Why Do I Need To Take A Prenatal Before Im Pregnant
A prenatal vitamin can help you build up your nutrient stores before you conceive. This is so important! You want to build up stores of your nutrients, especially iron and folate, before getting pregnant.
Folate is an important B vitamin that baby needs for healthy spinal cord development and prevention of neural-tube defects. This is essential during the first 4 weeks of pregnancy. I recommend supplementing with 500-800 mcg of folate per day, depending on your dietary intake .
Taking a prenatal before pregnancy ensures your baby is getting all the necessary nutrients from the first moments of his or her life. It also ensures your body has the nutrients to support every stage of your babys development no matter how balanced or nutrient-dense your diet is or isnt .
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.
Finding A Prenatal You Actually Like
And, when you finally know when to start a prenatal, how do you actually find one that you like or can, at least, tolerate daily?
With my first pregnancy, I was generally happy with my prenatal. I even recommended it to some friends and the readers of my blog.
Unfortunately, with my second pregnancy, my body had different plans. I couldnt keep my original prenatal down, and when I finally did, it caused me to have an upset stomach on top of my all-day morning sickness.
Thankfully, Modern Fertility recently launched their prenatal, and I decided to give it a try. After a month and a half of use with no issues, it has quickly replaced my old one.
Heres why its my go-to prenatal of choice:
- It contains minimal, high-quality ingredients
- It has a slight citrus flavor
- Features sustainable packaging
- The easy and affordable subscription model
I believe these four key factors make the Modern Fertility prenatal enjoyable for me, so keep an eye out for important factors when looking for the right one for youand your lifestyle.
More on what makes the prenatal from Modern Fertility stand out from others on the market from below.
Don’t Miss: Where Can I Get Vitamin C Powder
When To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
If you’re a planner and kids are on the horizon, you might be thinking ahead about how you can set yourself up for the healthiest pregnancy possible. Part of that includes building up your reserves of pregnancy-supporting nutrients, using a combo of balanced eating and prenatal vitamins.
But when do you have to start taking prenatals to ensure you’re getting recommended levels of essential nutrients by the time you’re pregnant? And is there any harm in taking them months before conception?
We’ll answer these questions in this article, but before we jump in, here’s the most important takeaway up front: Prenatal vitamins with folate are recommended at least one month before conception and you can even replace your daily multivitamin with a prenatal .* The formulation of the Modern Fertility Prenatal Multivitamin is designed to help you support your body preconception all the way through pregnancy and beyond.
Can Men Take Prenatal Vitamins The Answer Might Surprise You
Prenatal vitamins are meant for pregnant women or those who are trying to conceive. However, this does not stop males from taking over-the-counter prenatal vitamins too.
This is because of the prevalence of various nutritional deficiencies in both men and women. Prenatal vitamins with the inclusion of many nutrients seem like a good thing to consume.
Jason M Scovell points out in his research that while there is a link between congenital abnormalities in babies and micronutrient deficiency in parents, there is no conclusive study that shows that supplements like prenatal vitamins have a positive effect on the link.
Hence, if you are taking the medication for this reason, you might as well not. However, the question that arises is, can men take these vitamins to begin with?
Read Also: What Vitamin Helps With Memory And Focus
Ps Don’t Forget About Protein
A prenatal multivitamin can help support micronutrient needs, but it’s important to consider macronutrients as well. Exhibit A: Women need more protein during pregnancy and lactation to help support the increased nutrient demands that occur during these life stages. We formulated our Essential Protein Pregnancy & Postpartum with these demands in mindand even added choline, too.*
What Are The Side
- Hair loss. Ironically, even though women often take prenatal vitamins while they arent pregnant, the women who take prenatals for the long-term actually report hair loss in the long run. The reason some pregnant women experience a boost in hair growth is because of their hormonal changes, not the prenatal vitamins they are taking.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency. Prenatals contain more folate and iron than the average multivitamin to combat anemia. Getting too much iron, and especially folate can end up masking and even aggravating a B12 deficiency. Missing out on a B12 deficiency diagnosis can lead to fatigue and other long-term problems.
- Calcium and Vitamin D. Prenatals do not have enough calcium or vitamin D to meet your daily recommended intake. This can have several unintended consequences, not the least of which is osteoporosis and depression.
- Liver Damage. Because iron intake is higher when taking prenatal vitamins, you can end up with a relatively minor symptom, like constipation. Or you can end up with a more severe condition, such as liver damage, from taking too much iron in the long-term.
You May Like: What Foods Give You Vitamin B
My Gp Told Me To Take Folic Acid Or Folate What Is The Difference
The naturally occurring form of the water-soluble vitamin B9 found in food, is called folate. Folate is an essential B vitamin, found in food such as leafy green vegetables, citrus fruit, legumes and brown rice.
There are 3 forms used in supplements:
Folic acid is the name for the synthetic form which is used in dietary supplements, fortified foods and beverages. It has to go through several biochemical steps to be converted into active folate. This can be an issue for people with an MTHFR polymorphism.
Folinic acid, is one step removed from active folate and is found in food as well as dietary supplements.
Active folate, or 5-MTHF is the most bio-available and suitable for people with MTHFR polymorphisms.
Folate reduces the risk of birth defects, specifically in spine and brain development spina bifida and anencephaly by 50% or more. It may also lower the risk of miscarriage, especially in women with high homocysteine levels, an amino acid that contributes to blood clotting.
The World Health Organisation recommends that women begin taking 400mcg of folic acid at least two months prior to conception. The importance of adequate folate levels during the pre-conception period is well established.
We recommend taking a quality preconception vitamin at least 3 months prior to conception as well as following a preconception plan for both partners to ensure the best possible chance of an optimal pregnancy and healthy baby.
Do I Need Prenatal Vitamins
Although a healthy pregnancy diet can help keep you well nourished, sometimes you need a little extra help. During pregnancy, your body needs more folic acid and iron than it needs when youâre not pregnant. Getting enough of these two nutrients can be difficult on diet alone, which is where prenatal vitamins come in to help fill the gap. Also, according to some research, taking prenatal vitamins can also decrease the risk of having a baby born with low birth weight.
However, just because youâre taking a prenatal vitamin doesnât mean eating healthily and getting a wide range of nutrients isnât important. You can read on about healthy foods to eat during pregnancy here to help you get the nutrients you need.
Don’t Miss: What Should Be In Your Prenatal Vitamin
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.
Should I Take A Prenatal Supplement Postpartum
Amid sleep deprivation, hormonal shifts, doctors appointments, and feeding schedules, there’s tons to remember during the postpartum period. So do we really still need a prenatal vitamin after having a baby?
Amid sleep deprivation, hormonal shifts, doctors appointments, and feeding schedules, there’s tons to remember, and sadly to forget, during the postpartum period. For most of us, taking a prenatal vitamin is one of them. So do we really still need a prenatal vitamin after having a baby?
Read Also: Which Vitamin Is Good For Immunity
How Long To Take Prenatal Vitamins
Congrats! Youre expecting a bundle of joy in a few months. Now that youre pregnant, do you have to take prenatal vitamins the whole nine months? Because your baby continues to grow and develop throughout the entire nine months in utero, its important to continue to take a prenatal multivitamin during your entire pregnancy.
Remember, your baby relies on you for all its nutrients. As the saying goes, youre eating for two! If you dont maintain an adequate supply of essential vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, your baby may not be able to get the nutrients it needs to grow. And research shows that taking a vitamin supplement before and during pregnancy reduces the risk of having severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.3
A good prenatal multivitamin includes just the right combination of nutrients to meet the increased nutritional demands of a pregnant woman and her developing baby. For example, a prenatal should include adequate amounts of the following:
- Iron, vital for red blood cell formation and to deliver oxygen to cells throughout the body
- DHA , which may help support fetal brain and eye development
- Calcium and vitamin D, which help build and support strong bones
- Iodine, an important mineral for fetal brain development
Are All Prenatal Vitamins Pretty Much The Same
No. Prescription vitamins are regulated by the Food and Drug administration, but they’re not required to contain certain nutrients. “There are many different formulations available, with different concentrations of each nutrient,” says Kukreja. Some have a little of everything others contain only a handful of nutrients. If you have special health considerations, your OB may suggest a supplement with added nutrients to meet your needs.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Best Vitamin C To Use
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:
Can You Take Prenatal Vitamins Without Being Pregnant
If youre trying to conceive, it can be beneficial to start taking prenatal vitamins at least three months before becoming pregnant. Taking prenatal vitamins before youre pregnant provides the foundation for a healthy pregnancy by providing the extra nutrients your body will need.
If youre not trying to get pregnant, a healthy and varied diet will provide the majority of minerals and vitamins you need. If you arent thinking about having a baby, its unlikely that prenatal vitamins are the best option. Prenatal vitamins provide a larger amount of certain nutrients that are necessary during pregnancy, but the increased amounts may lead to issues if your body doesnt need the supplemental nutrients. We suggest speaking with your primary care provider about whats best for you.
Also Check: What Is The Best Organic Prenatal Vitamin
Not All Vitamins Are The Same
The best way to take vitamins and supplements varies according to what the active ingredients of the supplements are, and also their purpose, and the body type of the consumer. In this section we will discuss the differences when it comes to taking fat soluble vitamins, water soluble vitamins, B vitamins, and prenatal vitamins.
We will also list common drug prescriptions and their interactions with nutrient levels and vitamin supplementation.
Flintstones As Prenatal Vitamins
Flintstones is a chewable fruit-flavored tablet that contains 400 mcg of folic acid and 10 mg of iron.
Although it contains a baseline folic acid requirement, it is better than not taking anything at all. And since most pregnant women can tolerate Flintstones, it becomes the best alternative to prenatal vitamins.
Doctors may recommend taking two Flintstone chewable tablets in place of your prenatal vitamins.
Here are other tips in taming your stomach into taking prenatal vitamins with a lesser episode of nausea and vomiting:
- Take prenatal vitamins with food
- Take it in a divided dose
- Try easy to digest vitamins
- Find an appropriate vitamin that you can tolerate without compromising folic acid
Can You Take Prenatal Vitamins If Youre Not Pregnant
One of the top questions on a patients mind is: Can you take prenatal vitamins if youre not pregnant?
If youre planning to get pregnant you can start taking folic acid supplements. Half of the United States pregnancies are unplanned, so prenatals can protect your pregnancy from complications, as some defects can appear in the early stages of the pregnancy.
However, if you dont want to get pregnant, its best to follow a healthy diet and get the nutrients you need from food. Prenatals can cause adverse effects if you take more than you need to.
When Should I Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Ideally, you would begin taking prenatal vitamins a few months before you wanted to try to conceive. Taking them once you stop using birth control and begin to try in earnest would be beneficial. However, about half of all pregnancies are unplanned. This is why folic acid, specifically, and a multi-vitamin, in general, is recommended for all women of childbearing age, even when they are not trying to get pregnant.
Read Also: How To Know What Vitamins You Need
Can Prenatal Vitamins Make You Gain Weight
Were supported by moms. When you buy through links on our site, As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission.
You might have recently become pregnant. You may also be wondering, can prenatal vitamins make me gain weight? Most moms expect some weight gain when they become pregnant. They take the opportunity to show off their cute baby bumps during their first pregnancy. Often, during the second pregnancy, its the opposite. Mothers hope to gain as little weight as much as possible so they can return to their previous body as soon as possible.
New reports are circulating on the internet and other sources that prenatal vitamin makes pregnant mothers gain weight. I am concerned that inaccurate information is causing undue anxiety. Id like to disperse any rumors and provide accurate information.
The Ideal Time To Start A Prenatal Is One To Three Months Before Trying To Conceive
The main reason for this is due to the large number of unintended pregnancies. A study published in 2016 revealed that a staggering 45% of pregnancies in the US are unplanned. The window during which folate supplementation is most important is in the first 21 to 28 days after conception, which is way before many of these pregnancies are unrecognized. Its no wonder this recommendation was made as a precaution of sorts.
I will pause a moment here to say that if you are a reproductive age woman who is not trying to get pregnant and is on reliable birth control , then this recommendation isnt necessarily applicable.
Why are those first three to four weeks of pregnancy so important? The neural tube is the precursor structure that will eventually become the brain, spine, and spinal cord in the fetus later on in the pregnancy. Neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly occur when the neural tube doesnt close when it is supposed to. Neural tube closure is usually complete by the 28th day after conceptionwhich, if the pregnancy wasnt planned, is likely well before a woman knows that shes pregnant. As the most common major malformation of the central nervous system, this is an important risk to consider and try to prevent.
The other nutrients in prenatal vitamins arent quite as time-sensitive, so I wont delve into them here, but you can check out this article to learn more.
Recommended Reading: What Mg Of Vitamin C Should I Take