Should I Take Prenatal Vitamins During Early Pregnancy?


1 Why Use Prenatal Vitamins? 

Prenatal vitamins are extremely important for pregnant women. In fact, in some cases, women start to take prenatal vitamins before they are even pregnant, to give their fertility a boost and help them set a good foundation for their baby-to-be.


Many times, pregnant women might not always eat the healthiest diet, and for that reason, there are prenatal vitamins available to help fill in the gaps. So, if you are pregnant, can you just take a regular multivitamin and still be okay?

The answer is no. It’s important to choose a specially formulated prenatal vitamin for a few reasons. First of all, prenatal vitamins contain more folic acid than regular adult vitamins. Folic acid is important because it helps to prevent neural tube defects. Prenatal vitamins also usually contain more iron than other vitamins. This is because iron supports a baby’s growth and development.

2 How To Choose A Prenatal Vitamin

There are a ton of different prenatal vitamins on the market today, so pregnant women have a multitude to choose from. You can buy them at the grocery store, the drug store, the pharmacy, or even online.


Your doctor might even have samples of prenatal vitamins to give you to try out, so that you can find one that you really like. Here is a sample of what you should be looking for in a prenatal vitamin:

  • Folic acid — 400 to 800 micrograms
  • Calcium — 250 milligrams
  • Iron — 30 milligrams
  • Vitamin C — 50 milligrams
  • Zinc — 15 milligrams
  • Copper — 2 milligrams
  • Vitamin B-6 — 2 milligrams
  • Vitamin D — 400 international units

Ask your doctor if he or she has any recommendations for other nutrients that you should look for in your prenatal vitamin.


3 What To Remember

A few points to remember about prenatal vitamins. Sometimes, you may have to try several before you find one that is good for you. You can even find chewable gummy prenatal vitamins today which can help if you don’t like to swallow pills or find the traditional pills too hard on your stomach.

Sometimes, taking your prenatal vitamin with your breakfast or a few crackers can help to keep your stomach from feeling upset for from developing nausea. Also, remember that even if you are taking a prenatal vitamin, you still need to get nutrition from whole foods, like fruits, veggies, dairy and lean meats as well.


Just taking a multivitamin is not enough. Also remember that you need to start taking your prenatal vitamin as soon as possible after you find out you are pregnant, if not before. This is because neural tube defects normally occur in the first 28 days after conception, so taking a prenatal vitamin as soon as possible is a type of insurance against problems with your pregnancy. Talk to your doctor if you have additional questions.

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Ms. Wisniewski has over 15 years experience as a labor and delivery nurse, having also worked previously as a nurse midwife in the Philippines and India. She enjoys empowering women and providing family centered care to women from all cultural and educational backgrounds.

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