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How Early Should You Take Prenatal Vitamins

Remind Me What Does My Baby Need

How long should I be taking a prenatal vitamin?

In summary the research overwhelmingly suggests that you should be taking a prenatal vitamin when trying to conceive, as well as during pregnancy and lactation.

Take a look at this inforgraphic for what you would have to eat in order to get the same amount of nutrients as a prenatal vitamin:

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To help you understand mineral rich foods as an alternative to prenatal vitamins, take a look at the following infographic:

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Who Should Take A Prenatal Vitamin

In general, prenatal vitamins are designed specifically for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive. While you can try getting the recommended nutrients for healthy pregnancy just through food, that involves a lot of researching and tracking. Supplementing with prenatal vitamins gives you peace of mind that youre more likely to be getting the recommended amounts of nutrients on a daily basis, especially on days when your diet is not so great.

Do talk to your healthcare provider about any supplements youre taking or planning to take.

Is It Necessary To Take A Prescription Prenatal Vitamin

Prescription prenatals typically contain more folic acid than the over-the-counter varieties, says Wright. But not all moms need the extra dose. One caveat: If youve already given birth to a baby with neural tube defects, your doctor will likely start you on a prescription supplement of folic acid, says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor in the department of OB/GYN at the Yale School of Medicine.

In general, over-the-counter prenatals are more than able to cover your nutritional bases just talk to your doctor about which formula is right for you.

One other note here: If cost is a concern to you and you have a good drug plan with your insurance company, you may actually want to ask your doctor about prescription prenatals they may actually be cheaper than OTC options.

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What Should You Be Wary Of When Taking A Prenatal Vitamin

Vitamins are essential nutrients that keep the body healthy, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing, cautions Shepherd, who recommends that her patients consult with their doctor and purchase supplements from a reputable sourcenot all supplements are created equal, after all. DuBoises motivation to make a clean prenatal vitamin was driven by the fact that the supplement industry is largely unregulated, and its possible that common vitamins on the market can contain cheap, toxic fillers and are manufactured with chemical solvents. Its terrifying for the average person, but even scarier while pregnant! says DuBoise. The bottom line is: Before you take any prenatal supplements, discuss them with your doctor, and do your research

It’s Not Just About Timing

Vitamins for pregnant women

Lets talk about a few key examples:

Folate.Folate is a B Vitamin that helps support neural tube development during the early stages of pregnancy and is typically found in vegetables , eggs, and legumes. Folate comes in various forms, including folic acid and 5-MTHF.*

Iron.Iron needs increase during pregnancy.*

Omega-3 fatty acids.Omega-3 fatty acids help support brain and vision health and are typically found in foods like salmon, tuna, and shellfish.*

Choline.Choline is an important nutrient during pregnancy.*

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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 Vitamin Ingredients Matter Early On

Now that you know when to start taking prenatal vitamins, we break down some of the key nutrients that are needed and why they are so important for you and your baby.

  • FolateFolate is a B vitamin and is an absolute must for expecting moms. Folate acts by nourishing your babys developing nervous system and protecting them against certain birth defects, including spinal cord and brain abnormalities. While including folate-rich foods into your diet is important, prenatal vitamins provide folate to help you and your baby get the recommended amount.
  • IronIron supports your babys growth and development. The body increases blood volume in pregnancy, so it makes sense why prenatal vitamins typically contain more of it than in a standard adult multivitamin. Adequate iron intake may help prevent iron-deficiency anemia in moms, a condition in which blood has a low number of healthy red blood cells.
  • Omega-3 DHAMore and more prenatal vitamins now include omega-3 DHA because of its important role in your babys brain and eye development. Even after birth, breastfed babies whose mothers take a prenatal vitamin with omega-3 DHA can receive this key nutrient, too.
  • CalciumJust like most regular multivitamins include calcium, a prenatal vitamin should include it, too. Thats because calcium is important for the development of your babys bones, and only your baby can receive this key nutrient from you.

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What Is Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. It also helps your bodys nerves, muscles and immune system work. Your immune system protects your body from infection. Vitamin D helps your babys bones and teeth grow.

During pregnancy, you need 600 IU of vitamin D each day. You can get this amount from food or your prenatal vitamin. Good sources of vitamin D include:

  • Fatty fish, like salmon
  • Milk and cereal that has vitamin D added to it

Tips For Taking Prenatal Vitamins

Can men take prenatal vitamins to be more healthy, or are they for women only?

Suspicious that your prenatals are upsetting your stomach? There are ways you can minimize some of the more unpleasant effects.

  • Ask your doctor about switching to another brand. Sometimes, a prenatal is formulated in a way that just doesnt sit right with you.
  • Try a different method. Prenatals are often available as capsules, beverages, gummies, and even protein shakes and ingesting them differently can aid the digestive process. Try switching from one large capsule to three gummies per day or splitting up two doses 12 hours apart.
  • Drink lots of water before and after. If youre having constipation, make sure you keep your GI system flushed out. You can also add a fiber supplement if youre really feeling backed up .
  • Experiment with food. If your vitamins are making you nauseated, try taking them with or without food. For some people, taking vitamins on an empty stomach is irritating others find that they can only take them on an empty stomach.

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What Are Prenatal Vitamins And Why Are They So Beneficial

In an ideal world, a pregnant mother would get all of her nutrients from food. But as Sakara cofounder Danielle DuBoise, who developed the wellness brands new The Foundation: Prenatal while pregnant, underlines, thats not realistic. No one eats perfectly 100% of the time, says DuBoise, citing research that the average American is lacking essential nutrients in their daily diet. So for most people, supplementation is critical.

According to Manhattan-based nutritionist , prenatal supplements can fill in any nutrient gaps caused by our modern, hectic lifestyles, or particular tastes, which result in consuming less than an adequate amount of the nutrients we need on a daily basis. Think of it as an insurance policy that youre getting enough of the nutrients you need to support a healthy pregnancy, for baby and mom alike, she says. Similarly, Shepherd encourages her expectant patients to consider taking a prenatal vitamin as building up a reserve. Because the baby gets all the nutrients it needs directly from mama, its easy to become deficient in vitamins she explains. A well-rounded balance of vitamins and nutrients during pregnancy will help mom provide the nutrients needed, as well as help the baby do things, such as form vital organs and body systems.

Folic Acid Calcium Iodine And Iron

Folic acid

If getting pregnant is a possibility for you, you should take folic acid. It can prevent birth defects that affect the babys brain and spinal cord. Neural tube defects develop early in pregnancy, before many women know theyre pregnant half of all pregnancies are unplanned. This is why doctors recommend that any woman who could get pregnant take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, starting before conception and continuing for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

If youve had a baby with a neural tube defect you should talk with your health care provider about folic acid. Studies have shown that taking a larger dose at least one month before and during the first trimester may help if youve had a baby with this defect. But talk to your doctor about whats right for you.

Foods that have folic acid include:


Iron helps your body make more blood red cells. These blood cells carry oxygen to the baby that it needs to develop.

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When Do You Stop Taking A Prenatal

Not only was when to start taking a prenatal a surprise to me, so was when to stop taking one. Its suggested that new mothers continue to take their prenatal supplements at least four to six weeks after birth. Some experts even suggest continuing your prenatal vitamin up until six months after birth.

What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Prenatal Vitamins

This Is When You Should Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins

Side effects from prenatals are generally due to excessive amounts of certain vitamins, or irritation to the gastrointestinal tract.

  • Iron is a mineral that can specifically cause some gastrointestinal irritation. It can result in constipation, diarrhea and dark stools.
  • Nausea and vomiting can sometimes be a side effect of prenatal vitamins. This may be exacerbated by morning sickness in the first trimester of pregnancy. There are many underlying reasons for nausea, one of which may be that there is excess of a vitamin or mineral.
  • Stomach cramps.

These side effects are generally mild and you should consult your doctor if these become irritating or if you have any concerns at all.

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What Happens If You Dont Take Prenatal Vitamins

Taking prenatal vitamins before pregnancy can help prevent miscarriages, defects, and preterm labor. If youre not taking prenatal vitamins, neural tube defects can appear:

  • Anencephaly: This occurs when the babys skull and brain doesnt form correctly. Babies that are born with anencephaly dont survive.
  • Spina bifida: This occurs when the spine does not form correctly and the baby may have physical disabilities.

Now that we have addressed one of the most asked questions, What happens if you dont take prenatal vitamins?, we can move on to the next section: When to take prenatal vitamins.

Vegetarian Vegan And Special Diets In Pregnancy

A varied and balanced vegetarian diet should provide enough nutrients for you and your baby during pregnancy.

But you might find it more difficult to get enough iron and vitamin B12.

Talk to a midwife or doctor about how to make sure you’re getting enough of these important nutrients.

If you’re vegan or you follow a restricted diet because of a food intolerance or for religious reasons, talk to a midwife or GP.

Ask to be referred to a dietitian for advice on how to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need for you and your baby.

Find out more about healthy eating if you’re pregnant and vegetarian or vegan.

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Is It Better To Take A Prenatal Vitamin In The Morning Or At Night

During pregnancy, you simply want to get your vitamins. If nausea affects you early in your pregnancy, you may want to take it when you feel less nauseous. Many vitamins recommend taking them with a meal. This may aid absorption as some vitamins need fats for maximum absorption. Your food supplies those fats.

Morning or night, you just make sure you get your vitamins.

Why And When Should You Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins

Pregnancy Tips : Taking Prenatal Vitamins While Trying to Get Pregnant

If youre pregnant or are planning to get pregnant, your doctor may recommend taking prenatal vitamins, as it can be hard getting the nutrients and vitamins you need during your pregnancy. Prenate pillscan provide support for your body and babys development.

What do prenatal vitamins do? Can you take prenatal vitamins if youre not pregnant? What happens if yourenot taking prenatal vitaminsduring your pregnancy? What happens if you dont take prenatal vitamins? Do prenatal vitamins help you get pregnant?

Learning more about prenatal vitamins side effects, the benefits that these pills offer, and whether they can increase fertility can help ensure that youre getting the right nutrients before, during, and after your pregnancy.

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How Long Should I Take Prenatal Vitamins For

You should start prenatal vitamins six to twenty-four months before you want to start baby-making, to give your body the support it needs to prepare for pregnancy. Your prenatal vitamin should then also be taken for the duration of your pregnancy and for as long as youre breastfeeding.

If youre looking for more postpartum support, check out my first book,Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth.

What Are The Most Important Nutrients In A Prenatal Vitamin

You always want to eat a well-balanced diet. During pregnancy, some vitamins and minerals stand out. They play a vital role in your babys development.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, these are some of the most important:

Folic Acid. Recommended daily amount : 600 micrograms.

Folic acid, a form of folate, is essential to spine and brain growth and the prevention of neural tube defects. The neural tube becomes your babys spine and brain. Without enough folic acid, the neural tube does not develop correctly. Neural tube defects can cause spina bifida or anencephaly .

You also need folic acid to support the growth of the placenta.

Iron. RDA: 27 milligrams.

You need plenty of iron when pregnant. It supports red blood cells, which you need to deliver oxygen to your baby. Your doctor will likely test your iron levels. If you show signs of low iron , you may need to take an additional iron supplement with your prenatal vitamins.

Iodine. RDA: 220 micrograms.

Your baby needs iodine for healthy brain development. The best food sources are seafood, although those can pose a challenge as many contain dangerous heavy metals. Eggs and iodized sea salt may provide some, but your prenatal vitamin helps you get everything you need.

Choline. RDA: 250 milligrams.

Calcium. RDA: 1,300 milligrams 14-18 years / 1,000 milligrams 19-50 years.

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Its Easier On Your Stomach

Many women find prenatal supplements hard on their stomachs, which is why Modern Fertility picked the most digestible form of each nutrient to include in their prenatal.

On top of that, theres an added hint of citrus to encourage a calmer, more balanced tummy. Its thought that lemon and orange can help curb morning sickness and ease nausea, making it the ideal addition to your prenatal supplement.

Taking Prenatal Vitamins With A Meal

Vitamin To Help Get Pregnant

If you often feel queasy after taking your prenatal vitamin, try taking it with a meal. A small snack may not be enough to prevent nausea. Experiment with breakfast, lunch, and dinner to see which meal provides the best results.

If nausea is not a problem, follow the instructions provided or ask your doctor about the best time of day to take your prenatal vitamin. Some vitamins work best when taken with water and on an empty stomach while eating no food for an hour after, according to Robin Elise Weiss, PhD.

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Can You Take Multivitamins With Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal multivitaminsvitaminstakingmultivitaminyou takeprenatal multivitaminsTakingvitamincanvitamin

. Thereof, do prenatal vitamins replace multivitamins?

Prenatal vitamins typically contain more folic acid and iron than do standard adult multivitamins. Here’s why: Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects. These defects are serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord.

Similarly, can multivitamins cause miscarriage? Women who take multivitamin tablets while trying to become pregnant are more at risk of having a miscarriage, research shows. A study of 35,000 mothers-to-be found they were 32 per cent more likely to lose their baby early on if they had taken the supplements regularly in the six weeks before conceiving.

Similarly, you may ask, can you take multivitamins while pregnant?

Multivitamins in pregnancySome multivitamins are designed especially for pregnant women. But they are not a substitute for a nutritious diet. It’s important to eat healthily even if you‘re taking a multivitamin. If you‘re pregnant, avoid taking multivitamins that are not designed for pregnancy.

What vitamins and supplements should not be taken together?

5 Nutrients to Take or Avoid Taking Together for Best Absorption

  • Nutrient Absorption Guidelines.

What Are The Benefits Of Taking A Prenatal Vitamin Before Getting Pregnant

Your nutritional needs increase immediately after conception. So, it’s important to build up the nutrients in your body before pregnancy to make sure you’re getting the most out of all the great benefits associated with prenatals.*

As soon as that egg is fertilized, the embryo starts gobbling up nutrients needed for cell growth and division. Those teeny-tiny organs form in the first eight weeks of pregnancy, and the neural tube closes within the first 30 days of gestation all of this before many people even miss a period or realize theyre pregnant. This means that all of the necessary nutrients must be readily available the moment sperm meets egg.

According to ACOG, these are the most important nutrients your body needs before and during pregnancy :

If youre vegetarian or vegan, the list of nutrients to pay attention to grows longer. Vegetarians often aren’t getting enough iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, choline, and vitamin B12 from food alone and vegans are sometimes deficient in calcium as well. Looking for vegetarian or vegan food sources and prenatals that fill your nutritional gaps can help you get your levels where they need to be by pregnancy.

On top of 10 ACOG-recommended nutrients, the Prenatal Multi also has zinc and biotin. Zinc is essential for healthy fetal growth, and can be up to 50% deficient in vegetarians.* Biotin aids in converting food into energy, and a third of pregnant people are deficient.*

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