Helps Protect Mother’s Health
Once a woman is pregnant, her body tends to prioritize nutrients towards the growth of the baby. This means that even if a mother has a less than ideal diet, she may still be able to give birth to a healthy baby. But this also means that the mother’s nutrient status may suffer if there are not enough vitamins and minerals to support both.
The nutrients we have discussed, folate, calcium, iron, and omega-3s, may all become depleted in the mother if she is not eating enough for herself and the baby. Not only can this depletion lead to bone loss or anemia as we have explored, it may also put the mother at greater risk for postpartum depression. So really, the prenatal vitamin is just as much for the mother’s health as the baby’s.
Can I Take 2 Prenatal Vitamins A Day
How many times do you take prenatal vitamins?
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.
What time of day should you take prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins: Take these with water and a meal for optimal absorption. It’s best to take them with breakfast or lunch, which lowers the chance of an upset stomach and acid reflux.
Do I take a prenatal vitamin everyday?
You should take a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid every day, as folic acid helps prevent major birth defects of the fetus’ brain and spine .
Folate Helps Prevent Birth Defects
One of the most important nutrients in prenatal vitamins is called folate, also known as folic acid or vitamin B9. Folate helps the body make DNA, enhances brain function, and plays a role in cell growth. For pregnant women, it can help reduce the risk of birth defects related to the brain and spinal cord.
Early in the development of the fetus, there is an opening at the bottom of the spinal cord that requires folate to close properly. How folate helps with the closure is unclear, but may be related to the role it plays in cell growth. For this reason, taking a folate supplement during pregnancy has been shown to reduce the risk of these types of birth defects . This particular birth defect occurs early in pregnancy before a woman even knows she is pregnant, therefore doctors and dietitians recommend starting a prenatal vitamin before trying to conceive.
This vitamin is commonly found in green leafy vegetables and fortified breads and cereals, but many women are deficient in folate prior to getting pregnant. As I’ve seen in my practice as a dietitian, most of us don’t eat nearly enough green leafy vegetables. Birth control pills and being overweight can also increase risk for folate deficiency, making it even more important to improve levels before trying to conceive.
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When To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
The best time to start taking prenatal vitamins is before conception. Folic acid is especially important. You should begin taking a folic acid supplement at least 1 month before you try to get pregnant to prevent birth defects.
Some doctors recommend that all women who could have a baby take prenatal vitamins, even if they dont plan a pregnancy.
Where To Get Pregnancy Supplements
You can get supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets, or a GP may be able to prescribe them for you.
If you want to get your folic acid from a multivitamin tablet, make sure the tablet does not contain vitamin A .
You may be able to get free vitamins if you qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.
Find out more about the Healthy Start scheme.
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First Things First: Why Is Taking A Prenatal Vitamin So Important
We’re all about taking a food-first approach to nutrition. That’s because foods are more than the sum of their nutrient parts all of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibers in whole foods work together for your optimal health.
However, many nutrients essential for a healthy pregnancy aren’t readily available from food alone like vitamin D, choline, and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. These particular nutrients are not only more scarce in the food supply, but they’re also needed in higher quantities during pregnancy and lactation .
Even in resource-rich countries, people with ovaries typically dont eat enough of some of the most essential micronutrients for pregnancy. Here are three important examples:
- Folate: Even though folic acid fortification in flour products was mandated back in 1998, national data in the US estimates that nearly 20% of people with ovaries in their reproductive years are still not getting enough folate .*
- Choline: As many as 90-95% of pregnant people in the US don’t get enough choline a key B-vitamin for fetal brain development.*
- Iron: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 8 million adults with ovaries of childbearing age are deficient enough in iron to cause severe anemia.*
When To Start Taking Prenatal Multivitamins
Pregnancy can be hard to predict. Its impossible to know whether it will take a month or a year to get pregnantand, oftentimes, someone may not know they’re actually pregnant until a few weeks later.
Because so much of a babys development happens during the early weeks of pregnancy, its important to start taking prenatal multivitamins before trying to get pregnantthree months is a good rule of thumb.
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Tips For Choosing The Best Prenatal Vitamin
There are plenty of prenatal vitamin supplements on the market so how do you pick the best one? Your individual needs may differ, so its best to work directly with your doctor when deciding on the right prenatal vitamin for you.
In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you choose the best prenatal vitamin:
As Soon As You Find Out Youre Pregnant
Your OB-GYN may eventually suggest a specific brand or even offer you a prescription to make your vitamin-popping life easier, but you dont have to wait every day counts when youre in the first trimester .
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Boosts Nutrition During Breastfeeding
Even after the baby is born, the diet of a breastfeeding mother remains incredibly important. Nutrient needs actually increase during breastfeeding, when compared to pregnancy. Breastfeeding moms need more iron, calcium, and vitamin C than pregnant women. They also need to drink more water and eat more calories to help produce enough milk for a growing baby.
A new mother may not have an ideal diet between caring for baby and themselves, so prenatal vitamins can help fill in some of the nutrient gaps that may exist, particularly for important vitamins such as iron, vitamin D, and some B-vitamins. Prenatal vitamins therefore remain critically important during breastfeeding to prevent deficiencies and provide enough nutrition in the breast milk to support the mother and the baby.
Reasons You Need A Prenatal Before Trying To Conceive
When is the best time to start taking a prenatal vitamin? Much earlier than you think! If you’re wondering when to start prenatal vitamins, you might be surprised. The ideal time to start a prenatal supplement is actually 3 months prior to conception. Heres why you should start taking prenatals before pregnancy:
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Dha Boosts Baby’s Brain Power
Many prenatal vitamins contain an omega-3 fatty acid called docosahexaenoic acid or DHA. This healthy fat is critical for the development of the brain and nervous system. The brain is 60 percent fat, therefore fat is necessary to help grow a baby’s brain.
The primary source of DHA is fatty fish, but many women are told to limit fish intake due to concerns over mercury contamination. Low intake of omega-3 fats has been linked to a lower IQ, prematurity, autism, and ADHD. Limiting fish can therefore reduce the intake of healthy fats during pregnancy, making DHA’s role in prenatal vitamins particularly important to help supplement the mother’s diet and support the baby’s growing brain.
Your Body Will Have Enough Iron From The Get
Did you know that pregnant women need twice the amount of iron? This is one of the most popular nutrients included in prenatal vitamins. Iron keeps oxygen flowing through your bodys tissues and muscles, supporting the fetal development of your baby. This nutrient is also responsible for the production of hemoglobin, which carries the oxygen of red blood cells. You may or may not need to supplement with iron before you are actually pregnant. Keep in mind iron supplementation is often the cause of constipation and other unpleasant GI side effects. Iron is an important nutrient when thinking about becoming pregnant so outside of supplementation, it is important to focus on food sources.
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Do Prenatals Help You Get Pregnant
If youre wondering when to start taking prenatals and whether they can boost your fertility, read on. Youll find answers to questions like: Do prenatals help you get pregnant? Do prenatal vitamins make you fertile?
Prenate pills do not increase fertility, but they can help you experience a healthy pregnancy and prevent complications.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advice women on when to start taking prenatals. Women who are planning to get pregnant should take their vitamin three months before conception.
Here are the benefits of taking prenatal vitamins before pregnancy:
So, do prenatal vitamins make you fertile? A recent study does mention that vitamin B, folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids and healthy diets may increase fertility, and you can find some of these ingredients in the Conception Fertility Prenatal Vitamins Product.
The Conception Fertility Prenatal Vitamins can help regulate your cycle and prepare your body for pregnancy.
Suppose youre already pregnant and havent been taking prenatals. You can work closely with your doctor so they can advise on when to start taking prenatal vitamins and whether the Conception Fertility Prenatal Vitamins product is right for your body.
The Most Important Vitamins And Nutrients For Pregnancy
Taking a prenatal is not an excuse to not eat a well-rounded and varied diet, but the right supplement can help fill in the gaps in your daily intake of food. Heres some information about the most important nutrients during pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Folic acid can help prevent fetal abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord.
- Iron helps make blood which supplies oxygen to your developing fetus and placenta.
- Calcium and Vitamin D both help the development of a babys teeth and bones.
- Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA help promote the healthy development of your babys brain.
You May Not Be Able To Eat Much In The First Trimester
Additionally, when the first trimester hits, you may not be able to eat much. During this time, your body largely relies on the nutrient stores you built up before you became pregnant! With morning sickness, food aversions, and fatigue eating anything can be challenging let alone a super nutrient-dense diet. More and more research is coming out showing preconception nutrition is not only linked to better birth outcomes but long-term health outcomes of the child. Ace preconception nutrition and youll have a smooth ride during pregnancy!
Will you start taking prenatal vitamins before or after you get pregnant?
Now you know why its such a good idea to take prenatal vitamins pre-pregnancy! Not only do you get the key nutrients all pregnant women need, but you also lower the risk of any side effects or birth defects from the get-go. Adding a prenatal vitamin wont replace the need for a healthy diet, but it will help support your growing baby and give you peace of mind that you are getting an extra nutrient boost. Remember to always check with your health care provider before adding any new supplements to your routine to be extra safe!
If you want more prenatal nutrition advice and specific prenatal vitamin recommendations, head over to The Prenatal Nutrition Library. This online space has everything you need to know about preparing for a healthy pregnancy, directly from a registered prenatal dietitian nutritionist. Come join us!
What Are Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are supplements made for pregnant women to give their bodies the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy pregnancy. Your doctor may suggest that you take them when you begin to plan for pregnancy, as well as while youre pregnant.
Eating a healthy diet is always a wise idea — especially during pregnancy. It’s also a good idea to take a prenatal vitamin to help cover any nutritional gaps in your diet.
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Prenatal Vitamins And Diet Tips
- Eat foods rich in folic acid like nuts, beans, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, etc.
- To get iron, eat eggs, seafood, cereals, bread, pasta, green vegetables, lean meats, nuts, raisins, dry fruits, etc.
- To get calcium through food, drink milk, curd, cheese, broccoli, orange juice, etc.
- To prevent vitamin D deficiency in the body, eat fatty fish like salmon, milk, cereals, etc., in the diet.
- For iodine, take bread, milk, cheese, fish, yogurt, iodized salt.
Are Prenatal Vitamins The Secret To Better Hair And Skineven If You’re Not Pregnant
Some women claim that taking prenatal vitamins when they’re not pregnant improves hair growth and gives them shinier, healthier strands. But is it safe to take these nutrient-packed pills when you’re not expecting? We asked experts to weigh in.
It’s no secret that prenatal vitamins are packed with a slew of essential nutrients like folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, and others that help support baby’s development and protect against or birth defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord, called neural tube defects. But could they also deliver an admittedly less important but still appealing perk for non-pregnant womenlonger, faster-growing hair and smoother skin?
Recently, it seems like everyone I talk to is taking prenatal vitamins for the beauty benefits. The trend appears to have gotten Hollywood’s stamp of approval, too. A quick Google search confirms that LeAnn Rimes, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Mindy Kaling all swear by prenatals for red carpet-ready strands. ” will not only scare your boyfriend, will make your hair grow faster, thicker, and keep your skin glow-y and smooth,” Kaling said a few years ago.
But other experts we spoke to warned against taking these pills when you’re not trying to conceive.
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When Should You Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins How Long Should You Take Them
Doctors, midwives, and other health care professionals recommend that women begin taking prenatal vitamins before they become pregnant. The brain and spinal cord of the embryo begin to develop within 3 to 4 weeks of pregnancy, when you may not even know that you are pregnant. The CDC recommends that all women of childbearing age consume folic acid daily to prevent spina bifida and anencephaly. These serious birth defects affect the babys developing brain and spinal cord. Your doctor or midwife may recommend that you continue to take prenatal vitamins after you have your baby, especially if you are breastfeeding. If you are planning to conceive, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss any pregnancy planning concerns.
Vitamins On An Empty Stomach
Theres opposing advice on whether taking your prenatal vitamins on an empty stomach is the best method. Some water-soluble vitamins can compete to be absorbed, but they can also cause you discomfort. It may be beneficial to ask nutritional experts about balancing comfort and efficacy in your situation. Several sources suggest that you take supplements containing iron on an empty stomach to promote proper absorption. Iron can be taken with water or orange juice one hour before or two hours after a meal. However, iron can cause stomach sensitivity or nausea. If nausea is bothering you, eating a small snack with the vitamin may help. Discuss with your primary care provider about options to help with this.
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