Prenatal Vitamins Before Pregnancy

prenatal vitamins

Prenatal Vitamins Before Pregnancy

When embarking on the journey to parenthood, you probably know it’s important to maintain a healthy diet to provide essential nutrients. However, there’s another crucial aspect that deserves attention even before conception: prenatal vitamins. These specialized supplements play a significant role in optimizing your reproductive health and supporting the development of your future baby. Let’s explore why prenatal vitamins before pregnancy are a vital part of your preparation.

Why Prenatal Vitamins Matter

  • Folic Acid for Neural Tube Development
    Folic acid (also known as folate) is a superstar nutrient during early pregnancy. It plays a key role in the development of the neural tubes, which eventually form the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Taking folic acid before getting pregnant reduces the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. The minimum recommended amount of folic acid to take while attempting pregnancy is 400mcg but most standard prenatal vitamins contain 1mg of folic acid to be taken daily.
  • Iron for Blood Health
    Iron is essential for red blood cell production and oxygen transport. During pregnancy, blood volume significantly increases, and iron requirements rise. Starting iron supplementation before conception ensures your body is well-prepared. One point of note about iron: it can cause constipation, so if you are prone to this at baseline, it is a good idea to also take a stool softner.
  • Calcium and Bone Health
    Calcium supports bone development in both you and your baby. Ensuring adequate calcium intake before pregnancy sets the stage for strong bones. In general, approximately 1,500mg of calcium daily is recommended for bone health.
  • Vitamin D for Immune Function
    Vitamin D plays a role in immune function, bone health, and overall well-being. Many people have insufficient vitamin D levels, so early supplementation is beneficial. At least 800-1,000 international units of vitamin D daily is recommended for most adults.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Brain Development
    Omega-3s, especially DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), support brain and eye development in the fetus. Initiating prenatal vitamins with DHA ensures optimal brain growth. Many modern prenatal vitamins are pre-formulated to contain DHA already.

Choosing the Right Prenatal Vitamin

At Virginia Fertility & IVF, we typically opt for a prenatal vitamin that includes folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, and DHA. Some formulations also contain other essential nutrients like B vitamins and zinc. Be aware that high doses of vitamin A can harm the developing baby. Choose vitamins with beta-carotene (a safe precursor to vitamin A) instead.

Also, remember that prenatal vitamins complement a healthy diet but do not replace it. Continue consuming nutrient-rich foods alongside supplementation.


Preparation matters. By taking prenatal vitamins before conception, you invest in your future child’s health. So, alongside those leafy greens and whole grains, don’t forget to include your prenatal vitamin—it’s a small step toward a big dream.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any supplements or making significant dietary changes.

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