When Should You Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?
When you’re pregnant, proper nutrition, exercise, vitamins, and supplements should be incorporated in your daily routine. These will promote better growth and development for your baby. The dilemma regarding prenatal vitamins is the right time to start taking it. Many recommendations aligned with the idea that it’s best to start taking prenatal vitamins the moment you want to get pregnant.
Before conception and early weeks of pregnancy
Some doctors recommend taking these prenatal vitamins even if the woman is not yet pregnant but already has plans of conceiving soon. The suggested timeline in taking prenatal vitamins can be as early as three months before the conception date.
The reason behind this lies in the idea that it’s always best to create the most conducive environment to allow a successful conception. There should be an effort, most especially for the women to be in optimal health so that even after implantation, the internal conditions are perfect, thus, promoting healthy growth for the fetus.
You might be thinking that you can only take folic acid once you get pregnant. However, some doctors allow intake of this vitamin even if the woman is not yet pregnant. This is to ensure that the formation of the fetus will be developed normally.
Folate is an essential component for fetal development in humans, specifically the neural tube formation that is responsible for embryonic development. The neural tube will generate stem cells that will be specialized and later on form the brain and spinal cord of the baby.
Incorporating folic acid in a woman’s diet will prevent spina bifida, a congenital defect that describes as an incomplete development of the backbone and the membranes surrounding it, thus creating a space in the spinal cord.
Neural tube formation happens during the earliest stage of conception, usually three to six weeks, so it’s very crucial to have enough supplement of this essential mineral in the woman’s body before or during the conception.
DHA, or Docosahexaenoic acid, is an essential Omega-3 fatty acid and another popular prenatal vitamin prescribed to pregnant women. It helps the proper brain development of the fetus. Since this essential fatty acid serves as the building blocks of the nervous system, DHA profoundly influences the newborn’s eyesight, muscular development, and IQ. It’s recommended to be taken during the early stage of your pregnancy, and even during the first year after your child is born.
During the entire course of your pregnancy
Another prenatal vitamin you need to take is iron. Iron is one of the main components of the blood, that is essential for the normal functions of the body. It supplies nutrients and oxygen for you and your unborn child. Having enough supply of iron in your blood ensures that your body and the fetus has a proper amount of these two things that are very crucial for the proper development of your child.
Insufficient levels of iron in the body can result in anemia that can lead to other complications such as congenital disabilities and even premature delivery. Iron is usually prescribed even during pre-conception to ensure that the mother will be in her best condition before she conceives.
On the other hand, calcium is also one essential mineral for women to promote a healthier body that can support a healthier pregnancy. Calcium, as we all know, is the essential building blocks of our bones that support the proper structure of our bodies.
- It is needed by the mother to prevent bone weakness and replenish calcium deposits in her body.
- Calcium will also help the bones to maintain the proper structure to accommodate the weight of the growing belly during the last stages of pregnancy.
- Also, it’s also essential for the growing fetus for enough supply of the mineral for healthy bone development.
Vitamin B complex
Vitamin B complex is needed by the body in very small amounts, but they provide a great impact for you and your baby. The B vitamins needed by a pregnant woman are:
- Vitamin B1 or Thiamine, Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine for proper brain development of your baby
- Vitamin B3 or Niacin to avoid nausea and headaches associated with pregnancy
- Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid to ease leg cramps during pregnancy
The misconception about prenatal vitamins is that it’s best to be taken when you’re already pregnant. However, birth defects due to the deficiency in essential vitamins and minerals occur during the early stage of conception. That is why it’s always best to provide your body with these even during pre-conception to have optimal health during pregnancy, which will be beneficial for your baby’s development.