Do You Have to Take Prenatal Vitamins The Whole 9 Months

You should not stop taking folic acid or other prenatal vitamins once you are pregnant. Keep taking these vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy to help reduce the risk of certain birth defects.

Taking folic acid and other prenatal vitamins can help reduce the risk of some birth defects. Keep taking prenatal vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy.

to help reduce the risk of some birth defects, it’s important to take prenatal vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy.

Prenatal vitamins are a safe and inexpensive way to make sure you’re getting the right amounts of key vitamins and minerals while pregnant. Keep taking prenatal vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy.

You need to take prenatal vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy. This helps to protect your baby’s brain and spinal cord development.

When to Stop Taking Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are important throughout your whole pregnancy, even after the first trimester.

There are a lot of limits on the types of medications and supplements you can take during pregnancy — but prenatal vitamins are not only allowed, they’re strongly recommended.

A good prenatal can help keep you and your growing baby healthy, ensuring that you’re both getting all the nutrients you need to make it through those 9 codependent months of pregnancy.

If prenatal vitamins are for you and baby, though, why do so many healthcare providers tell women to start taking them before pregnancy? Is that safe to do? Also, have you checked out the vitamin aisle lately? It’s chock-full of options.

Don’t stress — we’ve got you covered.

When should you start taking prenatal vitamins?

There are two answers here, but (spoiler alert!) neither involves waiting until your first trimester ultrasound.

When you decide to try for a pregnancy

Ready to start a family? In addition to scheduling a well visit with your gynecologist, quitting birth control, and cutting out unhealthy behaviors like smoking, you should start taking prenatal vitamins.

You won’t be able to predict how long it will take you to get pregnant — it could be weeks or months — and you won’t know you’ve been successful until a few weeks after conception. Prenatal vitamins are an important part of preconception care.

As soon as you find out you’re pregnant

If you aren’t already taking prenatal vitamins, you should start as soon as you get a positive pregnancy sign on that pee stick test.

Your OB-GYN may eventually suggest a specific brand or even offer you a prescription to make your vitamin-popping life easier, but you don’t have to wait — every day counts when you’re in the first trimester (more on why in a sec).

Why take them before you’re even pregnant?

Here’s the deal: Pregnancy takes a lot of you. Your cute little fetus is actually a major drain on your body’s natural resources, which is why you spend so much time in those 9 months feeling nauseatedexhausted, achy, crampy, moody, weepy, and forgetful.

Your baby gets all the nutrients it needs directly from you, so it’s easy to become deficient in important vitamins and minerals during pregnancy. Making sure your body has what it needs to nourish both of you is much easier if you get started before baby is in the picture.

Think of it like building up a reserve: If you have more than enough of the vitamins and nutrients you need to thrive, then you can afford to share those vitamins and nutrients with your baby as they grow.

What are the most important nutrients in prenatals, especially for the first month of pregnancy? 

While it’s 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 (ACOG), these are the most important nutrients you need:

Folic acid

The granddaddy of prenatal nutrients, this B vitamin is responsible for creating your baby’s neural tube, or the structure that eventually forms the brain and spinal column. Without a fully developed neural tube, a baby could be born with spina bifida or anencephaly.

Thankfully, the expertsTrusted Source are all in agreement here: Folic acid supplements significantly increase the likelihood of healthy neural tube growth. The American Academy of Pediatrics has long held the position that folic acid can reduce neural tube defects by at least 50 percent.

The only catch? The neural tube closes within the first 4 weeks after conception, which is often before or right after a woman realizes she’s pregnant.

Because folic acid is so effective — but only if you’re getting enough at just the right time — the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source recommends that all sexually active women of childbearing age take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily (either in a prenatal vitamin or an individual supplement).

That way, you’ll have it when you need it — even if you’re not expecting to! Once you’ve confirmed a pregnancy, you’ll need at least 600 mcg per day.

Iron

Iron supplies the fetus with blood and oxygen, helps build the placenta, and gives you the extra blood volume you need throughout pregnancy. Since pregnant women are prone to anemia, iron supplementation also ensures that you have the right amount of red blood cells in your blood.

Anemia during pregnancy is associated with higher rates of premature delivery and low infant birth weight.

Calcium

Your baby is spending a lot of time in your uterus building up their bones and teeth. In order to achieve this Herculean feat, they need plenty of calcium — which means you need plenty of calcium, too.

If you don’t get enough calcium, your baby will take whatever it needs straight from your bones during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This can lead to temporary bone loss.

Are there any side effects of taking prenatals while not pregnant?

Generally speaking, the vitamins and nutrients included in prenatals won’t cause detrimental side effects — if they did, pregnant women wouldn’t be encouraged to take them!

That said, prenatal vitamins do contain levels of nutrients specific to pregnant women, meaning they aren’t always the best choice for nonpregnant people on a long-term basis.

Your iron needs, for example, increase from 18 milligrams to 27 milligrams during pregnancy. While the short-term side effects of too much iron include mild GI upsets like constipation and nausea, over time that excess of nutrients could become more problematic.

Bottom line? If you’re not pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you can hold off on prenatals until you really need them (e.g., a few months before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and — often — for the duration of breastfeeding).

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 biotin’s hair, nail, and skin growth powers have circulated forever; many people take biotin supplements for this exact reason.

However, one study after anotherTrusted Source has failed to prove any significant beauty benefits to taking biotin, leaving the evidence to fall strictly in the anecdotal camp.

Besides biotin, though, there are some extra benefits to prenatals. If you take one with DHA, for example, you’ll be getting a boost of omega-3 fatty acids that may help your baby’s brain and eyes develop.

You may also get thyroid-regulating iodine, which can aid in your baby’s nervous system development.

Finally, there’s some researchTrusted Source 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 isn’t 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.

What should you look for in a daily prenatal?

There are dozens of options out there, but make sure you check for a few key things before buying a prenatal vitamin:

Regulatory oversight

This is a fancy way of reminding you to make sure some kind of certified organization has verified the health and ingredient claims made by your vitamin manufacturer.

Since the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate any dietary supplements, including prenatal vitamins, look for a thumbs-up from groups like the Office of Dietary Supplements or the U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention.

Prenatal vitamins are a key part of pregnancy, but if taken throughout the entire pregnancy, they can also help reduce the risk of some birth defects.

Pregnancy Vitamins to Avoid

Taking folic acid and other prenatal vitamins can help reduce the risk of some birth defects. Whether you are just starting your pregnancy or already a few months in, stay on top of your vitamin intake by taking the prenatal vitamin every day.

If you’re wondering whether you really need to keep taking prenatal vitamins, the answer is an emphatic yes. When you’re pregnant, your nutritional needs differ from your needs before pregnancy, and skipping prenatals could harm you and your baby. There are a few nutrients that are particularly important to your baby — read on to learn more — and prenatal vitamins help ensure your baby gets enough of them.

Calcium

Around 80 percent of your baby’s calcium stores are absorbed during the third trimester, according to Dr. Christopher S. Kovacs, Professor of Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Calcium absorption doubles during pregnancy to help meet the need. In the third trimester, your baby’s bones grow and become stronger. Calcium supplements can also have a modest effect on lowering your blood pressure and decreasing the risk of developing a serious complication of pregnancy called pre-eclampsia, according to a July 2006 Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews meta-analysis of studies conducted by South African researchers.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D not only facilitates the absorption of calcium, but also has health benefits of its own during pregnancy. Taking supplemental vitamin D during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy decreased the risk of vitamin D deficiency in newborns, according to a Boston Medical Center study reported in the April 2010 issue of “Pediatrics.” Vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets in infants, a softening of the bones that can lead to skeletal deformities.

Iron

Iron-deficiency anemia is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies during pregnancy and one that most often occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy, according to Health Canada. Your blood volume increases by 50 percent during pregnancy, the Linus Pauling Institute explains. With the increased blood volume comes the need for extra iron, which is carried in red blood cells. If you don’t get enough iron in the last trimester, you could become anemic, which can lead to fatigue and decreased resistance to infection. Severe iron-deficiency anemia might cause preterm delivery and/or low birthweight.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid, better known as DHA, help your baby’s brain and eyes develop properly during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester, when brain growth increases. It’s difficult to get enough DHA in your diet unless you consume fish regularly, which you might hesitate to do if you dislike fish or worry about mercury contamination. A Norwegian study published in the January 2003 issue of “Pediatrics” found that children of mothers who took omega-3 fatty acid supplements starting at week 18 of pregnancy scored higher on mental development tests at age 4 than those who took corn oil.

Other Vitamins

All other vitamins and minerals that contribute to good health when you’re not pregnant remain important during the last three months of pregnancy, including the B-complex vitamins, vitamins C, E and K and minerals such as magnesium, iodine and zinc. Vitamin supplements should be considered a supplement and not a substitute for a healthy diet, MayoClinic.com cautions.

Taking folic acid and other prenatal vitamins can help reduce the risk of some birth defects. Whether you are just starting your pregnancy or already a few months in, stay on top of your vitamin intake by taking the prenatal vitamin every day.

How Long Is Too Long to Take Prenatal Vitamins

When you decide to try to conceive, it’s a good idea to begin taking a daily prenatal vitamin right away. Ideally you should start prenatal vitamins at least one month before pregnancy—and CERTAINLY during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy when baby’s development is at its most critical point.

Taking prenatals when you’re trying to conceive can help ensure that your baby gets the vitamins and minerals he or she needs. Ideally, you should start taking prenatal vitamins at least one month before pregnancy—and CERTAINLY during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy when baby’s development is at its most critical point.

Taking prenatal vitamins during pregnancy can provide your baby with critical nutrients that cannot be found in most foods. The ideal time to begin taking prenatal vitamins is long before you are even trying to conceive. ideally it should begin at least one month before pregnancy–and certainly during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy when baby’s development is at its most critical point.

Start taking a daily prenatal vitamin at least one month before pregnancy. Ideally, you should start taking a prenatal vitamin while you’re trying to conceive and continue taking it throughout your pregnancy.

Will My Baby Be Ok If iI Didn’t Take Prenatal Vitamins

Even if you eat a super healthy diet, you still need prenatal vitamins. It takes a lot of vitamins and minerals to grow a baby! Prenatal vitamins give you extra amounts of these three key nutrients for pregnant women: Folic acid helps your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop correctly. Iron helps your blood keep oxygen carrying red blood cells. Vitamin D helps make sure that your bones and muscles stay strong during pregnancy.

Even if you eat a super healthy diet, you still need prenatal vitamins. It takes a lot of vitamins and minerals to grow a baby! Prenatal vitamins give you extra amounts of these three key nutrients for pregnant women: Folic acid helps your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop correctly.

Even if you eat a super healthy diet, you still need prenatal vitamins. It takes a lot of vitamins and minerals to grow a baby! Prenatal vitamins give you extra amounts of these three key nutrients for pregnant women: Folic acid helps your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop correctly. The other two are important too: iron helps support your energy levels during pregnancy, while calcium is essential for bone health.

Even if you eat a super healthy diet, you still need prenatal vitamins. It takes a lot of vitamins and minerals to grow a baby! Prenatal vitamins give you extra amounts of these three key nutrients for pregnant women: Folic acid helps your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop correctly. Iron helps your baby’s blood cells form, which means less anemia during pregnancy. Calcium also helps your baby’s bones develop as well as strong teeth throughout life.

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