When you’re first trying to conceive, you may feel overwhelmed by how much you don’t know – especially if it’s your first! While there are all kinds of medical information out there about preparing your body the best you can to have a baby, there’s one piece of advice that you should definitely pay attention to: take prenatal vitamins.
Now, you might be thinking, “I’ve only just started trying, I’m not even pregnant yet! Why do I need a prenatal vitamin?”
Prenatal vitamins are so important for the health of not only you but also that of your developing baby. Here’s what you need to know.
Why Taking Prenatal Vitamins is So Important (Even Before You’re Pregnant)
Prenatal vitamins are different than other vitamins.
Prenatal vitamins tend to have higher amounts of folic acid and iron than other adult multivitamins. While a multivitamin is great, once you conceive you’re sharing all of your vitamins and nutrients with a baby who’s going to take everything it needs.
And, while a healthy diet is the best way to get most of your vitamins and nutrients, taking a super-powered vitamin (like a prenatal vitamin) can help you to fill in some of those gaps during pregnancy.
They significantly reduce developmental risks.
It’s also important for you to take a prenatal vitamin during conception and pregnancy. Studies have shown that it greatly reduces the chance of developmental abnormalities.
For example, folic acid in prenatal vitamins helps to prevent neural tube defects. Neural tube defects can cause serious abnormalities in your baby’s brain and spinal cord. The additional iron in these vitamins helps to support your baby’s growth and development and prevents anemia (a condition that causes a low number of red blood cells).
You should take them before you get pregnant.
This might seem counterintuitive, but it’s vitally important! The key to reaping the health benefits of prenatal vitamins is to take them before you even conceive. This is because your baby’s neural tube, spinal cord, and brain start developing fast. Oftentimes, they may develop before you even realize you’re pregnant!
By taking prenatal vitamins early, you’ve ensured that your system has plenty of folic acid and iron. This will help to support a new embryo when conception finally occurs.
Best Prenatal Vitamins
Not all prenatal vitamins are the same. While it may be tempting to choose the lowest-cost, over-the-counter prenatal vitamin, also consider taking prescription vitamins to ensure you and your baby are getting all the nutrients you need.
Another advantage of prescription prenatal vitamins is that they are regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, so they are regulated and considered safe. If cost is a concern, many prescription prenatal vitamins offer discount coupons and/or are covered by insurance.
In addition to folic acid and iron (mentioned above), be sure your prenatal vitamins contains calcium and vitamin D, which help promote the healthy development of the baby’s bones and teeth. Other key vitamins to include are vitamins A, C, E, B, Zinc, and Iodine.
Be sure to ask your doctor about possibly taking Omega-3 in addition to the prenatal vitamin. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for a developing baby’s health and taking a supplement can help pregnant women consume what they need. If the prenatal vitamin prescribed to you doesn’t include Omega-3, you may need to take a supplementary gelcap.
About One-A-Day Prenatal Vitamins
One-A-Day prenatal vitamins can be a popular choice for pregnant women, especially because of the low cost.
There are two parts to One-A-Day prenatal vitamins: a multivitamin and a DHA pill. DHA is an Omega-3 essential fatty acid that can be a primary building block for the baby’s healthy development of the brain, cells, eyes, and nervous system.
One-A-Day vitamins have a high level of desired folic acid, which is good, however, they do not contain Vitamin K, and are lower in Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iodine.
Taking Prenatal Vitamins When Trying to Conceive
If you’re trying to conceive, be sure to visit your doctor first for a checkup and ask them about taking prenatal vitamins. They may want to discuss your health history with you and any other medications that you’re taking at that time. Plus, they may provide specific recommendations for prenatal vitamins.
Trying to conceive is an exciting (and sometimes confusing) time! For more tips on prenatal care, check out our guide on how to get pregnant and prepare your body for conception.
Always consult your doctor before adding additional vitamins and supplements to your regimen when trying to conceive.
Have you *finally* gotten your BFP? Are you looking for an OB/Gyn? Let us join you on your pregnancy journey. Call our office at 520.721.8605 to book an appointment today!
This post was originally published on August 29, 2019.