Don’t believe the old wives’ tales about taking prenatal vitamins when you’re not expecting.

There’s fairly an attract, and a slew of previous wives’ tales, hooked up to prenatal nutritional vitamins. Many ladies have come to consider that taking them, pregnant or not, will assist their hair and nails develop sooner, and even give them an additional dose of wholesome and mandatory vitamins. However the reality is way extra sophisticated. Lady’s Day spoke with medical specialists to study extra in regards to the execs and cons of taking prenatal nutritional vitamins while you’re not anticipating.

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So, what precisely are prenatal nutritional vitamins? “The dosages of nutritional vitamins and minerals in prenatal nutritional vitamins are the identical ones that may be present in common multivitamins, however the dosages are increased as a result of the physique necessities are increased throughout being pregnant,” Dr. Fortunate Sekhon, reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at Reproductive Medication Associates of NY, tells Lady’s Day. “They’re geared in the direction of optimizing fetal progress and improvement. The primary distinction is that you simply’re given additional folic acid, usually about 400mcg a day. Prenatal nutritional vitamins ought to ideally be taken three months earlier than turning into pregnant, however even taking them only one month earlier than can drastically scale back dangers of neural tube defects and spinal twine points, equivalent to spina bifida.”

As all the time, it is essential that you simply seek the advice of a well being care supplier or household doctor previous to taking any over-the-counter remedy or beginning a vitamin routine. In spite of everything, what works for one physique doesn’t work for all. However in case you do have lingering questions on taking prenatal nutritional vitamins while you’re not pregnant, this is what you’ll want to know:


Prenatal nutritional vitamins could assist your pores and skin and nails, but it surely’s doubtless that any sort of vitamin with the identical vitamins could be simply as useful.

“It’s true that issues in prenatal nutritional vitamins, like vitamin B and biotin, are good for the pores and skin and nails. Nevertheless it’s not essentially the principle cause why there’s hair and nail progress,” Sekhon explains. “The rationale why folks all the time speak about the advantages of prenatal nutritional vitamins is a false impression. Individuals draw a whole lot of associations with prenatal nutritional vitamins, equivalent to that ‘being pregnant glow’, and hair turning into thicker. As an alternative of the nutritional vitamins, a whole lot of that is attributable to the hormonal modifications of being pregnant itself.”


“If you happen to’re planning on having kids any time sooner or later, even within the subsequent 5-10 years, there’s a profit to taking prenatal nutritional vitamins,” Ryann Kipping, RDN, CLEC, and proprietor/founding father of The Prenatal Nutritionist, tells Lady’s Day. “You’re giving your physique the vitamins it must prepare. Ideally, a girl’s reproductive years are when she’s engaged on reaching optimum well being. It’s greatest to enter being pregnant with none nutrient deficiencies.”

Kipping says that greater than 90 p.c of ladies aren’t assembly their choline wants, and 50 p.c are critically poor in vitamin D. Since fetal organs begin to develop within the first couple months of being pregnant, typically earlier than some ladies even understand they’re pregnant, it’s essential to offer your physique the vitamin it wants forward of time.


“The advice is to proceed taking prenatal nutritional vitamins after you could have a child, particularly all through the primary yr and in case you’re breastfeeding,” Sekhon explains. Your power necessities are extremely excessive while you’re feeding a new child (and sometimes not getting an sufficient quantity of sleep), so it’s essential to get all of the vitamins you may, when you may.


If you happen to’re taking prenatal nutritional vitamins to spice up hair progress, you’re doubtless going to be dissatisfied. “Whereas prenatal nutritional vitamins get a whole lot of credit score for a girl’s thick being pregnant hair, these modifications are literally as a result of hormonal variations that trigger hair and nails to develop sooner and make hair much less more likely to fall out,” Megan Casper, M.S., RDN, proprietor of Megan Casper Vitamin and author for Nourished Chunk, tells Lady’s Day. “That is additionally why, as soon as hormones begin to return to regular, ladies are likely to shed their wonderful being pregnant mane a couple of months after having their child, despite the fact that many ladies proceed to take prenatals whereas nursing.”


It is essential to contemplate the quantity of nutritional vitamins in prenatals, and whether or not or not your physique truly wants them. As a result of if it would not, the additional doses of vitamins might truly do extra hurt than good.

“The connection between vitamin B12 and vitamin B9, folate, is fascinating,” Kipping explains. “In case your ranges of B12 are sufficient, supplementing with folate is an effective factor. Nonetheless, if in case you have a B12 deficiency, supplementing with folate whereas leaving your B12 ranges untouched may very well trigger a kind of anemia often called megaloblastic anemia.”

Be aware that the chances of this are comparatively uncommon, and this is able to solely have an effect on a person who was B12 poor and taking a prenatal vitamin with no B12 however with excessive quantities of folate.


Some prenatal nutritional vitamins are very massive, and sure folks could have points swallowing them, Sekhon says. “ It’s undue discomfort since they may most likely simply be taking a smaller, regular multivitamin,” she provides. “Some folks additionally complain about constipation as a result of increased ranges of iron than what’s wanted.”


If you happen to’re breastfeeding or at present attempting to get pregnant, taking a prenatal vitamin is a good suggestion. In any other case, there isn’t a lot of an additional benefit to justify the change in your vitamin routine. They received’t make your hair prepared for a Pantene Professional-V business, and outdoors of being pregnant the doses of vitamins are increased than what’s mandatory and what your physique is ready to make the most of.

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