The Importance of a Prenatal Vitamin Before You’re Pregnant
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You read that right! Ladies, it is so important to start a prenatal before you’re pregnant.
Prenatal vitamins are essential for women who are trying to conceive as well as during pregnancy to ensure both mama and baby are getting optimal nutrition. Even if you’re not trying for a baby any time soon, there are many reasons why I recommend women take a prenatal.
I’m so excited to partner with New Chapter to bring to you this post all about the importance of a prenatal vitamin. This post covers the importance of a prenatal before you’re pregnant, what to look for in a prenatal and my favorite whole food prenatal, New Chapter’s Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin.
Do I need to take a prenatal Vitamin?
The short and sweet answer is, yes!
I recommend all women of child-bearing age take a prenatal. Getting your nutrients through eating a balanced diet with a foundation in plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains is ideal. But, let’s face it. It’s not always easy. That’s why I recommend these essential daily supplements. Taking daily supplements is a wonderful insurance policy. And to be extra-sure all those nutrients are making it into your body, look for a multivitamin that’s fermented, because it will allow you (and baby) to absorb the nutrients more easily.
Once you’re pregnant, you need to ensure you have the necessary nutrients to support both you and your growing baby. Throughout pregnancy your body requires more of certain nutrients such as folate, calcium, Vitamin D3, iron and iodine, which makes nutrition and supplements even more important (1).
Nausea during the first-trimester (sometimes throughout the entire pregnancy), food aversions and lack of space as your baby grows, can make it difficult to get in all the necessary nutrients on a daily basis. Taking a prenatal like New Chapter’s Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin is that insurance policy for you and your baby. You can feel confident knowing your prenatal will fill in the gaps from what you might be lacking in your daily diet.
Why do I need to take a prenatal before I’m pregnant?
A prenatal vitamin can help you build up your nutrient stores before you conceive. This is so important! You want to build up stores of your nutrients, especially iron and folate, before getting pregnant.
Folate is an important B vitamin that baby needs for healthy spinal cord development and prevention of neural-tube defects. This is essential during the first 4 weeks of pregnancy, so I recommend supplementing with 500-800 mcg of folate per day, depending on your dietary intake (2).
Taking a prenatal before pregnancy ensures your baby is getting all the necessary nutrients from the first moments of his or her life and ensures your body has the nutrients to support every stage of his or her development no matter how balanced or nutrient-dense your diet is or isn’t (hello, nausea and food-aversions!).
Should I take a prenatal if I am not planning on pregnancy?
I definitely believe there are certain instances where taking a prenatal can be beneficial even if you aren’t trying to get pregnant.
Post-birth control - birth control can deplete various nutrients, like B vitamins, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium and zinc (3). These are essential for fertility and a healthy pregnancy. In order to restore your body with the necessary nutrients, it’s a good idea to take a prenatal since they have a greater amount of these nutrients than a multivitamin. Many women also come off birth control because they want to start trying to get pregnant. Taking a fermented prenatal vitamin after stopping birth control can help restore your nutrients and also ensure your baby has all the support in case you do become pregnant.
Vegetarians and vegans - a prenatal is higher in many of the nutrients vegetarians and vegans need to pay more attention to in order to make sure they are getting enough on a daily basis. These include iron, iodine, zinc, calcium, B12 and vitamin D3 (4). Taking a prenatal will give you an extra boost of these nutrients.
Sexually Active - we all know there is risk of getting pregnant if you’re not having protected sex. Since most women don’t realize they’re pregnant for a few weeks after your baby’s started to grow, it’s important to ensure your baby is getting all the necessary nutrients from the very beginning of his or her life.
There is some controversy over taking a prenatal if you're not trying to get pregnant due to higher levels of nutrients. This is usually due to high amounts of synthetic forms of vitamins like vitamin A and folic acid versus natural sources like beta-carotene and folate that don’t cause issues (5). This is one of the reasons I love New Chapter – because the Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin is made using whole-foods and organic vegetables and herbs and does not use just synthetic nutrients. As always, it is best to talk to your healthcare professional about your personal nutrient needs before adding any new supplements into your daily routine.
When should I start taking a prenatal?
Most doctors recommend starting a prenatal at least 3 months before getting pregnant. This is a minimum. It takes 3 months for your egg to mature, so making sure you have all the nutrients you need to boost fertility and provide for a healthy, new baby is one of the best things you can do (6).
I recommend starting at least 6 months prior to trying to start a family for most women. If you are coming off birth control or have been tested for nutrient deficiencies, like iron, iodine, zinc, magnesium, folate, B12 or vitamin D, it is best to start a prenatal and restore your levels before you become pregnant.
New Chapters Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin
When it comes to choosing a prenatal, make sure it includes vitamin A, folate, B vitamins including vitamin B6 and B12, vitamin D3, chromium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper and selenium. I also recommend choosing a whole-food supplement. This means that the nutrients come from food sources not just synthetic.
This is why I love New Chapter’s Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin. It’s fermented, which unlocks and activates the nutrients, making them easier for the body to absorb. It’s also packed with additional superfood ingredients to help support overall optimal health including stress and immune balance.* The prenatal multi contains a blend of nourishing herbs like turmeric, peppermint and lemon balm, plus clinically studied ginger to help soothe nausea (morning sickness).*
Taking a prenatal multivitamin is extremely important if you are trying to get pregnant and during pregnancy. Consider it an insurance policy for you and your baby. I recommend taking a prenatal vitamin at least 6 months before trying for a baby (if possible), as this allows your body to stock up on some of the essential nutrients that have increased requirements during pregnancy. Even if you aren’t thinking about having a baby, if you are post-birth control, vegetarian, vegan or just sexually active in general, you may consider a prenatal. A prenatal multivitamin shouldn’t replace a healthy diet, but it can give you the peace of mind knowing that it will fill in the gaps.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.