fatty acids that may help your babys brain and eyes develop.
You may also get thyroid-regulating iodine, which can aid in your babys nervous system development.
Finally, theres some research indicating that taking prenatal vitamins may increase your chances of pregnancy.
To be clear, prenatals are not a magic cure for infertility problems and getting pregnant isnt as simple as popping a pill. But many of the nutrients included in prenatal vitamins regulate the body systems responsible for making pregnancy possible.
So taking one when done in conjunction with exercising, eating a healthy diet, and eliminating risk factors like alcohol and drugs can make it easier to get pregnant more quickly.
There are dozens of options out there, but make sure you check for a few key things before buying a prenatal vitamin:
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Vitamins That Help You Get Pregnant Faster
Can the taking of any type of vitamin or supplement actually help you conceive a child faster than those who dont take vitamins? Can vitamins actually increase your fertility? The answer is yes if you ask experts at the Texas Fertility Center. According to fertility specialists, you need a good nutritional status in order to help your body conceive a child. This seems to hold true of both men and women.
For women, it may mean just taking a good prenatal vitamin. Research has indicated that taking a prenatal vitamin can not only decrease your chances of having a preterm birth and decrease your chances of pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, but it can maximize your fertility.
In one recent study, women who were trying to get pregnant through fertility treatments got pregnant faster than women who didnt take prenatal vitamins. In fact, the participants who took prenatal vitamins had a doubling of their chances of becoming pregnant when compared to participants who just took folic acid prior to conceiving.
What this means is that it is possible to get pregnant faster if you take a prenatal vitamin, although research hasnt been done on women who arent undergoing fertility treatments and who take a prenatal vitamin. Prenatal vitamins can be purchased over the counter and cant hurt you, even if you take them while not pregnant.
These particular vitamins have the ability to enhance your fertility. You can take them alone or as a part of the total prenatal pill package: