So you’ve decided it’s time to grow your family… now what? You’ve probably heard through the grapevine that there are things you can do to keep your new little visitor happy well before they arrive. Well, we’ve got a couple of simple tips and tricks that you can kick off today to help you and your little one along the way.
One of the easiest things you can do is start taking a mighty little pill packed with all the vitamins and minerals you and your bub need to stay happy and healthy through your entire pregnancy: a prenatal supplement.
Keep reading to discover how early you should start taking prenatal vitamins, when it is safe to stop, and tips for ensuring you’re eating a nutrient-rich diet your little one will thank you for.
Your body will go through a lot of changes during your pregnancy, so it’s never too early to start preparing it for the journey ahead. In fact, a great rule of thumb is to start taking prenatal vitamins three months before you begin trying to conceive.
Although it may seem like a long time ahead, these three months are key for your body to adjust to the new supplements and create a reserve of nutrients and vitamins that will keep both yourself and your little one healthy.
Plus, many women don’t realise they’re pregnant until the first few weeks, yet by then, the baby has already started developing, so the right vitamins will give them the fuel they need to grow strong from day one.
We know, of course, that not every pregnancy is planned and taking prenatal vitamins months in advance isn’t always possible.
If you’ve learned about your new little tenant and haven’t even thought about anything prenatal, first of all, congratulations!
Second of all, don’t worry if you’re not already taking a prenatal supplement. Especially if you’re eating a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains, this can go a long way when it comes to supporting your baby’s development – but we’ll get into that in a bit.
Just make sure to speak to your doctor and start supplementing as soon as possible.
Now you know when to start prenatal vitamins, but when is it safe for you to stop?
The best person to advise you on this is your doctor. However, many women continue supplementing throughout their breastfeeding journey and there’s a good reason for this, as the contents of your breast milk will depend heavily on the nutrients you consume.
Even if you choose not to breastfeed, taking prenatal vitamins after your baby is born can still be a great idea. After giving birth, many women experience low iron levels due to blood loss during birth and vaginal bleeding during the weeks after. Although this is normal, taking a supplement with iron will help replenish your iron reserves and avoid fatigue, dizziness and headaches.
Taking prenatal vitamins as early as possible is important. Even more important is to choose a supplement that combines all the crucial ingredients for your little one to grow strong and healthy, while you feel your best and manage common pregnancy symptoms with confidence. Key ingredients to look out for in your prenatal vitamin include:
Here’s some prenatal supplementing 101: if your vitamin doesn’t include folate, it’s not the one. This nutrient will help your baby grow a healthy neural tube, which will then develop into the brain and spinal cord.
Tied with folate as the most important nutrient to look for in a prenatal vitamin, iron plays two big roles. It supports your baby’s healthy development by supplying them with blood and oxygen while helping to prevent anemia by ensuring your blood has a healthy amount of red blood cells.
We’ve all heard about how important calcium is to develop healthy bones, and that’s the exact reason why your prenatal vitamins should include this mighty nutrient, as it will help your baby build strong bones and teeth.
Keep in mind that your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, so that’s another ingredient to keep an eye out for.
Along with your prenatal vitamin, the food you eat should be the source of many essential nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. Always remember to:
If you’re planning on expanding your family soon, the best time to start taking prenatal vitamins is now.
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.