How Long to Take Prenatal Vitamins Before Pregnancy?
When most women are planning to get pregnant, they tend to do almost everything within their powers to stay healthy and prepare a conducive environment for the baby to grow in. The idea of eating healthy foods prior to conceiving has a lot of medical benefits to your baby and it helps to reduce various health risks which mostly occur during birth, such as bearing underweight babies, or experiencing various birth defects.
According to studies, these defects mostly occur at the early stages of your pregnancy—within the first 28 days—before you even realize that you’re expectant. To prevent such problems, women are advised to start taking multivitamins or prenatal vitamins immediately they decide on getting pregnant to supply the body with enough folic acid to prevent such defects.
The first piece of advice for women trying to conceive is factual and un-challenged, that of the need to take vitamin supplements.The most difficult part is understanding when to start taking prenatal vitamins before conceiving. Now, there has been contradictory information regarding when a woman should start taking multivitamins.
While some sources state that women should commence taking prenatal vitamins immediately they conceive, others state that women should take prenatal vitamins for a period of two to three months before getting pregnant to prepare the womb and the immune system for the heavy burden ahead.
When to start taking prenatal vitamins: How Long to Take Prenatal Vitamins Before Pregnancy?
As I stated earlier, there have been a lot of conflicting information regarding when a woman should start taking prenatal vitamins. Having researched multiple health websites and blog posts, I discovered that most professional doctors, especially maternal fetal medicine specialists, have repeatedly advised women to take prenatal vitamins at least three months before trying to conceive.
Why? After a woman conceives, she takes about 4 to 6 weeks before she can realize she’s pregnant. Even when using pregnant test kits, it mostly takes the same 4 to 6 weeks before a woman can realize she’s expectant.
How do these multivitamins benefit the body when taken early?
There are lots of health benefits TTC (trying to conceive) women get once they take prenatal vitamins early enough before conceiving. Unlike taking regular multivitamins, prenatal vitamins contain high amounts of Iron and Folic acid that benefits the embryo in various ways during the initial growing stages.
Most of the vital organs of your fetus develop during the first 10 weeks after conceiving. This means that essential vitamins and minerals must be present at this stage to ensure that the immune system develops properly throughout the initial stages of the embryo development.
Things to look out for in prenatal vitamins
Now that you know when it’s the right time to take prenatal vitamins, I think it’s now time to ask ourselves; what are these ingredients we need to look out for in prenatal vitamins. Before making a purchase, it’s always recommended that you first check the list of ingredients present in the formula to ensure that they’re capable of doing a great job of boosting you and your baby’s health throughout the pregnancy period.
High amounts of folic acid
The first highly beneficial type of vitamin you need to check on is folic acid. According to most health practitioners, about 400 micrograms of folic acid is enough to reduce risks of neural tube defects, spina bifida and brain issues to your baby during the first stages of pregnancy. According to studies, if all TTC women took prenatal vitamins with high amounts of folic acid, cases of neural tube defects could easily be reduced by 70%.
Another ingredient that plays a vital role in the health of both mother and fetus during pregnancy is iron. Although the right amounts vary from woman to woman, taking the recommended amount, which is 27 to 30 milligrams will help to reduce chances of maternal anemia which occurs when there are limited amounts of iron in the mother’s blood to support the mother and the development of the fetus.
We all know the benefits of calcium in the human body, right? Well, for pregnant women, about 1,000 milligrams of calcium is required for baby’s heart, nerves, bones, teeth and muscledevelopment during pregnancy. In addition to this, calcium aids in the development of the cardiovascular and circulatory systems as well as reducing the risks of osteoporosis to pregnant mothers.
Vitamins D, C and B6
Finally, vitamins play a key role in the health of your baby in various ways. Vitamin D (600UI) helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus into the body to assist the development of healthy bones, eyes and brain. Vitamin C (70 milligrams) boosts the immune system and prevents cases of regular sickness for your baby while Vitamin B6 (2.6 milligrams) boosts your energy levels while reducing cases of nausea and morning sickness.