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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When Should You Stop Taking Prenatal Vitamins
King says if youre not breastfeeding your child, its okay to switch back to a daily multivitamin after birth.
If youre breastfeeding, its encouraged to continue taking prenatal vitamins until you stop breastfeeding to keep taking in nutrients that provide benefits for both you and your baby.
But, King adds, if you choose to switch back to your daily multivitamin while breastfeeding, thats okay, too. You want to make sure youre optimizing your nutrition since youre providing those nutrients to the baby. As long as youre getting the appropriate amount of those vitamins and nutrients, thats whats most important.
How We Chose The Best 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.
See registry advice and a custom baby gear checklist
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Folic Acid Before And During Pregnancy
Its important to take a 400 micrograms folic acid tablet every day before you’re pregnant and until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.
Folic acid can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, including spina bifida.
If you did not take folic acid before you conceived, you should start as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
Try to eat green leafy vegetables which contain folate and breakfast cereals and fat spreads with folic acid added to them.
It’s difficult to get the amount of folate recommended for a healthy pregnancy from food alone, which is why it’s important to take a folic acid supplement.
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.
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Prenatal Vitamins Before Pregnancy
It is perfectly safe to take prenatal vitamins before pregnancy. Its important for women who are trying to conceive to build up their stores of folic acid, iron, calcium, and other vital minerals and vitamins to prepare their bodies when they need to support a growing baby.
Some women take prenatal vitamins with the intention of growing stronger nails and thicker hair. These claims are unproven. In fact, it may not be safe for just any woman to take prenatal vitamins since they are specially formulated for supporting healthy pregnancies and may contain too much of the vitamins and minerals that the average woman may not need.
Is It Okay To Take Gummy Prenatal Vitamins
Yes, especially if you have trouble swallowing pills or you cant stomach a horse-sized capsule without triggering another bout of morning sickness.
But there are some drawbacks to prenatal gummies . In general, gummies contain fewer nutrients than the prenatals that come in pill form, says Hillary Wright, R.D., director of nutrition at the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF oftentimes, theyre also lacking iron.
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Best Prenatal Vitamins Before Pregnancy
Congratulations, you are thinking about getting pregnant! Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times of your life, and you may be wonder, do prenatal vitamins help you get pregnant? However, the short answer is no they help prevent pregnancy complications, such as low birth weight and premature birth. Ultimately helping you experience a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.
Prenatal multivitamins may not help your chances of getting pregnant, but they reduce your chances of birth defects. Their use significantly helps reduce the likelihood of neural tube defects, spina bifida and is associates with a lower risk of miscarriage. Think of them as an extra insurance policy with essential nutrients that help fill the nutritional gap of your daily food intake.
We recommend you add a prenatal multivitamin before getting pregnant. While doing this may not make you pregnant, it may help prepare your body to nourish your eggs and aid your uterus to be in optimal condition for implantation. Here are the benefits of taking prenatal vitamins before pregnancy.
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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.
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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 .
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Talk To A Doctor If You Have A Long
If you have a long-term condition, such as epilepsy or diabetes, it could affect the decisions you make about your pregnancy for example, where you might want to give birth.
Before you get pregnant, have a discussion with your specialist or a GP about getting pregnant.
If youre taking medicine for a condition, do not stop taking it without talking to a doctor.
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Prenatal Vitamins When Not Pregnant
Youve likely already heard a lot about prenatals, and thats because taking a daily prenatal vitamin is important for a healthy pregnancy journey. So you know that theyre good for youbut why are these pills so important for pregnancy and what do they do, anyway? Could taking a prenatal vitamin improve your chances of getting pregnant? When should you start taking them?
Dont worry, were here to help straighten out the details!
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How Can You Get Folic Acid From Food
You can get folic acid from food. Some foods are fortified with folic acid. Fortified means a food has folic acid added to it. Check the product label to see how much folic acid you get in each serving. Look for the word fortified or enriched on labels on foods like:
- Products made from a kind of flour called corn masa, like tortillas, tortilla chips, taco shells, tamales and pupusas
- White rice
Some fruits and vegetables are good sources of folic acid. When folic acid is found naturally in food its called folate. Foods that are good sources of folate are:
- Beans, like lentils, pinto beans and black beans
- Leafy green vegetables, like spinach and Romaine lettuce
- Citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruit
- Orange juice
Its hard to get all of the folic acid you need from food. Even if you eat foods that have folic acid in them, take your vitamin supplement each day, too.
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You May Not Need A Prenatal Vitamin
Most doctors recommend their pregnant patients take vitamin supplements, but they do not need to be specifically formulated for pregnancy. There are also some good multivitamins available that are safe during pregnancy.
In choosing a multivitamin, ensure that it has an adequate amount of folate or folic acid and the right amounts of other vitamins and minerals. Some vitamins, like vitamin A, in high doses, can cause birth defects. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin A for pregnant people is 770 mcg.
What Are The Benefits Of Folic Acid During Pregnancy
Your baby may have problems with their neural tubes if there is not enough folic acid. These include:
- Spina Bifida: incomplete development of the spine cord or vertebrae
- Anencephaly incomplete development of major brain parts
Babies born with anencephaly are less likely to live long. Spina bifida can cause permanent disability. These are serious problems. The good news is that your baby may be protected by at least 50% if they get enough folic acid.
The CDC states that folic acid can reduce the risk of your child having a neural tube defect if you have had a previous baby. It is recommended to increase your daily intake of folic acid if you have ever had a child with a neural tube defect. Talk to your doctor about the amount you should be taking. Folic acid can also be taken during and before pregnancy to protect your baby from:
- Cleft lip & palate
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Which Vitamins And Minerals Are Most Important And Why
The three most important nutrients, based on very good research, are folic acid, iron and calcium, says Kukreja. Folic acid helps prevent neural-tube defects iron is important for the delivery of oxygen to the baby and prevents anemia in the mom and calcium helps build your babys bones and prevents bone loss in the mother.
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 youre 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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It Can Reduce The Risk Of Preterm Birth
If you start taking prenatal vitamins before trying to conceive, it can help lower the chances of giving birth before term. Thanks to the key nutrients found in many prenatal vitamins they provide that boost in nourishment to avoid these irregularities. The proof? Recent research suggests that these vitamins reduce the risk of preterm labor by one-half!
Regular Exercise Is Key To Better Sperm Quality
Theres an entire body of evidence proving that regular exercise improves sperm quality. And since sperm quality plays a critical role not only in conception, but the health of the placenta and the lifelong health of your future baby, well, thats pretty compelling motivation for a serious gym habit.
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Taking Prenatal Vitamins When Not Pregnant
Once you give birth, should you stop taking a prenatal multivitamin? No, you can still take your prenatal to ensure youre still getting the nutrients you need after a demanding nine months, especially if youre nursing. But you might want to switch to postnatal vitamins if youre breastfeeding. Why? They contain essential vitamins and minerals to support the nutrient needs of nursing moms and their babies.
What about taking prenatal vitamins when not pregnant? Generally, its a good idea for women of reproductive age to regularly take a prenatal multivitamin.2
The Bottom Line
If youre wondering when to start taking prenatal vitamins, its best to begin even before conception to ensure your body is adequately nourished and prepared for pregnancy. Because nutrient demands increase once pregnancy begins, a prenatal multivitamin helps fill in any nutritional gaps to help support the needs of mom and her growing baby. Breastfeeding moms will need extra nutritional support as well, which makes postnatal vitamins a great option.
Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.
Learn More About Pregnancy & Women’s Health:
This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information.
What Is A Prenatal Vitamin
A prenatal vitamin is a blend of supplemental vitamins and minerals crafted to meet the needs of women who are pregnant or could become pregnant. Prenatal multivitamins can provide reliable nutrition in vital areassupporting babys healthy development as well as moms prenatal wellness. Prenatals provide peace of mind that your body is getting the right foundational support at such an important time.
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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:
Frequently Asked Questionsexpand All
Folic acid, also known as folate, is a B vitamin that is important for pregnant women. Folic acid may help prevent major birth defects of the fetuss brain and spine called neural tube defects .
When you are pregnant you need 600 micrograms of folic acid each day. Because its hard to get this much folic acid from food alone, you should take a daily prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms starting at least 1 month before pregnancy and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Women who have had a child with an NTD should take 4 milligrams of folic acid each day as a separate supplement at least 3 months before pregnancy and for the first 3 months of pregnancy. You and your ob-gyn or other obstetric care provider can discuss whether you need to supplement with more than 400 micrograms daily.
Iron is used by your body to make the extra blood that you and your fetus need during pregnancy. Women who are not pregnant need 18 mg of iron per day. Pregnant women need more, 27 mg per day. This increased amount is found in most prenatal vitamins.
Calcium is a mineral that builds your fetuss bones and teeth. Women who are age 18 or younger need 1,300 mg of calcium per day. Women who are 19 or older need 1,000 mg per day.
Give you energy
Supply energy for your fetuss development
Promote good vision
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