Pregnancy + Parenthood

Wondering When to Start Taking Prenatal Multivitamins? Consider the 3-Month Rule

3 min read
When should you start taking prenatal vitamins? We dig into the science—and yes, there's a rule of thumb to follow.
When should you start taking prenatal vitamins? We dig into the science—and yes, there's a rule of thumb to follow.

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We probably don’t need to remind you that your nutrient needs will change throughout your life—and that's especially true during pregnancy.

Prenatal multivitamins are specifically designed to lend nutrient support during pregnancy—a no-brainer, right? But for many pregnant people or those thinking about having a baby, the question isn’t whether to take prenatal multivitamins—it’s when to start taking prenatal multivitamins.

So when is the ideal time to introduce prenatal multivitamins into a regimen? Our rule of thumb: Consider taking prenatal multivitamins when thinking, trying, and when it's time. 3 months ahead of time is often a good benchmark to aim for. But let's dive in a little deeper, shall we?

Understanding nutritional needs during pregnancy

Women need a variety of nutrients in order to support pregnancy. And while it’s technically possible to fill those nutrient needs through a healthy diet, it can also be very difficult. Prenatal multivitamins are designed to help fill nutritional gaps in a birthing person’s diet—which supports baby, as well.

In order to determine when to start taking prenatal multivitamins, it’s important to understand what some of those nutrients are and the role they play.

Let’s talk about a few key examples:

Folate. Folate is a B Vitamin that helps support neural tube development during the early stages of pregnancy and is typically found in vegetables (like leafy greens), eggs, and legumes. Folate comes in various forms, including folic acid and 5-MTHF.*

Iron. Iron needs increase during pregnancy.*

Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids (including DHA) help support brain and vision health and are typically found in foods like salmon, tuna, and shellfish.*

Choline. Choline is an important nutrient during pregnancy.*

When to start taking prenatal multivitamins

Pregnancy can be hard to predict. It’s impossible to know whether it will take a month or a year to get pregnant—and, oftentimes, someone may not know they're actually pregnant until a few weeks later.

Because so much of a baby’s development happens during the early weeks of pregnancy, it’s important to start taking prenatal multivitamins before trying to get pregnant—three months is a good rule of thumb.

Ritual’s Essential Prenatal Multivitamins

When choosing a prenatal multivitamin, it's important to ensure it helps support nutrient needs throughout pregnancy. Ritual’s Essential Prenatal multivitamin was designed with 12 key nutrients (including folate, vitamin B12, vitamin D3, DHA, iron, and choline)—no shady extras, and a fresh lemon-y scent, too.*

P.S. Don't forget about protein

A prenatal multivitamin can help support micronutrient needs, but it's important to consider macronutrients as well. Exhibit A: Women need more protein during pregnancy and lactation to help support the increased nutrient demands that occur during these life stages. We formulated our Essential Protein Pregnancy & Postpartum with these demands in mind—and even added choline, too.*

References:

  1. Mayo Clinic. 2018, April 13. Prenatal vitamins: Why they matter, how to choose.

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