When to Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
By Erica Jeung, Certified Sports Nutritionist and Principal at BumpVitamins.com
SUPPLEMENTS CAN BE CONFUSING. And they can be especially confusing if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Some questions you may be wondering are, when do you start taking prenatal vitamins, why are they so important, and how do I know I am taking the best prenatal vitamin for me? The good news is that I have some answers.
When to start?
If you are trying to get pregnant, now is a great time to start taking prenatal vitamins. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends taking a multivitamin before and during pregnancy to help prevent birth defects.
As a nutritionist, of course, I want to tell everyone to get all of their vitamins and minerals from food. However, most of us lack a high variety diet with enough fruits and vegetables to get adequate nutrients on a daily basis. Not to mention the time it takes to track everything we eat or to cook healthy for every meal. The CDC reports that only 1 in 10 adults is getting the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. So taking vitamins before, during, and after pregnancy is important to ensure all nutritional gaps are being filled.
Why are vitamins and minerals important?
One of the most important vitamins that your body and your growing baby needs is folate or folic acid. Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate. Folate is a B vitamin and an essential nutrient that everybody needs. It is absolutely essential to have adequate folate levels prior to getting pregnant. A lack of folic acid can lead to brain and spine defects and these defects can occur in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Considering that most women don’t know they are pregnant until 4 or more weeks after conception, it is important to supplement folic acid even if there is the slightest chance of becoming pregnant.
In fact, the CDC recommends that all women of childbearing age take folic acid on a daily basis and consume foods high in folate. Many foods are fortified with folic acid including bread, cereal, and pasta. Natural sources of folate include beets, avocados, bananas, papaya, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, and nuts. Another benefit of folate is it helps build new cells in our body including the cells needed for healthy hair, skin, and nails. I call that a win-win. Other essential vitamins and minerals that are important for proper fetal development are iron, calcium, vitamin D, and omega fatty acids.
How do I know I am taking the best prenatal vitamin for me?
In order to determine your specific nutritional needs, Bump Vitamins offers a free nutritional assessment tool that will build a custom vitamin routine designed to your unique needs.
For those who are actively trying to get pregnant, Bump also offers pre-bundled products that have the perfect blend of nutrients and other essentials to promote a healthy pregnancy from the start. The Fertility Foundation Bundle ensures that nutritional gaps are being filled and the body is being well nourished prior to conception. This bundle helps support the whole body including the reproductive system. The bundle includes a multivitamin, calcium with magnesium and vitamin D&K, vitamin D3, and cranberry. Our Fertility Foundation Bundle contains all the nutrients you need in the right amounts. Plus, our supplements are practitioner-grade, made in the USA, and packed by a licensed pharmacist. Click this link to read more about the Fertility Foundation Bundle!
If you are already pregnant, Bump also offers a Prenatal Foundation Bundle. The Prenatal Foundation has increased amounts of specific, key nutrients and additional supplements to aid with common pregnancy ailments. For example, iron is very important to take in higher doses during pregnancy, but not in excess of the Daily Recommended Intake (DRI). Bump’s prenatal vitamin provides the exact FDA-recommended dose of 27 mg of iron. Your body will need this extra iron to produce hemoglobin a key component of red blood cells which are needed in high numbers to supply oxygen to the tiny human that is growing inside of you.
The amount of folate is also increased to the DRI of 800 mcg. Folate (folic acid) is critical before and during your pregnancy to prevent early-stage birth defects like Neural Tube Defects that impact the brain and spinal cord, as well as in the prevention of Cleft Lip and/or Palate. BUMP Vitamin’s prenatal vitamin also includes 650 mg of omega-3 fatty acids that are rich in Docosahexaenoic Acid (or DHA). DHA plays a crucial role in healthy brain and eye development.
There are two other great supplements included in the bundle, ginger and a probiotic supplement, that help with the proper function of the digestive system. Even if you do not suffer from nausea, ginger can help soothe the digestive tract, and probiotics can help maintain a healthy gut and immune system.
The Bottom Line
I have been working in the supplement and nutrition industry for over 20 years and I can tell you that there are a lot of crappy supplements out there. Because the FDA categorizes dietary supplements as food, the supplement industry is not regulated like prescription medications are, even though they both produce pills that often claim to have the same benefits. As a result, some of the companies out there are not always truthful about what is in their supplements, because they rarely face any kind of repercussions. Even in cases where heavy metals or toxins (that could terminate a pregnancy or harm an unborn baby) are found, vitamin manufacturers rarely face anything more than a slap on the wrist.
That is why Bump Vitamins is such a blessing to me, and to all women that are concerned about where their vitamins come from. Bump’s all-natural vitamins come directly from a pharmacy… not some random warehouse. Your order is custom-made and verified by a licensed pharmacist using high-grade, natural supplements made right here in the USA.
Bump also makes it easy to remember to take your vitamins. They eliminate all the wasteful plastic bottles by pre-sorting your vitamins into convenient daily pouches that are biodegradable and earth-friendly. Everything is shipped directly to your door for a lot less than what you pay by buying individual bottles online or in the store. BUMP was designed exclusively for women to answer all the questions I discussed above and to provide convenient, affordable, and safe vitamins that are unique to each woman’s needs and her stage in life.
 CDC Press Release, “Only 1 in 10 Adults Get Enough Fruits or Vegetables,” https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1116-fruit-vegetable-consumption.html, November 16, 2017.