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Prepping for Parenthood: The Optimal Time to Start Prenatal Vitamins

Prepping for Parenthood: The Optimal Time to Start Prenatal Vitamins

Deciding when to start taking prenatal vitamins is a big step on your pregnancy journey. Your healthcare practitioner will likely recommend them even before you get pregnant. This is because the baby's most important growth happens in the very early stages of pregnancy, sometimes before you even know you're expecting. Starting prenatal vitamins early helps ensure you and your baby have the proper nutrition from the start. Think of it like packing a suitcase before a big trip; it's all about preparation. Keep reading to discover why taking a prenatal vitamin is one of the first ways to show your baby some love!

couple holding ultrasound image

How Early Should I Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?

When considering having a baby, it's ideal to start taking prenatal vitamins early, even before you get pregnant. Doctors say it's best to begin at least one month before you try to have a baby.(1) This is because your baby starts to grow very early in pregnancy, even before you know you're pregnant.


Prenatal vitamins are like a nutritional safety net that ensures you and your baby-to-be have all the essential nutrients needed. They ensure your body is stocked with essentials like folate, iron, and calcium—nutrients vital for your baby's early development, especially in the first few weeks. For example, folate supports your baby's healthy nervous system development, including the brain and spinal cord.(2) This system develops very early on in a pregnancy. If you don't have enough folate, you could be putting your baby's health at risk.(3) Starting prenatals early ensures your little one gets the best start, even before you see that positive test.

Is It Ever Too Late To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?

Young women looking at a calendar

It's never too late, but the sooner, the better. While prenatal vitamins help prepare your body for pregnancy, if you didn't start taking them before or early in your pregnancy, don't panic. Beginning to take them at any point still benefits your baby by providing vital nutrients that might be missing from your diet. It's like giving your baby extra protection and support as they grow. The most important thing is to start as soon as you realize their importance and to discuss your options with your healthcare provider.

What Happens if I Don’t Take Prenatal Vitamins While Pregnant?

Not taking prenatal vitamins during pregnancy could result in missing out on essential nutrients you and your baby need. For example, iron is important because it supports the healthy blood you need to supply oxygen to your baby.(4) You could feel tired and weak if you don't get enough. Your baby's growth won't be supported, either—they may have a low birth weight.


Calcium is another key nutrient because it supports the growth of your baby's strong bones and teeth.(5) If your baby doesn't get enough calcium from your diet, they might take it from your bones. This can affect your health later on. It's a team effort to ensure you both get what you need, so chatting with a doctor about your diet and taking a prenatal supplement are great places to start.

Will My Baby Be Okay If I Don’t Take Prenatal Vitamins?

While prenatal vitamins are packed with nutrients that help your baby grow strong and healthy, not taking them doesn't mean something bad will happen. However, these vitamins ensure your baby gets the necessary nutrients to support healthy growth. Eating nutritious foods is also critical.(6) But remember, prenatal vitamins add that extra support. It's like wearing a helmet while biking—it's added protection. If you're worried about your baby's health or nutrition, your healthcare practitioner is the best person to talk with. They can give you advice that's just right for you and your baby.

Do I Have To Take Prenatal Vitamins For the Whole Nine Months?

Taking prenatal vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy is highly recommended. It’s a commitment to your baby’s health and well-being. Think of prenatal vitamins as your baby’s nutritional backup during the nine months they grow inside you. These vitamins ensure your baby gets what is needed to support their healthy development.


Plus, your healthcare practitioner may suggest continuing to take your prenatals if you decide to breastfeed. Continuing to take your prenatals allows you and your baby to continue to reap the benefits.(7) It might seem like a long time, but taking prenatal vitamins every day is a simple step that can greatly impact your baby’s future health.

Which Prenatal Vitamins Are Best For My Pregnancy?

Cute baby on a blanket

Choosing the best prenatal vitamins for your pregnancy can feel like a big task, but it's really about focusing on what's best for you and your baby. You can work with your healthcare provider to determine your and your baby's needs based on your health.


In general, prenatal vitamins contain many nutrients vital to you and your baby’s health and well-being, including:

  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Choline
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Seeking Health’s Prenatal Vitamins and Supplements

If you’re ready to start taking prenatal vitamins, check out the pregnancy vitamins and supplements Seeking Health has developed to help support you and your baby throughout your pregnancy and beyond. You can take these supplements from pre-conception straight through to breastfeeding. We’ve also included methyl-sensitive formulas if you experience side effects from taking traditional supplements.

  • Prenatal Essentials contain key pregnancy nutrients, including methylated forms of folate, B12, and trimethylglycine (TMG). They support healthy MTHFR, BC01, and GST/GPX genes that are crucial for healthy fertility, pregnancy, and cell division.
  • Prenatal Essentials MF supports healthy immune, spine, and brain development. Prenatal Essentials MF contains B12 and folate in bioavailable, methyl-free forms to support optimal methylation.
  • Optimal Prenatal MF is a high-strength, first-of-its-kind, non-methylated prenatal supplement containing amino acids, chelated minerals, and bioavailable B vitamins to support a healthy pregnancy.

None of the supplements in our prenatal collection contain iron. This allows you to customize your iron intake according to your healthcare practitioner's advice, which may be more gentle on your body.

The Bottom Line

Young women holding her pregnant belly

Getting ready for parenthood and ensuring your baby has everything they need to grow healthy and strong starts with something as simple as prenatal vitamins. Chatting with your healthcare practitioner and beginning those vitamins before you conceive gives yourself and your baby a head start on the path to wellness. Remember, taking care of your baby starts with taking care of yourself. Those little vitamins are power-packed tools to help you do just that.

References

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-vitamins/art-20046945
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/about.html
  3. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22198-folate-deficiency
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/anemia-during-pregnancy/art-20114455
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28867880/
  6. https://www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/pregnancy/eating-healthy-during-pregnancy
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22852064/

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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