Pregnancy can be tough to predict. Sometimes you’re ready. Sometimes you’re not. And sometimes you don’t even realize you’re pregnant until a little later on. That’s why starting a prenatal multivitamin earlier rather than later is key to supporting the health of you and your baby’s developmental needs—even before you conceive. Find out when to start taking prenatal vitamins to help prepare for when your little one comes.
The 3 Month Rule
If you’re not sure when to start taking prenatal vitamins, three months ahead of conception is a good rule of thumb. That’s because so much of your baby’s development happens during the first few weeks of pregnancy—when you might not even realize you’re pregnant yet! By starting a daily prenatal multivitamin early, you can ensure that your body has essential nutrients you both need from the very start.
Why Prenatal Vitamin Ingredients Matter Early On
Folate is a B vitamin and is an absolute must for expecting moms. Folate acts by nourishing your baby’s developing nervous system and protecting them against certain birth defects, including spinal cord and brain abnormalities. While including folate-rich foods into your diet is important, prenatal vitamins provide folate to help you and your baby get the recommended amount.
Iron supports your baby’s growth and development. The body increases blood volume in pregnancy, so it makes sense why prenatal vitamins typically contain more of it than in a standard adult multivitamin. Adequate iron intake may help prevent iron-deficiency anemia in moms, a condition in which blood has a low number of healthy red blood cells.
- Omega-3 DHA
More and more prenatal vitamins now include omega-3 DHA because of its important role in your baby’s brain and eye development. Even after birth, breastfed babies whose mothers take a prenatal vitamin with omega-3 DHA can receive this key nutrient, too.
Just like most regular multivitamins include calcium, a prenatal vitamin should include it, too. That’s because calcium is important for the development of your baby’s bones, and only your baby can receive this key nutrient from you.