When is the right time to start taking a prenatal vitamin? If you’re actor Gwyneth Paltrow, Mindy Kaling, or Reese Witherspoon, the answer is “right now” – whether or not you’re currently pregnant or trying to conceive. These Hollywood leading ladies swear by the benefits of prenatals to help hair grow fast and strong and promote smooth, glowy skin.
Health professionals advise caution, however. Prenatal vitamins contain higher levels of nutrients like folic acid and iron specifically to support the healthy development of a baby. Women who are not expecting or actively trying to conceive don’t need as much folic acid and iron in their diets, and taking supplements that contain high levels of these nutrients in synthetic forms can cause undesirable side effects like constipation and liver toxicity. (This isn’t something you need to worry about when taking NatureWise supplements, because our products are free of harmful synthetic ingredients!)
However, considering that an estimated 50% of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and that the diets of roughly 80% of adults don’t deliver the recommended daily amounts of several essential vitamins and minerals, prenatal vitamins are useful to help bridge the nutritional gap.2 They can serve as an “insurance policy” to provide crucial nutrients for both mom and baby, supporting defect-free development and reducing the risk of health concerns like preeclampsia, anemia, gestational diabetes, fatigue, weakened immunity, bone density loss, skin irritation, and brain fog.*1
It’s recommended that women who expect to become pregnant start taking a prenatal vitamin up to six months before trying to conceive to give their bodies time to build up adequate nutrient stores. Healthy levels of folic acid, a B vitamin that prevents neural tube defects, are especially critical at the beginning of pregnancy, as the neural tube is formed within the first month – before many mothers even realize they’re pregnant.
Even if pregnancy isn’t in the foreseeable future, there are some reasons why taking a prenatal vitamin regularly is a good idea. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, it’s probably difficult to obtain the recommended amounts of B vitamins and minerals like calcium and iron. Taking a prenatal vitamin, especially a whole-food complex, can supplement a plant-based diet for optimal nourishment. It can also be a good idea to take a prenatal vitamin if you’ve stopped taking hormonal birth control, as synthetic hormones can deplete nutrients like folate, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin E, all of which are necessary for a healthy pregnancy. You may also want to swap out your normal multivitamin for a prenatal one if you’re having frequent unprotected sex – you know, just in case (refer back to unplanned pregnancy statistic).
The rumors that prenatal vitamins encourage faster, thicker hair growth and promote stronger nails and dewier skin are largely unsubstantiated, but the inclusion of ingredients like biotin and vitamins C and E in most prenatals may contribute to these effects. Prenatal vitamins are not meant to stand in as a substitute for a healthy, well-balanced diet, and they should not be depended on as a primary source for key vitamins and minerals. However, they can promote ideal levels of the nutrients needed to support a healthy pregnancy and nourish both mom and baby. And if you choose a whole-food complex vitamin like NatureWise Prenatal Complete, you don’t have to worry about the side effects caused by the overconsumption of synthetic nutrients – the folate and iron we include in our prenatal vitamin are natural forms that are easily absorbed by the body.*
NatureWise Prenatal Complete is the most nutritionally comprehensive whole-food complex prenatal multivitamin available on the market today. It combines essential vitamins and minerals, organic fruits and vegetables, probiotics, and targeted, clinically proven ingredients together into a gentle, easy-to-digest vegetarian capsule to encourage healthy development at every stage – from the unfertilized egg, through each trimester, to the moment of birth!* Peppermint-flavored to discourage nausea, our Prenatal Complete multivitamins are also available in a travel-size bottle so you can easily take them with you anywhere!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.