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Prenatal Vitamins: Before Pregnancy

Prenatal Vitamins: Before Pregnancy

Protecting your pregnancy before conception.

Most women who are planning to become pregnant want to do everything they can to guarantee they are as healthy as possible prior to conceiving. And because women may not know that they are pregnant until a missed period, it is important to take a prenatal vitamin as soon as you begin trying for a baby. 

When you become pregnant, your growing baby will place demands on your body for nutrients and energy. As a result, you will need more specific vitamins and minerals. By taking a prenatal vitamin before you every become pregnant, your body is able to "stock up", ensuring that you start pregnancy as healthy as possible. 

While prenatals are designed for women who are pregnant, they can also be taken by women planning to become pregnant. Prenatal vitamins offer many of the same nutrients as a multivitamin, as well as higher levels of folic acid and iron. It's recommended that women start taking a prenatal vitamin regularly three months before you begin trying to become pregnant. As a pregnant woman, your body desperately needs folic acid to help prevent neural tubes and spina bifida, as well as iron to help build new red blood cells. 

Doctors agree that there are many things women can do to increase the health of their pregnancy- and their baby- long before conception. When it comes to taking a prenatal vitamin, Dr. Bates at Web MD, says taking folic acid is not only her "No. 1 recommendation" for women trying to get pregnant, she says it's such an important nutrient that "every woman who is sexually active and not using a highly reliable method of birth control should be taking folic acid, just on the off chance that she does get pregnant." Regardless of whether you are taking a multivitamin or prenatal, a woman of childbearing age should be getting a minimum of 400mcg of folic acid per day. 

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