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The Best Time To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins May Surprise You

by | September 16, 2019

So, you’re thinking of having a baby, and wondering when prenatal vitamins should come into play — we’ve got you covered.

Medical experts have said it’s ideal to start taking prenatal vitamins at least three months before conception.

That’s right. The best way to give your little one a super healthy start in life is by taking prenatal vitamins as soon as plans are in the works!

When you become pregnant, your little ridealong will naturally place greater demands, and strain, on your body – for nutrients and for energy, as the mothers among us can attest to.  

Prenatal vitamins help to minimize the risk of birth defects associated with this strain, and will enhance your child’s overall development. It will also help prevent depletion of your own vitamin and mineral supply while you’re expecting!

Woman who Takes Prenatal Vitamins
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Folic Acid And The Neural Tube

Though prenatal vitamins contain many of the same ingredients found in your everyday multivitamins, the higher levels of folic acid and iron that they contain are important for your pregnant, or soon-to-be pregnant body, and your baby.

Folic acid is a B vitamin, and it plays an important role in DNA production and the creation of new cells.

It can be difficult to get the required daily dose of 0.4 to 0.8mg from food — even if you are eating all the folate-rich dark, leafy greens, asparagus, nuts, and beans you can get your hands on or fit in your belly! For this reason, health professionals recommend supplementation — regardless of your diet.

You need iron to build new red blood cells, and your baby uses the folic acid to develop their neural tube — which becomes their brain and their spinal cord.

The window for proper neural-tube formation is early on in pregnancy. Neural tube defects develop only 21 to 28 days after conception

Neural tube defects are the second most common group of debilitating birth defects because they can form within the time before a woman even knows she’s pregnant.

Getting enough folic acid can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects by about 70 percent, helping to impede conditions that impact the skull, spine, and brain, for example: spina bifida and anencephaly, according to the CDC.

Pregnant Woman
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Prenatal Vitamins: Pregnancy and Post-Pregnancy

During pregnancy, prenatals are typically taken in the morning on an empty stomach.

However — if you find your daily dose causes nausea — take it with food or, if your morning sickness is actually confined to the morning, at night. If you really can’t keep them down or find that they cause symptoms like constipation, both of which are possible side effects of iron intake, you also have the option of taking a supplement with folate, that skips the iron.

After birth, don’t quit your prenatal vitamins right away! Continuing them can help protect both you and your baby from nutrient depletion and start your first months together off right — less a bit of sleep, granted. It’s recommended that you keep taking them for at least four to six weeks after birth, or until you stop breastfeeding,

Check out our list of recommended prenatal vitamins here.

When are you planning to start taking prenatal vitamins? Leave your comments below.


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