There are so many things that contribute to having a healthy pregnancy. You should strive for a healthy diet, regular physical activity, low stress levels, plenty of fluids, and consider starting a prenatal vitamin. Prenatal vitamins are one way to contribute to a healthy pregnancy!
These are supplements specifically crafted for pregnant women to ensure daily nutrient needs are being met, although they do not contain all the nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy. They contain different vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid/folate, other B vitamins, vitamin A, and more. It is typically a no-brainer to grab a prenatal vitamin once you find out you are pregnant. But it is actually advantageous to start taking them before!
Most health care professionals, including myself, recommend taking a prenatal vitamin before you even try to conceive. Really as soon as you know you will be trying even if it is greater than 6-months away. The more prepared you are for pregnancy, the better. That’s why today we’re dedicating a post to the benefits of prenatal vitamins before conception. Keep reading to learn why you should start taking prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant!
Benefits Of Taking A Prenatal Vitamin Before Pregnancy
You will develop healthier eggs.
Just like there are several pregnancy food myths, there’s also a widespread misconception about daily prenatal vitamins increasing your chances of getting pregnant. Just adding any ol’ prenatal vitamin to your routine won’t guarantee you get pregnant, unfortunately. But a nutrient-dense diet in combination with a prenatal vitamin can increase the likelihood of you conceiving. Nutrition is related to regulating your hormones and your hormones must be in balance for you to conceive. Your eggs start developing 90 days before they’re released from the ovaries. So you need to be meeting your nutrient needs far before seeing that positive on the pregnancy test stick.
It helps to avoid any irregularities during the first weeks of pregnancy.
A balanced diet with key nutrients, such as choline and folate, prior to pregnancy can help to prevent any birth defects. Your baby’s brain and spinal cord begin developing in the first few weeks before many women know they are pregnant. So, taking prenatal vitamins is a great extra insurance policy to know you are taking a step to give baby the best start. Plus, it has even been clinically proven prenatal vitamins reduce the risk of birth irregularities if taken before conception. Some of these birth defects include heart defects, limb deformities, cleft palate, spina bifida, and neural tube defects. A well-balanced diet, in combination with a prenatal vitamin, will support the growth of your growing bean.
It can reduce the risk of preterm birth.
If you start taking prenatal vitamins before trying to conceive, it can help lower the chances of giving birth before term. Thanks to the key nutrients found in many prenatal vitamins (go to THIS article for a guide of what to look for in them, or check out TPNL to get specific recommendations) they provide that boost in nourishment to avoid these irregularities. The proof? Recent research suggests that these vitamins reduce the risk of preterm labor by one-half!
Your body will have enough iron from the get-go.
Did you know that pregnant women need twice the amount of iron? This is one of the most popular nutrients included in prenatal vitamins. Iron keeps oxygen flowing through your body’s tissues and muscles, supporting the fetal development of your baby. This nutrient is also responsible for the production of hemoglobin, which carries the oxygen of red blood cells. You may or may not need to supplement with iron before you are actually pregnant. Keep in mind iron supplementation is often the cause of constipation and other unpleasant GI side effects. Iron is an important nutrient when thinking about becoming pregnant so outside of supplementation, it is important to focus on food sources.
You may not be able to eat much in the first trimester.
Additionally, when the first trimester hits, you may not be able to eat much. During this time, your body largely relies on the nutrient stores you built up before you became pregnant! With morning sickness, food aversions, and fatigue eating anything can be challenging let alone a super nutrient-dense diet. More and more research is coming out showing preconception nutrition is not only linked to better birth outcomes but long-term health outcomes of the child. Ace preconception nutrition and you’ll have a smooth ride during pregnancy!
Will you start taking prenatal vitamins before or after you get pregnant?
Now you know why it’s such a good idea to take prenatal vitamins pre-pregnancy! Not only do you get the key nutrients all pregnant women need, but you also lower the risk of any side effects or birth defects from the get-go. Adding a prenatal vitamin won’t replace the need for a healthy diet. But it will help support your growing baby and give you peace of mind that you are getting an extra nutrient boost. Remember to always check with your health care provider before adding any new supplements to your routine to be extra safe!
If you want more prenatal nutrition advice and specific prenatal vitamin recommendations, head over to The Prenatal Nutrition Library. This online space has everything you need to know about preparing for a healthy pregnancy, directly from a registered prenatal dietitian nutritionist. Come join us!