Becoming pregnant — or even considering becoming pregnant — is a time of massive physical and emotional change. Ensuring you’re taking care of your health and potentially your unborn baby’s health is an absolute must.
You’re constantly reminded about the importance of prenatal vitamins for a healthy pregnancy, but no one has ever clearly stated when to take prenatal vitamins.
Is there a right or wrong time to start taking prenatal vitamins? Should you take them before becoming pregnant?
These are just a few of the questions you’re asking as you prepare for parenthood, and we’re happy to provide you with answers.
Continue reading as we answer these questions and explore the importance of specific nutrients in prenatal vitamins for a healthy journey through this chapter of life.
Table of Contents
- When Should You Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?
- Is It Okay To Take Prenatal Vitamins if You’re Not Pregnant?
- What Happens if You Don’t Take Prenatal Vitamins in the First Trimester?
- Can Men Take Prenatal Vitamins Too?
- Which Prenatal Vitamin Is Best?
When Should You Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?
The sooner, the better.
Ideally, so that the egg is in the best possible state when it’s time for fertilization, anyone with eggs or a uterus should begin taking prenatal vitamins at least three to four months before trying to conceive.
If you are a woman of childbearing age and can have children in the future, you should consider taking a prenatal vitamin with at least one milligram of folic acid a day.
Even if you’re not planning to become pregnant, taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid is recommended — as almost half of all pregnancies are unplanned.
4 Reasons Why You Should Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins Before You Get Pregnant
#1: Your Eggs Are Still Developing
Think of your taking prenatal vitamins before becoming pregnant as your insurance policy — although you’re not pregnant yet, you want to be fully prepared in case you do conceive.
Taking a prenatal before getting pregnant supports your eggs before you ovulate. An ovulated egg has been growing and developing in your body for over three months.
For three months before ovulation, your eggs are subjected to …
- Nutrients; and
… all while trying to develop.
Right before conception, eggs are particularly vulnerable to your nutrition and their environment. When you support your body with the proper nutrients, your body has a better chance of producing a healthy, quality egg.
#2: Folic Acid Is Essential for Early Development
Any woman who could become pregnant should get at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.
Adequate amounts of folic acid help form and reduce birth defects associated with the neural tube — the tube that eventually forms the brain and spine.
Without enough folic acid, the neural tube may not fully close, which can result in spine, brain, or skull defects.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, these defects can lead to stillbirths or babies born with lifelong disabilities like Spina Bifida or anencephaly.
These defects occur within the first 28 days of pregnancy — often before women know they are pregnant — which is why taking a prenatal pill before becoming pregnant is essential.
In addition to taking a prenatal vitamin, it is also a good idea to eat foods that are high in folate (the natural form of folic acid), like:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Citrus fruits
- Beans; and
- Fortified grains and cereals
Ideally, those trying to become pregnant should start a folic acid supplement or prenatal supplement containing folic acid at least three months prior.
#3: Iron Supports Healthy Blood Flow
Adequate iron is needed to carry and deliver oxygen to your body’s tissues, including your uterus — as it’s essential for healthy blood flow.
If you have heavy menstrual bleeding or follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you should check your iron levels if you’re concerned with a deficiency.
During pregnancy, specifically, it is recommended that women have 16-20 milligrams of iron a day.
Pregnant women should consider a prenatal vitamin that contains iron if their physician is concerned with potential pregnancy-related anemia — or if they’re not getting adequate amounts of iron from their diet.
#4: Antioxidants in Prenatal Vitamins Protect Eggs — and Sperm — From Free Radical Damage
Protecting your eggs — or sperm — from damage is especially important during preconception. Antioxidants may help protect your cells, eggs, and sperm from free radicals.
Free radicals are produced as part of a person’s average cell production but may also be accumulated from foods, toxins, and stressors we’re regularly exposed to.
Exposure to too many free radicals can negatively affect the follicles and eggs in a woman’s ovaries.
Antioxidants in a quality prenatal vitamin can act as a “bodyguard” for your eggs and their cell components, like their DNA.
In addition to eating more fruits and vegetables, a prenatal supplement containing antioxidants such as …
- Vitamins A, C, and E
- CoQ10; and
… can help your body prepare for pregnancy and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
But antioxidant support doesn’t just help those with eggs or a uterus. Partners with sperm can benefit from antioxidants, too.
Remember, 50% of a baby’s DNA comes from the sperm, so it’s just as important to protect that DNA from any breaks and mutations by consuming the right antioxidants.
If you’re trying to conceive, undamaged sperm are more likely to fertilize a partner’s egg.
Is It Okay To Take Prenatal Vitamins if You’re Not Pregnant?
Prenatal vitamins are considered safe to take when taken as directed and are usually recommended if you are:
- Trying to conceive
- Of childbearing age and not using birth control
- Pregnant; or
If you are not pregnant and cannot become pregnant, you should speak with your physician if you’re considering taking a prenatal vitamin.
In rare cases, consuming too much of certain nutrients over a protracted length of time can be harmful.
Too much folic acid, for example, can aggravate vitamin B12 deficiencies.
What Happens if You Don’t Take Prenatal Vitamins in the First Trimester?
If a pregnant woman does not take a prenatal pill during their first trimester or throughout her pregnancy, they may experience:
- Low birth weights
- Preterm delivery
- Neural tube defects
- Higher risks of having a stillbirth
Remember, as soon as you find out you’re pregnant, you should begin taking a prenatal vitamin.
When Is It Too Late To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?
It is never too late in your pregnancy to start taking a prenatal vitamin — as a baby is developing the entire time.
While taking a prenatal as early as possible is best, you should not refrain from taking a prenatal at any point in your pregnancy unless instructed by your physician.
If you are …
- Hoping to become pregnant in the future
… or recently gave birth, you can benefit from taking a prenatal vitamin.
Should I Take Prenatal Vitamins if I’m Not Trying To Get Pregnant Yet?
While a prenatal supplement is not necessary if you’re not trying to get pregnant, both the Centers for Disease Control and Health Canada recommend that anyone who …
- Has a uterus; and
- Produces eggs
… should take daily folic acid in the event of a (planned or unplanned) pregnancy.
Can Men Take Prenatal Vitamins Too?
While it’s not commonly talked about, men who want to create a family in the future can reap the benefits of taking a prenatal vitamin — because it helps prepare their sperm to be in optimal health and the best condition for conception.
Male reproductive issues cause nearly one-third of infertility issues.
By taking a proper prenatal, men may avoid potential infertility issues by building:
- Sperm strength
- Mobility; and
Which Prenatal Vitamin Is Best?
Not every prenatal vitamin is created equally. While there are dozens on the market, the quality of each product can vary greatly.
While ensuring the prenatal contains adequate amounts of folic acid and iron is important, it’s also vital to look for a vitamin that contains proper doses of nutrients in their absorbable forms.
You deserve high-quality vitamins that are thoughtfully curated to contain the right nutrients in the right doses.
But how do you decide what the best prenatal vitamin is for you?
Consider the following questions:
- Does the vitamin contain the recommended daily allowance of appropriate nutrients for a healthy pregnancy?
- Are the nutrients present in the most absorbable state?
- Is the vitamin free of dyes or additional excipients?
- Is it non-GMO tested?
- Does it contain allergens like soy, wheat, eggs, yeast, dairy, preservatives, artificial flavors, or sugars?
Grocery store brands don’t often check all the boxes mentioned above — so what are you supposed to do?
VTMN Packs is the solution.
VTMN Packs: When You Want To Be Sure
VTMN Packs prenatal vitamins check all of the above boxes and more. If you’re of reproductive age, planning to become pregnant, or are currently expecting, our prenatal vitamins provide you with the nutrients to support your body.
But what’s in our prenatal vitamins?
You can find 25 important vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12
It’s never too late — or too early — to begin taking a quality prenatal vitamin. Give your body the nutrients it deserves to perform optimally with VTMN Packs.
Whether you’re …
- Planning to have children in the future
- Trying to conceive
- Currently pregnant; or
- On your postpartum journey
… VTMN Packs can support you by providing premium daily vitamin packs customized just for you, delivered to your door every month.
Learn more about our packages, our health assessment, and what you can do to provide your body with the essential vitamins needed in every stage of life.
The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.