Prenatal vitamins: Why they matter & How to Choose
Babies are real go-getters when it comes to development. If it were the 100-yard dash, they would be the first out of the starting blocks! Their no-procrastination-approach to development greatly influences the timing of when moms need to start taking prenatal vitamins.
In fact, if you’ve got baby-on-the-brain and are planning to become pregnant in the near future -- you’ll want to get on prenatals, like, yesterday.
That’s because, from the time of conception, there’s no delay. Crucial development is occurring very quickly, and taking a quality prenatal vitamin -- even before pregnancy -- can help to reduce the likelihood of disruptions to healthy development that can result from nutritional deficiencies.
When should you start taking prenatal vitamins?
There are two solid answers here, but -- spoiler alert -- neither involves waiting until your first-trimester ultrasound.
1. When you decide to try for a baby.
Ready to start a beautiful family of your own or adding another cutie to the brood? In addition to scheduling a wellness visit with your OB/GYN, getting off birth control, and cutting out unhealthy habits like smoking, you should start taking good quality prenatal vitamins in preparation.
Since you won’t be able to predict how long it will take you to get a bun in the oven and you won’t know you’ve been successful until a handful of weeks following conception, prenatal vitamins are an essential part of preconception care.
2. As soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
If you aren’t already taking a great prenatal vitamin, you should try to get your hands on some as soon as you can after seeing a positive pregnancy sign on that coveted pee stick test!
When it comes to prenatal vitamins, it pays to be choosey. There are lots of prenatal vitamins on the market, but our favorite is our very own Baby Love -- an exceptional multivitamin made with a full-spectrum of 25+ vitamins and minerals to cover all of you (and your baby’s) baseline nutritional needs, plus it includes special nutraceutical ingredients that support immunity and relief from morning sickness (yes, please!).
Okay, but why take them before you’re even pregnant?
Good question! Well, here’s the deal: Growing a baby is hard work! As teeny as your adorable little fetus is, it still takes up a ton of your normal energy and nutritional resources -- even in the very beginning stages.
You see, your tiny tot gets all the nutrients it needs directly from you, so it’s not hard to become deficient in essential vitamins and minerals during pregnancy. Making sure your body has everything it needs to nourish both of you is much easier if you get started before conception.
Think of it like building up a reserve: If you have more than enough nutrients and vitamins to flourish, then you can afford to share those nutrients and vitamins with your bundle of joy as they grow.
What are the most important nutrients in prenatals?
While it’s of the utmost importance to have a well-rounded balance of healthy vitamins, minerals, and nutrients during pregnancy, some are truly MVPs because they will actually help the baby to form vital organs and body systems -- many of which begin developing in the earliest weeks of pregnancy.
According to the baby experts, these are the most important nutrients you need:
Arguably the granddaddy of prenatal nutrients, this essential B vitamin is responsible for creating your baby’s strong neural tube, or the structure that eventually forms the spinal column and brain.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids -- including DHA -- help support a developing fetus’s vision and brain health development and are typically found in foods like tuna, salmon, and shellfish. They may also play a role in preventing preterm labor and delivery, lower the risk of preeclampsia, and may increase birth weight.
When it comes to getting your Omega-3’s, XOmegas™ from Love Wellness contains both EPA and DHA -- the two vital Omega-3 fatty acids your body needs but can’t make itself.
Your growing baby will be spending quite a bit of time in your uterus, building up its teeth and bones. In order to achieve this Herculean feat, they need plenty of calcium -- which means you need plenty of calcium, too.
If you don’t fuel your body with enough calcium, your little bean will take what it needs directly from your bones during pregnancy and breastfeeding, which can lead to temporary bone loss.
Iron supplies your growing baby with oxygen and blood, helps build the placenta, and provides you with the extra blood volume you need throughout pregnancy.
Since pregnant ladies are prone to anemia, iron supplements also help to ensure that you have the right amount of red blood cells in your blood. Anemia during pregnancy is associated with low infant birth rates and higher rates of premature delivery.
Do prenatal vitamins have any side effects?
A lot of women wonder if prenatal vitamins have any side effects. The answer is: sometimes. And while some people are more sensitive and may experience a little bit of nausea or constipation from taking them, the pros of having a healthy baby and mama outweigh the cons.
Still, if this does happen to you, simply talk with your doc about changing brands or the types of vitamins you’re taking. Prenatal vitamins come in capsules or tablets, so finding the kind that works best with your body can help ease side effects.
So, who should be taking prenatal vitamins?
According to the Center For Disease and Prevention (CDC), everyone between the ages of 15 and 45 who could become pregnant should consume 400 micrograms of quality folic acid every day -- whether that is in the form of a top-notch prenatal, a supplement that contains folic acid or fortified cereal.
This is the standard recommendation for everyone and anyone who may become pregnant. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) agrees and recommends that anyone who can get pregnant should take a good quality daily supplement with folic acid.
The recommendation boils down, in part, to about 45 percent of pregnancies in the U.S. being unplanned. Then, there is the fact that the window for proper neural-tube formation is super early on in pregnancy: Neural tube defects can develop only 21 to 28 days following conception.
Since this is before many people even realize they’re pregnant, taking folic acid serves as a preemptive protection of sorts, just in case.
Additionally, folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, and your body doesn’t store extra amounts of folic acid very well, so it’s important that you take it daily. This is yet another solid reason why doctors and other medical experts recommend taking prenatals before you get pregnant instead of waiting until you know you are -- even if you find out as early as possible.
So, when should you start taking prenatal vitamins?
At the end of the day, the earlier you start taking them -- the better. The general recommendation is to start taking prenatal vitamins at least one to three months prior to becoming pregnant.
In short? Developing babies need a lot of nutritional support, and so do their mama’s! By taking a quality prenatal vitamin even before you know that you are pregnant, you’re giving both your baby and yourself the best chance at a healthy, happy pregnancy right out of the gate.
Women want more, and with Baby Love, we give you and baby all that you deserve.
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