Vitamins are essential to a healthy diet, and prenatal vitamins are no exception.
In terms of fertility, there are many things you can do to improve your chances of getting pregnant and staying pregnant, but taking your vitamins is one of the easiest ways to ensure your and your baby’s health long term.
Prenatal or Preconception Vitamins are nutritional supplements containing a combination of vitamins and minerals that are important for the mother and the developing baby.
Although you can get some of these nutrients from food, it’s often difficult to get enough of them through diet alone.
Thus prenatal or Pre-pregnancy Vitamins are typically taken by women trying to conceive, but they can also be beneficial for women who are already pregnant.
If you want to know more about the importance of taking pre-pregnancy vitamins, read below.
Prenatal vitamins contain the proper nutrients.
There are multiple reasons why you should take pre-conception vitamins before you get pregnant. For one, these vitamins can help ensure that you have sufficient nutrients in your body during pregnancy.
There are five essential vitamins -most pregnant women need folic acid, iron, iodine, calcium, and vitamin D.
Let’s discuss the importance and benefits of each vitamin below:
Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin in leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fortified foods. It is essential for developing the neural tube, which becomes the baby’s brain and spinal cord.
A shortage of folic acid in the diet can lead to a neural tube defect (NTD) congenital disability. NTDs develop when the neural tube does not close properly during early development.
The most common type of NTD is spina bifida, which can cause paralysis of the legs and difficulty with bowel and bladder control.
To minimize your chance of having a baby with an NTD, doctors recommend taking a daily supplement of 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate (the natural form of folic acid) for at least a month before conception throughout the first three months of pregnancy.
This is in addition to eating a diet rich in folate-containing foods.
This mineral is essential for producing haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
If a woman does not have enough iron in her diet, she may develop iron-deficiency anaemia, which can cause fatigue and other health problems.
During pregnancy, blood in a woman’s body increases by about 50%. This increase in blood volume means more oxygen is needed to support the growing fetus.
Good sources of iron include lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, dark leafy vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals and bread.
This is another essential nutrient found in preconception vitamins. Iodine is a mineral needed to produce thyroid hormones to regulate the body’s metabolism.
During pregnancy, a woman’s iodine requirements increase because the developing baby also needs iodine for proper growth and development.
Suppose a woman does not have enough iodine in her diet. In that case, she may be at risk for developing hypothyroidism, which can lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as miscarriage, premature delivery, and low birth weight.
The best way to get iodine is from food, and the best food sources of iodine are seafood and iodized salt.
However, not everyone likes seafood or can afford it every day, so taking a prenatal vitamin containing iodine is an excellent way to ensure you’re getting enough.
This is another nutrient that is important for pregnant women.
Good sources of calcium include dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yoghurt; leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale; fish with edible bones such as sardines and salmon; and tofu.
Calcium helps establish solid bones and teeth for the mother and baby.
Calcium can also help prevent preeclampsia, which can occur during pregnancy and lead to high blood pressure and other problems.
This is another vital nutrient found in most preconception vitamins.
Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium and essential for developing strong bones and teeth.
It also plays a role in immunity and cell growth. Pregnant women who don’t get enough vitamin D risk developing preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and other complications.
To get the recommended daily amount of vitamin D, it is crucial to spend time in the sun or take a supplement that contains vitamin D.
Prenatal vitamins help when you’re trying to conceive
Many doctors recommend women trying to get pregnant take prenatal vitamins. This way, they can ensure they get all the nutrients they need for a healthy pregnancy.
Despite being overlooked, preconception vitamins can significantly improve your health and your baby’s health both before and during pregnancy.
The good news is that all women of childbearing age can use both vitamin supplements. Thus, taking prenatal vitamins won’t necessarily harm you if you’re not pregnant right now.
Many natural preconception vitamins are currently available online or in-store. Pharmaceutical companies create these vitamins for use by a woman trying to conceive, but women who want to get pregnant can also take them.
Essential for women with a history of infertility or difficulty conceiving
Prenatal vitamins are a supplement that includes many of the essential nutrients needed for a developing baby. Thus, they can be helpful if you’ve had a baby with a congenital disability or if you’re at significant risk of having a baby with a pre-birth illness.
Healthcare professionals link prenatal vitamins to a lower risk of preterm labour and low birth weight. So if you’re trying to conceive, taking prenatal vitamins can help give your baby a healthy start.
Helps with minor adjustments to a woman once she’s pregnant
It’s good to start taking prenatal vitamins at least three months before you get pregnant.
Doing this will help ensure that your body has enough time to store these critical nutrients. You’ll also be less likely to experience morning sickness and other pregnancy symptoms.
Final Check Up: More facts to guide you in your journey
Most women don’t want to take pills unless they feel they’re getting some benefit, but if you’re pregnant or at risk of it, you may find that the benefits outweigh their potential side effects for most women.
Despite being overlooked, preconception vitamins can significantly improve your health both before and during pregnancy.
After all, health and wellness are essential in the days and weeks leading up to conception—and they’ll also be important throughout your pregnancy. And if preventative measures help keep your body in optimum working order, that’s a win-win situation.
But, ultimately, taking a prenatal vitamin is a personal choice. We recommend talking with your doctor, who can walk you through the evidence and guide you to an informed decision.
Prenatal vitamins are accessible without a prescription, and you can find them at most pharmacies and grocery stores.
Check with your healthcare provider to see if they have any specific recommendations for brands or types of prenatal vitamins.
And be sure to take them before you get pregnant – the best time to start is a few months before conception. That way, you can be sure that your body has the nutrients needed to support a healthy pregnancy from the beginning.