You’re probably already aware that many meds are not safe during pregnancy, but taking prenatal vitamins is highly recommended. The purpose of prenatal vitamins is to keep both the mother and her child healthy during the pregnancy and promote proper fetal development. Many doctors even suggest women start with prenatals before pregnancy while still in the preconception planning stage. If you’re also planning to expand your family, you’re welcome to the professional services of a preconception specialist in Venice, FL. That said, we’ll dive into a more detailed explanation of when to start prenatal vitamins and more about preconception vitamins in general.

When to Start Prenatal Vitamins?

Essentially, there are two options for taking prenatal vitamins. You should either get started with preconception vitamins once you decide you’re ready to become pregnant or when you find out you are expecting a child. Anyhow, there’s no reason whatsoever to wait for the ultrasound in the first trimester in order to start.

In case you’re at the point of your life when you feel like you’re ready to have a baby, it’s essential to prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy. You should definitely pay a visit to your gynecologist for consultations but also change up your previous habits and routines that could affect the pregnancy and the baby. For instance, you’d want to go off birth control, quit smoking, and start eating healthier. And among all those things, you should also begin taking prenatals before pregnancy. After all, just because you’ve decided to get pregnant doesn’t mean you’ll get pregnant immediately. The purpose of prenatal vitamins during this time is to ensure your body has enough nutrients to support the baby’s growth.

On the other hand, if you haven’t been planning for pregnancy actively but suddenly find yourself pregnant, there’s no better time when to start prenatal vitamins than at the very moment you get a positive pregnancy test. Of course, your OBGYN might end up suggesting a completely different brand of preconception vitamins later on, but you shouldn’t wait for their recommendations; after all, taking prenatal vitamins is especially important and beneficial during the first trimester. There are good OTC prenatal brands available, and if your insurance covers the cost, you can later ask for a prescription from your doctor.

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Why Even Take Prenatals Before Pregnancy?

While you’re pregnant, your baby takes the nutrients it needs to grow directly from you. This is why being pregnant has many side effects such as aches and cramps, nausea, exhaustion, moodiness, forgetfulness, etc. Basically, your body gets depleted of essential vitamins and minerals faster. Precisely because of that, it’s beneficial to have a reserve of essential nutrients even before you conceive.

Are There Side Effects of Taking Prenatals Before Pregnancy?

Considering that pregnant women are encouraged to take prenatal vitamins, they are generally safe for women and have no dangerous side effects. However, the purpose of prenatal vitamins indeed is to support a healthy pregnancy. In that sense, they may not be the ideal long-term supplement choice for women who are not pregnant. For instance, preconception vitamins often contain a higher dose of iron that pregnant ladies need, but when you’re not expecting, taking too much iron for too long can lead to issues such as nausea and constipation. Still, they are perfectly safe to take for a few months before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and even while you’re breastfeeding.

When looking to buy prenatal vitamins over-the-counter, make sure to check some essentials, such as regulation and dosage. While FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements like prenatals, it would be helpful to look for the U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention or the Office of Dietary Supplements stamp of approval. In terms of dosage, simply check the recommended amount of vitamins that your doctor suggested. On the list of ingredients, you’ll be able to see the dose of each nutrient, so don’t get ones that have too much or too little of what was recommended for you.

The Extra Benefits of Taking Prenatals Before Pregnancy

One of the main vitamins in prenatal supplements is biotin, which many people swear by when it comes to their healthy-looking and radiant skin. After all, many people take just biotin as a supplement considering the hype around it in terms of its abilities to promote faster and stronger hair and nail growth. However, there are no scientific reports to back up this claim, only word of mouth.

Of course, there are many benefits of taking prenatals for pregnant women or trying to get pregnant. These supplements can boost one’s likelihood of conceiving. What’s more, if the supplements contain DHA, the dose of omega-3 fatty acids from it is known to promote the development of the baby’s eyes and brain. Also, taking thyroid-regulating iodine is believed to improve the development of a baby’s nervous system.

Still, it’s important to mention that prenatals can’t cure infertility. These supplements won’t magically allow you to get pregnant if there’s an underlying issue at play. They simply help regulate bodily functions that also promote conception possibilities. Ideally, prenatals should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular physical activity while cutting out cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs entirely in order to increase one’s chances of getting pregnant and potentially getting pregnant faster.

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Tips on Taking Prenatal Vitamins

In case you find that preconception vitamins make your stomach upset, you can try out a couple of different practices to combat this:

  • Proceed to ask for another prenatal brand recommendation/prescription from your doctor, as specific formulations may not be the right fit for you.
  • Try taking prenatals in different forms, e.g., instead of a large capsule, opt for gummies, or split one large dose into two per day.
  • In case you’re dealing with constipation, up your fiber intake and make sure to drink plenty of water before and after you take your vitamins.
  • Switch up the way you take your vitamins in terms of food; some people find it better to take vitamins on an empty stomach, while others prefer to take them with food.

There’s really not that much to it – if you’ve decided to get pregnant in the next couple of months, introduce prenatal vitamins to your daily routine and if you’ve just found out you’re pregnant, start taking prenatals right away. These vitamins will provide enough nutrients to keep both you and your baby healthy. However, if you’re not ready for conception but just want to take some supplements, it would be best to talk to your doctor and pick some that are not strictly designed for pregnancy support. That said, you can always come to us at University Park OBGYN for all sorts of gynecological matters and concerns you may have or schedule prenatal counseling. Our expert doctors will ensure you’re well taken care of at every stage of your reproductive journey, menopause included.