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’s 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)
They’re different from 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 now 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 because 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 of 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 which 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 be developed before you even realize you’re pregnant!
So, 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.
Always consult your doctor before adding additional vitamins and supplements to your regimen 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 a prenatal vitamin.
Also 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.
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 preparing your body for conception.
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