Get ready for pregnancy with these essential vitamins that can give your baby the best start in life. Vitamins are not only a joy to take and to feel their healing effects, but they can also help you in the early stages of pregnancy. As a mother-to-be, it is important for you to take care of your health so as not overexcite your body, which can lead to pregnancy complications that may endanger your life and that of your baby
The right vitamins can support your developing baby’s health. They’ll help to keep you healthy, too. The need for vitamins grows as you get older. Your overall health and your body’s condition plays a huge role in the development of your baby, so it’s important to be sure that you are getting enough daily vitamins and minerals at this stage.
During pregnancy, your body requires a lot of the essential vitamins and minerals so that you don’t miss out on important nutrients. Vitamin B1 helps your body break down glucose and helps to prevent low blood sugar. Vitamin B3 metabolizes sugars and fat to produce energy in cells. Vitamin C is vital for the synthesis of collagen, an essential part of bones, tendons, skin and blood vessels. An increase in vitamin D levels is believed to benefit both mother and baby because it can help maintain healthy teeth and bones during pregnancy as well as support fetal brain development A healthy pregnancy requires a healthy routine. That’s why we recommend these vitamins, which are specially formulated to support your baby’s development during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. These vitamins contain more iron than most other prenatal multivitamins to help prevent anemia and boost energy levels — ensuring you’re in great shape when it matters most.
Is Prenatal Vitamins Good For Early Pregnancy
Prenatal vitamins are good for early pregnancy because they help prevent the deficiency of folic acid and other vitamins for mothers in the first three months of pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins are essential for any expecting mother, but they’re even more important in early pregnancy.
Prenatal vitamins can help improve your pregnancy and birth outcomes. Here’s why you should start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you know you’re expecting: The answer is yes. If you are pregnant with your first child, then prenatal vitamin supplements are a great way to minimize any problems or risks occurring during pregnancy. The B vitamins contained in these supplements can help support red blood cell production and protein synthesis, which aid in the growth of a growing baby.
What Vitamins Are Best For Early Pregnancy
Vitamins for pregnancy are an excellent way to ensure that you are getting the nutrients your body needs to support a healthy pregnancy. Here’s what vitamins are best for early pregnancy and why!
There are many different vitamins that you can use during pregnancy. It is important to take a prenatal vitamin every day that provides you with the proper nutrition and vitamins necessary to maintain a healthy pregnancy. The Vitamin C for early pregnancy can help strengthen your immune system and also help you maintain a healthy physique. It helps in repairing tissue and giving energy to your body, which is required in large amounts when you are pregnant. This vitamin also helps in producing collagen, which is important for compacting of the joints
When you start to think about trying for a baby (or perhaps you’re early in your pregnancy), one of the first things you should do is to start taking a prenatal vitamin. It’s an important and easy step to take for your own health, the health of your pregnancy, as well as the health of your future little one. Here’s everything you need to know about prenatal vitamins.
Why Are Prenatal Vitamins Important?
Prenatal vitamins contain all of the recommended daily vitamins and minerals a mama-to-be’s body needs before and during pregnancy—which helps in turn to ensure your growing baby also gets what they need. In fact, some of the vitamins and minerals found in a prenatal vitamin can even help lessen the chance of birth defects.
For some women, taking a prenatal vitamin before getting pregnant can even help reduce the dreaded nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness…a great reason to take a prenatal vitamin in and of itself!
How Is a Prenatal Vitamin Different From a Normal Multivitamin?
Prenatal vitamins are made specifically for pregnant ladies, and specifically contain the recommended levels of folic acid and iron to support you and your pregnancy.
You should take a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid (also known as folate) every day, as folic acid helps prevent major birth defects of the fetus’ brain and spine (called neural tube defects). Pregnant mamas actually need 600 micrograms of folic acid each day—but because it’s hard to get this much from diet alone, your prenatal vitamin should have at least 400 micrograms (and up to 800 micrograms).
Your body will also need to make extra blood to support the development of your placenta and baby during pregnancy. Women who aren’t pregnant need 18 milligrams of iron each day—while pregnant women need 27 milligrams per day. This increased amount is usually found in most prenatal vitamins (make sure you check your labels!).
Some prenatal vitamins also contain fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (commonly referred to as DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA). These “good fats” help with baby’s development—with DHA specifically accumulating in the brain and eyes of the baby, especially during the third trimester of pregnancy.
Other vitamins and minerals that are important during pregnancy include: calcium, vitamin D, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and vitamin C. While a prenatal vitamin is important for delivering a bulk of your daily vitamins and minerals, it’s also important to eat a well-balanced diet on top of it to make sure you’re getting all of the good stuff to help your body grow your baby.
When Should I Start Taking a Prenatal Vitamin?
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.
Many providers recommend that mamas should continue taking prenatal vitamins the entire way through their pregnancy—and if you’re breastfeeding, throughout the length of time you breastfeed or pump for your baby. Long story short—in most cases if mama is getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals in her diet, her growing baby (whether during pregnancy or breastfeeding) will too!
You should take some time to discuss prenatal vitamins with your provider before getting pregnant to ensure you’re getting what you need for a health pregnancy and baby. Based on your health history, diet or bloodwork, your provider might recommend additional vitamins or minerals to supplement your prenatal vitamin.
The most important vitamins during pregnancy are folic acid, vitamin C and iron. These nutrients contribute to a healthy pregnancy, decrease the risk of birth defects, help prevent anemia and support your immune system. In addition to these 3 nutrients you’ll get from food, your doctor may recommend a prenatal vitamin as well. While there are many vitamins and minerals that play a part in the health of your baby, folate and vitamin B6 are particularly important during those first trimester months. These nutrients help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. You should also get enough riboflavin and nicotinate for proper cell division, especially if you’re a vegan (vitamin B12 can be hard to absorb).
Vitamins are the best way to get nutrients that you might not be getting. Think of your body like an engine and the vitamins are like the fuel it needs to run at optimal levels.
What Supplements Should I Take During Early Pregnancy
Early pregnancy is a time to focus on health and nutrition. It’s also the time to start taking supplements. Find out which essential vitamins and minerals are right for you during your first three months of pregnancy. The first trimester is supposed to be one of the easiest of your pregnancy, but with all those hormones swirling inside you, it can often feel anything but. Your hunger pangs and cravings will likely be stronger than usual, so make sure you’re getting enough calories and nutrients by stocking up on healthy food, taking prenatal vitamins and supplements during early pregnancy.
Folic acid is a form of folate (a B vitamin) that everyone needs. If you can get pregnant or are pregnant, folic acid is especially important. Folic acid protects unborn babies against serious birth defects. You can get folic acid from vitamins and fortified foods, such as breads, pastas and cereals. Folate is found naturally in foods such as leafy green vegetables, oranges, and beans.Collapse All
What are folic acid and folate?
Folic acid is the man-made form of folate, a B vitamin. Folate is found naturally in certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Folic acid is found in vitamins and fortified foods.
Folic acid and folate help the body make healthy new red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to all the parts of your body. If your body does not make enough red blood cells, you can develop anemia. Anemia happens when your blood cannot carry enough oxygen to your body, which makes you pale, tired, or weak. Also, if you do not get enough folic acid, you could develop a type of anemia called folate-deficiency anemia.
Why do women need folic acid?
Everyone needs folic acid to be healthy. But it is especially important for women:
- Before and during pregnancy. Folic acid protects unborn children against serious birth defects called neural tube defects. These birth defects happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman knows she is pregnant. Folic acid might also help prevent other types of birth defects and early pregnancy loss (miscarriage). Since about half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned1, experts recommend all women get enough folic acid even if you are not trying to get pregnant.
- To keep the blood healthy by helping red blood cells form and grow. Not getting enough folic acid can lead to a type of anemia called folate-deficiency anemia. Folate-deficiency anemia is more common in women of childbearing age than in men.
How do I get folic acid?
You can get folic acid in two ways.
- Through the foods you eat. Folate is found naturally in some foods, including spinach, nuts, and beans. Folic acid is found in fortified foods (called “enriched foods”), such as breads, pastas, and cereals. Look for the term “enriched” on the ingredients list to find out whether the food has added folic acid.
- As a vitamin. Most multivitamins sold in the United States contain 400 micrograms, or 100% of the daily value, of folic acid. Check the label to make sure.
How much folic acid do women need?
All women need 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. Women who can get pregnant should get 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid from a vitamin or from food that has added folic acid, such as breakfast cereal.2 This is in addition to the folate you get naturally from food.
Some women may need more folic acid each day. See the chart to find out how much folic acid you need.
|Amount of folic acid you may need daily2
|Could get pregnant or are pregnant
|400–800 micrograms.2 Your doctor may prescribe a prenatal vitamin with more.
|Had a baby with a neural tube defect (such as spina bifida) and want to get pregnant again
|4,000 micrograms. Your doctor may prescribe this amount. Research shows taking this amount may lower the risk of having another baby with spina bifida.3
|Have a family member with spina bifida and could get pregnant
|4,000 micrograms. Your doctor may prescribe this amount.
|Have spina bifida and want to get pregnant
|4,000 micrograms. Your doctor may prescribe this amount. Women with spina bifida have a higher risk of having children with the condition.
|Take medicines to treat epilepsy, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus
|Talk to your doctor or nurse. Folic acid supplements can interact with these medicines.
|Are on dialysis for kidney disease
|Talk to your doctor or nurse.
|Have a health condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease, that affects how your body absorbs folic acid
|Talk to your doctor or nurse.
Are some women at risk for not getting enough folic acid?
Yes, certain groups of women do not get enough folic acid each day.4
- Women who can get pregnant need more folic acid (400 to 800 micrograms).2
- Nearly one in three African-American women does not get enough folic acid each day.
- Spanish-speaking Mexican-American women often do not get enough folic acid. However, Mexican-Americans who speak English usually get enough folic acid.5
What can happen if I do not get enough folic acid during pregnancy?
If you do not get enough folic acid before and during pregnancy, your baby is at higher risk for neural tube defects.
Neural tube defects are serious birth defects that affect the spine, spinal cord, or brain and may cause death. These include:
- Spina bifida.6 This condition happens when an unborn baby’s spinal column does not fully close during development in the womb, leaving the spinal cord exposed. As a result, the nerves that control the legs and other organs do not work. Children with spina bifida often have lifelong disabilities. They may also need many surgeries.
- Anencephaly.7 This means that most or all of the brain and skull does not develop in the womb. Almost all babies with this condition die before or soon after birth.
Do I need to take folic acid every day even if I’m not planning to get pregnant?
Yes. All women who can get pregnant need to take 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid every day, even if you’re not planning to get pregnant.2 There are several reasons why:
- Your birth control may not work or you may not use birth control correctly every time you have sex. In a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 40% of women with unplanned pregnancies were using birth control.8
- Birth defects of the brain and spine can happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before you know you are pregnant. By the time you find out you are pregnant, it might be too late to prevent the birth defects.
- You need to take folic acid every day because it is a water soluble B-vitamin. Water soluble means that it does not stay in the body for a long time. Your body metabolizes (uses) folic acid quickly, so your body needs folic acid each day to work properly.
What foods contain folate?
Folate is found naturally in some foods. Foods that are naturally high in folate include:
- Spinach and other dark green, leafy vegetables
- Oranges and orange juice
- Poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.) and meat
- Whole grains
What foods contain folic acid?
Folic acid is added to foods that are refined or processed (not whole grain):
- Breakfast cereals (Some have 100% of the recommended daily value — or 400 micrograms — of folic acid in each serving.)
- Breads and pasta
- White rice
Since 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required food manufacturers to add folic acid to processed breads, cereals, flours, cornmeal, pastas, rice, and other grains.9 For other foods, check the Nutrition Facts label on the package to see if it has folic acid. The label will also tell you how much folic acid is in each serving. Sometimes, the label will say “folate” instead of folic acid.
How can I be sure I get enough folic acid?
You can get enough folic acid from food alone. Many breakfast cereals have 100% of your recommended daily value (400 micrograms) of folic acid.
If you are at risk for not getting enough folic acid, your doctor or nurse may recommend that you take a vitamin with folic acid every day. Most U.S. multivitamins have at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Check the label on the bottle to be sure. You can also take a pill that contains only folic acid.
If swallowing pills is hard for you, try a chewable or liquid product with folic acid.
What should I look for when buying vitamins with folic acid?
Look for “USP” or “NSF” on the label when choosing vitamins. These “seals of approval” mean the pills are made properly and have the amounts of vitamins it says on the label. Also, make sure the pills have not expired. If the bottle has no expiration date, do not buy it.
Ask your pharmacist for help with selecting a vitamin or folic acid-only pill. If you are pregnant and already take a daily prenatal vitamin, you probably get all the folic acid you need. Check the label to be sure.
Check the “Supplement Facts” label to be sure you are getting 400 to 800 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid.2
Can I get enough folic acid from food alone?
Yes, many people get enough folic acid from food alone. Some foods have high amounts of folic acid. For example, many breakfast cereals have 100% of the recommended daily value (400 micrograms) of folic acid in each serving. Check the label to be sure.
Some women, especially women who could get pregnant, may not get enough folic acid from food. African-American women and Mexican Americans are also at higher risk for not getting enough folic acid each day. Talk to your doctor or nurse about whether you should take a vitamin to get the 400 micrograms of folic acid you need each day.
What is folate-deficiency anemia?
Folate-deficiency anemia is a type of anemia that happens when you do not get enough folate. Folate-deficiency anemia is most common during pregnancy. Other causes of folate-deficiency anemia include alcoholism and certain medicines to treat seizures, anxiety, or arthritis.
The symptoms of folate-deficiency anemia include:
- Pale skin
- Sore mouth and tongue
If you have folate-deficiency anemia, your doctor may recommend taking folic acid vitamins and eating more foods with folate.
Can I get too much folic acid?
Yes, you can get too much folic acid, but only from man-made products such as multivitamins and fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals. You can’t get too much from foods that naturally contain folate.
You should not get more than 1,000 micrograms of folic acid a day, unless your doctor prescribes a higher amount. Too much folic acid can hide signs that you lack vitamin B12, which can cause nerve damage.10
Do I need folic acid after menopause?
Yes. Women who have gone through menopause still need 400 micrograms of folic acid every day for good health. Talk to your doctor or nurse about how much folic acid you need.
Because of the increased hormonal disruptions that occur during pregnancy, it becomes important to include a multivitamin supplement in your diet as well. This will help to make sure that you’re getting all of the nutrients that you need without having to worry about the effects of different foods on your unborn baby. An optimal diet is essential for every stage of life, but it’s especially important during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins help ensure that you are getting all the nutrients you need for you and your baby. The key components to look for in a prenatal vitamin are iron and calcium. The baby needs these nutrients to grow strong bones, teeth, and muscles.
Regardless of your initial reason for taking prenatal vitamins, you should seek guidance from a doctor or health care professional. Ideally, you’ll begin taking your vitamin before becoming pregnant, but you may still be able to benefit from the vitamins if you began them after conception. Your body is working hard to grow a baby—and that’s not an easy task. Your health care provider may recommend taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid to reduce the risk of certain birth defects.