The body needs certain vitamins and minerals to work properly and stay healthy. Most people can get all their necessary vitamins and minerals by eating a healthy diet with a variety of whole foods. However, vitamin supplements can help people who struggle to get enough vitamins and minerals from their diet. Some populations may need extra help reaching their nutrition goals due to certain health conditions or circumstances. Pregnant women need higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals to help nourish themselves and their growing baby. Prenatal vitamins are specially formulated to help pregnant women stay healthy. Prenatal vitamins come in different forms including tablets, softgels and gummies. They can be purchased in stores or online at Walgreens.
What are prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are a type of vitamin specially formulated to help pregnant women and women seeking to get pregnant reach all of their daily nutrition goals. Women need more of certain vitamins and minerals during pregnancy to help the growing fetus, such as folic acid and iron. Prenatal vitamins often contain these nutrients and others such as calcium, vitamin D, choline, zinc, iodine and B vitamins.
While some pregnant women who follow a very well-rounded diet may not need prenatal vitamins, certain nutrients are often under-consumed and many pregnant women benefit from a vitamin supplement to ensure they are not deficient in these nutrients. If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, speak with your healthcare provider about prenatal vitamins and which options might be best for you.
What do prenatal vitamins do for you?
Prenatal vitamins help women fill any nutritional gaps in their diet as they seek to get pregnant or experience pregnancy. They often contain nutrients that women need in higher amounts when they are pregnant, and these nutrients help support the woman’s body and growing fetus as it expends extra energy. Check the label on prenatal vitamins to see which nutrients they contain and in what quantity. Your healthcare provider can advise you on what to look for. A Walgreens pharmacist can help you find the vitamin that best suits your needs.
Do I need to take prenatal vitamins if I am pregnant?
While nutritional needs change during pregnancy, not every woman requires prenatal vitamins during this time. Women who are very well-nourished and follow a diet rich in whole foods, fruits and vegetables may reach all their vitamin and mineral goals through their diet. In these cases, a woman’s healthcare provider may recommend using single-ingredient supplements such as folic acid to meet their needs.
For other women who struggle to get a variety of vitamins and minerals from their diet, prenatal vitamins may be a good choice. Certain populations can be at an increased risk of micronutrient deficiencies during pregnancy including adolescents, smokers, people following a vegetarian or vegan diet, and those who have undergone certain surgeries or have gastrointestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease. These populations should consult with their healthcare provider about supplementation if they are pregnant or seeking to get pregnant.
When to start taking prenatal vitamins
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Many women choose to start taking prenatal vitamins when they are trying to conceive. This is because some important stages of the baby’s development take place in the first month of pregnancy before a woman may know she is pregnant. For this reason, having proper nutrition at the beginning of pregnancy is key to ensuring the pregnant mother and the fetus are well nourished.
Folic acid, also known as folate in its natural form, is a critical nutrient for the development of a baby’s neural tubes. This development occurs in the first month of pregnancy, so healthcare providers often recommend supplementing with folic acid at least one month before getting pregnant. Each woman will have her own unique nutritional needs depending on her diet, lifestyle, age and any medical conditions, so it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best steps for prenatal vitamin supplementation.
Can you take prenatal vitamins when not pregnant?
Many women take prenatal vitamins when they are not pregnant and are trying to conceive, depending on the advice of their healthcare provider. For key nutrients such as folic acid, guidelines usually recommend starting to supplement at least one month before getting pregnant. Some women of reproductive age regularly take prenatal vitamins. However, additional research is needed to determine the benefit of taking prenatal vitamins when you are not pregnant or trying to conceive. There are a wide variety of prenatal vitamin options to choose from at Walgreens. A pharmacist or pharmacy expert can help you navigate your options in stores or online 24/7 with Walgreens pharmacy chat.