Most of us have spent our whole lives trying not to get pregnant, so when it comes to being ready, there is a lot to unpack and even more to restore. Natural conception is not always linear, and like anything to do with motherhood, it takes time, patience and knowledge. You would never enter the City to Surf without some level of training. And if you did, think about the repercussions this may have on your body. So if you’re thinking of getting pregnant or even growing your family, a level of “training” and preparation is worth consideration. And a prenatal vitamin might just be the simplest tool we have to support us in the lead up.
At moode, we're constantly asked why, when and for how long you should be investing in a prenatal vitamin. So we thought we’d break it down for you. It’s time to restore and let the baby making begin.
Why are Prenatal vitamins important?
A prenatal is formulated to support a woman’s health and her baby’s development throughout the fertility journey. It does so by carefully balancing the nutritional needs of both the growing baby, and you, babe. Phew, a small tablet can do quite a lot. A prenatal is recommended preconception, as they're packed with nutrients that support egg health and maturation. Throughout pregnancy, they provide good coverage for the nutrients we’re most likely to become deficient in. While supplementation is not a fix all, a quality prenatal can serve as an insurance policy for any gaps in your diet.
What is the difference between a prenatal and a good multivitamin?
Let’s get down to basics. A prenatal is a multivitamin, designed specifically to meet the nutritional needs of preconception and pregnancy. Because there are certain nutrients required in this period, which you won’t necessarily find in your women’s multi that’s been sitting on the back shelf of your bathroom cupboard for 2 years. Famous fertility nutrients Folate, Iodine and Choline are required in higher amounts in pregnancy, to accommodate the nutritional demands of the growing baby. Regular multivitamins rarely include these nutrients, or enough of them to touch the sides of what’s needed in pregnancy. A good prenatal will also include the nutrients we’re at a high risk of deficiency in, such as Zinc, Vitamin D and B Vitamins. A prenatal doesn’t require the kitchen sink, but enough of the ingredients that matter most for you and your baby.
When is the ideal time to start taking a prenatal?
Health practitioners recommend switching to a quality prenatal three months before trying for a baby. Why so early? The baby’s neural tube closes in the first month of pregnancy, before many of us even know we’re pregnant. So a prenatal containing 500mcg of folate ensures our levels are topped up and ready for when a baby appears on the ultrasound. The additional nutrients found in a prenatal are there to support the overall growth and development of the baby, while also supporting your health too. Starting these preconception helps ensure our reserves are ready for when they’re needed most.
Are vitamins recommended if I have a healthy diet?
Even the healthiest of diets can sometimes fall short when it comes to providing all the essential nutrients you and your baby need during pregnancy. Consuming leafy greens, proteins, eggs and whole grains in excess is a fantastic start, but even our best intentions can be railroaded by unexpected nausea and other fun side effects of pregnancy. And it’s unlikely we’ll get exactly what we need from diet alone. Kelly Benton, Fertility Nutritionist suggests “A prenatal supplement should be part of every woman’s preconception / pregnancy plan. This is important to ensure that regardless of food intake, they are meeting the basic requirements of certain nutrients known to play a key role in the healthy development of their baby.”
Vitamins are useful, but they’re just one part of the preconception preparation puzzle. And can only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate. It’s best to think of a prenatal as part of your preconception and pregnancy support crew, filling the gaps we might be missing. At least this is one pill that’s always easy to swallow, no sugar coating necessary.