Prenatal Vitamins While Not Pregnant: Can I Take Them?
You may be wondering if it is okay to begin taking prenatal vitamins when not pregnant. You may have heard a few rumours about the significant effects prenatal vitamins have on women, whether pregnant or not, but it is important to understand whether it is okay to take prenatal vitamins when not pregnant yet.
Taking prenatal vitamins when pregnant is necessary for many reasons, but taking them when not pregnant is sometimes recommended and other times not. Continue reading if you want to know everything about prenatal vitamins.
What are Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are very similar to any multivitamin out there. They include so many important vitamins like Vitamin B and Vitamin C. The difference is that prenatal vitamins also include vitamins needed for pregnancy like folic acid, Calcium and DHA, and they may contain higher concentrations of specific vitamins. A woman’s body goes through so many changes when she conceives.
The baby begins to grow and would need a lot of vitamins to develop healthily. Unfortunately, many women are deficient in specific vitamins, and if they are not, they still need higher amounts of essential nutrients to give to their babies. That is why pregnant women take prenatal vitamins. It ensures the healthy growth of the organs, including the brain.
Should I take Prenatal Vitamins when not pregnant?
Prenatal Vitamins: When Not trying to conceive
Great question. The answer to that depends on the reason why you want to take prenatal vitamins. If you’re going to take them because you heard that prenatal vitamins cause your hair to grow thicker, you should not take prenatal vitamins. Yes, prenatal vitamins have biotin and Vitamin B, which can make your nails and hair grow slightly. Still, in reality, pregnant women grow thick hair because pregnancy hormones encourage its growth.
You can’t get pregnancy hormones by taking prenatal vitamins. You can eat better or take another multivitamin that ensures hair growth. However, it is essential to know that you do not have to wait for a positive pregnancy test to take prenatal vitamins. Here are other reasons why you may want to take prenatal vitamins.
Preconception Vitamins: When Trying to conceive
One reason is you are trying to conceive. Taking prenatal vitamins when not pregnant but trying to conceive is highly encouraged. If there is any possibility you may get pregnant because you are trying or not using contraceptives, you should take preconception vitamins.
Prenatal vitamins contain a very important ingredient for conception, and that is folic acid. Folic acid helps in the creation of the baby’s neural tube. The neural tube is responsible for creating the brain and spinal column of the baby later on. You are encouraged to take prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant because the neural tube begins to form before a woman finds out she is pregnant.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) encourages women who can get pregnant (reproductive years) to take 400 mcg of folic acid every day. When a woman finds out she is pregnant, she should take 600 mcg of folic acid every day to help reduce the chances of Spina Bifida and other neural defects. This does not mean that your baby will have a defect if you don’t take prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant. Many women find out they are pregnant when they are further along in their pregnancy.
Taking preconception vitamins helps to prevent the chance of your baby having a neural defect. Just take the prenatal vitamins when you find out you are pregnant if you haven’t started taking them beforehand. Don’t be scared if you haven’t taken them early; many women in the past have not, and their babies are healthy.
Breastfeeding and Preconception Vitamins
Another reason to take prenatal is if you are breastfeeding, It is encouraged to continue taking prenatal vitamins when breastfeeding even though you are not pregnant. When you breastfeed, you are giving a lot of nutrients to your baby, and daily meals cannot give you enough vitamins and nutrients for you and your baby.
There are specific postnatal vitamins you can take instead of your prenatal vitamins. Postnatal vitamins contain extra vitamins needed to support breastfeeding. If you decide to formula feed your baby exclusively, you can still take prenatal or postnatal vitamins after giving birth. This will help you take back all the nutrients and vitamins you have lost during the pregnancy and delivery.
Do Prenatal Vitamins make you more fertile?
Many women have heard that prenatal vitamins can help you conceive. However, no research suggests that fertility increases with the use of prenatal vitamins or that prenatal vitamins help increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy with no complications.
Benefits of taking prenatal vitamins.
● Decreases the risks of spinal Bifida and other neural defects
● It gives you and your baby the nutrients you need
● Prevents anemia
● Helps with breastfeeding
● Can support hair growth
How long can you take prenatal vitamins when not pregnant?
Taking prenatal vitamins at least three months before conception is recommended, but one month before pregnancy is fine. If you take prenatal vitamins for a very long time, this could have a negative effect on your health. So, talk to your doctor about how long you should take the prenatal for.
Some negative effects of taking prenatal vitamins include an excessive amount of iron which can cause constipation and nausea, an excessive amount of vitamin A which causes damage to the liver, and a B-12 deficiency.
If you are not pregnant, not trying to conceive, nor breastfeeding, you should avoid prenatal vitamins and instead focus on your diet and get the nutrients you need through various types of food.
Best Prenatal Vitamins When Not Pregnant Yet
Not all prenatal vitamins are the same. There are many options, from vegetarian pills to gummies. The important thing to do is to look for the key nutrients in all of these options. Many if not all gummies contain no iron, which is very important for pregnancy and those trying to conceive. There are three ingredients you need to look for in a prenatal vitamin when not pregnant yet.
Here are the best prenatal vitamins when not pregnant:
● New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamin
This prenatal is my favourite because it is vegetarian and gluten-free. It is the best one if you have morning sickness because it contains ginger and a gentler form of iron which is known to cause nausea.
● Kin Fertility – The Prenatal
Kin Fertility is a relatively new company but is making waves when it comes to prenatal vitamins. The difference between The Prenatal and other brands is Kin Fertility Prenatal focuses on the bioavailability (how easily your body can use the nutrients you’re putting in) of the ingredients, not just bulking it out and only using the very best ingredients backed by science.
● Conceive Plus Women’s Fertility Support
Conceive Plus Women’s Prenatal Vitamins Provides key fertility ingredients, vitamins and minerals that support the female reproductive system for women trying to conceive. These can also be taken with ovulation & PCOS support.
● GNC Women’s Formula Vitamin Without Iron
Many women cannot tolerate iron. It causes nausea and constipation, which are both horrible symptoms. This prenatal contains all the vitamins you need; it just doesn’t have iron in it. But, keep in mind, iron is very important. It helps prevent anemia which is a severe condition. If you stop taking iron, tell your doctor. They can help you get iron via other means.
● Garden of Life Mykind Organics Prenatal Vitamin
If you are interested in the best organic prenatal vitamin when not pregnant, this is your best choice. It is also the best choice if you are pregnant too. It is made from natural herbs.
● One A Day Women’s Prenatal Vitamin
Anyone taking prenatal vitamins knows it can be difficult to take more than one pill a day. I remember taking a prenatal vitamin right before I fell asleep so I wouldn’t have to feel the side effects. This is the perfect choice because you only have to take one pill and not two or more like the other prenatal vitamins.
If you have any questions about prenatal vitamins, leave a comment below.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your doctor if you have any questions.
About the author, Halimeh Salem is a childcare teacher, a freelance writer, and a mother of two beautiful children, Basem and Sama. To pursue her dreams of helping mothers overcome the obstacles of motherhood, she founded her blog, Crying Toddlers. She loves spending her free time playing with her children and helping others.