Prenatal vitamins aren’t just for women who are pregnant – they have a great many benefits when included in any women’s daily supplement regimen. Experts recommend them for most women of child-bearing age since the nutrients in prenatal vitamins are vital during the time before and after you get pregnant.
Prenatals are generally high in iron, folic acid, and sometimes the biotin that is included in hair and nail formula vitamins. Because of these added benefits, some women elect to take prenatal vitamins even when they aren’t pregnant. They can improve the symptoms of anemia, make your hair grow faster and stronger, and help support your body while you’re breastfeeding to ensure that you and your baby are getting the nutrients you need.
Below are a few of the benefits of prenatal vitamins for women who are and aren’t expecting. Take a look at this helpful guide to find out if you should start taking prenatal vitamins and minerals as part of your daily supplementation routine.
You're trying to get pregnant
One of the main nutrients in prenatal vitamins is folic acid, which many women don’t get enough naturally, even if they’re eating a healthy diet. Unfortunately, folic acid deficiency has been linked to birth defects and potentially low birth weights in some infants, so making sure mom is getting enough is very important. Prenatal vitamins also commonly include the omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which can help with brain development and vision. While fish is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acid, there is concern regarding fish consumption and mercury toxicity while pregnant, meaning pregnant women must rely on supplementation to reduce the risk to themselves and their baby/babies.
One to try: Thorne Research Basic Prenatal
As mentioned earlier, prenatals aren’t just for a pregnant woman. With that in mind, a major difference between regular multivitamins and prenatal vitamins is that prenatals contain much more iron. If you have issues with anemia, this extra iron can help. The Mayo Clinic warns, however, that too much iron can be dangerous, so consult with your health care provider if you notice side effects after taking prenatal vitamins.
One to try: Rainbow Light Vibrance Prenatal One Multivitamin
You're vegetarian or have other dietary restrictions
Meeting all your dietary needs when your diet is restricted can be challenging. Getting B vitamins, for example, can be especially hard for vegetarians because the main dietary source of B vitamins is meat. Those with lactose intolerance, or who opt not to consume dairy, can benefit from the extra calcium and vitamin D in prenatal supplements.
One to try: New Chapter Perfect Prenatal
You want a boost for your hair
Biotin, which is part of the B vitamin group, has been used to treat hair loss and disorders. Biotin is present in many cosmetics, shampoos along with prenatal vitamins, so improving the condition of your hair may be another reason to take prenatal vitamins. Even celebrities such as Mindy Kaling swear by the practice.
One to try: Smartypants Prenatal Complete
The time you spend breastfeeding is an extension of pregnancy, since the nutrition you put in your own body is still helping your baby’s development. Folate is a vital nutrient for infants, and if a lactating mother isn’t getting enough folate for both her and her baby, she may find herself at risk of deficiency as much of the folate produced will go to the baby through breastfeeding. Continuing to take prenatal vitamins while you breastfeed can help better nourish you and your baby.
One to try: Garden of Life mykind Organics Prenatal Multi
As you can see, whether you want to encourage a healthy pregnancy, you are trying to get pregnant or simply want to boost your vitamin intake, prenatal vitamins and supplements may be worth considering. And, as always, make sure to consult your health care practitioner before making any changes to your health care routine. For more information on how make your pregnancy as healthy as (naturally) possible, check out our Natural Remedies for Pregnancy Symptoms.