Prenatal Vitamins 101: When to Start Taking Them, What to Look For, & What to Expect

Prenatal Vitamins 101: When to Start Taking Them, What to Look For, & What to Expect | Baby Chick

Prenatal Vitamins 101: When to Start Taking Them, What to Look For, & What to Expect

If you are considering a baby in the near future, currently trying to conceive, or newly pregnant, prenatal vitamins are probably on your mind. Your midwife or doctor will most likely steer you in the right direction as to which brand to take, but you should still be aware of what ingredients to look for in a prenatal and exactly when you should start taking them. We dive a bit deeper to answer your questions about this simple, yet important, step in you and your baby’s life.

Prenatal Vitamins 101: Everything You Need To Know

When to Start Taking Prenatals

Many experts will say that a woman should start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as she gets her period. To me, this is a bit extreme—can you imagine your teenage self being convinced to take vitamins that help with pregnancy?! Instead, it’s probably best to start taking them as soon as you decide you want to start trying to conceive.

If you see your gynecologist to remove or get off your birth control or check on your overall health for conceiving, they will probably tell you to start taking a good prenatal vitamin. If a baby is in your future, but still far off, try to start taking them at least three months before you begin trying. Also if you are already trying or newly pregnant, start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you can. There are no downsides to taking prenatal vitamins early, but not taking them at all can cause problems down the line for your pregnancy and the health of your baby.

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What to Look For

Not all prenatal vitamins are made the same, so just walking into your local grocery store or health store and picking up the first one you see isn’t ideal. Your first step is talking with your doctor. Many women have certain dietary restrictions that may change the type of vitamin they should take. If you don’t have any restrictions, you should find a vitamin that has:

  • 400-600 mcg of folate
  • 250 mg of calcium
  • 30 mg of iron
  • 150 mcg of iodine
  • 2 mg of Vitamin B6
You should also make sure that the vitamin doesn’t have too much Vitamin A or D and a good amount of Vitamin C.

It’s important that you find a vitamin with folate instead of folic acid. Most people know that this nutrient is essential for baby’s neural tube development and preventing spina bifida. Although research suggests that only bioavailable folate is beneficial, not synthetic folic acid. Most vitamin brands are making the switch.

Speaking of bioavailability–look for a food-based prenatal vitamin. These supplements will be made from food instead of from synthetic nutrients. Since our bodies are used to digesting food, the vitamins and minerals in a food-based supplement will be more readily assimilated into your body. They may be a little more expensive, but you won’t be peeing out all the good stuff!

There are also options for vegetarians, gluten-free women, and more. So do your research and talk to your doctor before deciding on a brand to use.

What to Expect

A prenatal vitamin is just that—a vitamin. So the side effects are usually minimal. Some women experience a bit of nausea. Which can be helped by taking the vitamin with food or just before bed. Others have showed signs of constipation, usually helped by adding fiber to your diet.

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Constipation is usually due to the iron in a vitamin. If it persists, switch to a vitamin without iron and supplement with a liquid iron which doesn’t constipation.

But most women have only seen positive side effects, helping with morning sickness during pregnancy and even shiny hair and longer nails! If you are having odd side effects after starting a prenatal regimen, speak with your health care provider right away.

If you are trying for a baby, a prenatal vitamin is usually the first step on the road of motherhood. It’s the simplest thing you can do for your health. It will make your pregnancy easier and your baby as healthy as they can be. Your child may never thank you for adding this vitamin into your daily regimen, but you’ll be happy you did!

If you’re already pregnant, see which vitamins you should be taking during pregnancy.

About the Author /

Jessica is a writer and editor with a focus on all things lifestyle. Whether she is discovering the latest restaurants, staying up-to-date on new styles, helping brides plan their wedding, or covering trends in the real estate market, Jessica is on top of it all. After graduating from Florida State University with a B.A. in Editing, Writing and Media, Jessica moved to Philadelphia to get her Masters in Science in Publication Management from Drexel University.

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Instagram post 18074272528164523 @debiandbebi wrote these words when she was a new mom and struggled with #postpartumdepression. She hopes to remind everyone that it is okay to struggle with being a new mom and that does not mean you don't love your baby. ❤️⁠
(quote by @debiandbebi)⁠
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Instagram post 17862171103601373 All of these things make me happy. What would you add to your self care toolbox?⁠
I'm seriously needing some of these things tonight to start a new week. Hoping you mamas get some self care time too! 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 17974795027288980 Was he dreaming he was riding a bike last night escaping from wild animals?! OUCH! 🤕🚲⁠
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Instagram post 18081610903134401 Praying that your toddler let's you get to sleep this weekend. 🙏💤⁠
📷: unknown⁠
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Instagram post 17853200368708392 SURPRISE! A little shocked, a little tired, and a LOT BLESSED. Congrats, @sarah_lit! ❤️⁠
📷: @sarah_lit⁠
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#babyannouncement #pregnancyannouncement #pregnancy #pregnant #momtobe #pregnancylife #mamatobe #babybump #pregnancyjourney #bumpie #preggo #maternity #motherhood #momlife #expecting #mumlife #mommytobe #pregnantlife #babyontheway #inspirepregnancy #mommychick #babychick #babyonboard #mumtobe
Instagram post 17864808397574241 Pregnant and hungry all the time? Here are some great ideas to keep in the fridge when the hunger pains kick in! 🤰👍⁠
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Instagram post 18073051357163780 When it comes to clamping the cord, our mottos is "what's the rush?" The blood volume in the placenta and cord at the time of birth is BABY'S blood. It's simply mid-circulation in the placenta at the time of birth. It just makes sense to leave it be and let it finish its job.⁠
No, the blood won't drain out of baby and go backwards into the placenta.⁠
No, your baby is not more likely to get sick from jaundice.⁠
Yes, your baby will still be getting oxygen while they figure out breathing, especially important if they need resuscitation.⁠
Yes, your baby will have better iron levels for the first year of their life.⁠
Look at how thick and engorged this cord still is at 4 and 18 minutes after baby was born. Just imagine how much blood baby would have lost if the cord had been clamped immediately, or at 60 seconds, 90 seconds, or 3 minutes! The placenta was expelled immediately before the 18 minute photo was taken. The pulse in the cord could still be felt even AFTER THE PLACENTA HAD BEEN DELIVERED! The cord was finally clamped and cut more than an hour after birth at 73 minutes. ❤️⁠
📷: @lawrenrosephotography⁠
Informative post and words by @bundleborn⁠
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Instagram post 17852665306696124 With the holiday season upon us and moms trying to make everything magical for their families, remember to stop and take a moment to take care of you. ❤️ Have a hot cup of coffee, a long warm shower and some alone time. Communicate this with your partner not as a wish but as a necessity. We must take the time to take care of ourselves to better take care of them. 💕⁠
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Instagram post 18095239591099259 After holiday feasting . . . this baby gets me.⁠ 🤣
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Instagram post 17844162355818683 I think I had a little too much turkey . . . and pie. 😬🍗🥧 #leggingsforlife⁠
📷: @hallmarkbaby⁠
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Instagram post 17990835490280335 I totally felt this way when I was pregnant. And kinda feel this way after all that turkey. 🤣🦃 Happy turkey day to all you expecting mamas!!⁠
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Instagram post 18094211479105476 I spy with my little eye the cutest turkey ever. 😍 Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Hope it's filled with love, laughter, and cuteness like this. ❤️⁠
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Instagram post 17852562805720320 Loneliness is a real thing in new motherhood and I want to be sure we talk about this. It's okay to say, "I feel lonely." We normalize one another's experiences when we share the reality of our journey. It can be so isolating when we bring our small human home and our lives revolve around his/her care. We feel detached from the outside world. The monotony of new motherhood can be heavy.⁠
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Here are some tips to combat isolation:⁠
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1️⃣ Get outside when possible.⁠
2️⃣ Video chat with friends/family.⁠
3️⃣ Join a virtual group.⁠
4️⃣ Invite someone to come over.⁠
5️⃣ Find a local mom's group.⁠
6️⃣ Listen to the radio or a podcast (it's interesting how this can make us feel connected with others)⁠
7️⃣ Run an errand--even grabbing a coffee via drive-thru can feel good.⁠
8️⃣ Get to know your neighbors.⁠
What would you add to the list?⁠
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Instagram post 17867282176536875 ⁠For the week of Thanksgiving (and longer if you can!) let's focus on what we DO have instead of what we lack. The more we express gratitude and appreciate our blessings the more we recognize all of our blessings and everything we should be thankful for. 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 17855722339639264 ✈️ Tips to Survive a Plane Ride with Kids ✈️⁠
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Flying on a plane with your little one for the first time can be terrifying. Are they going to cry the whole time? How will they handle the airport, the turbulence and the landing? Well we have some tips that will help prepare you for your flight with your kids. Here's what to do to have a more enjoyable experience 😊 {Link in bio!}⁠
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