Your prenatal vitamin can be essential in the months leading up to conception—and doctors recommend starting one at least three months before trying to conceive. It can help improve egg quality and optimize outcomes.
But once you become pregnant, it’s just as important to keep up with your supplements as your fetus continues to develop and grow at a rapid rate. Which can be easier said than done when you’re dealing with those early pregnancy symptoms including exhaustion and nausea.
Why is it important to take your prenatal during pregnancy?
All nutrients are required for the rapid cellular division happening in the growing fetus, so prenatals are an insurance policy that you are getting all the necessary nutrients required for fetal development. Certain nutrients are in higher demand, like Vitamins D, A, C and B12, Iron, Choline and Omega-3.
When during pregnancy is it most important to take your prenatal?
Cellular division is occurring most rapidly in early pregnancy, when rapid cell division and growth is occurring, and up until about 14-weeks gestation. During the first 18 weeks of pregnancy, the neural tube is closing, so Folate specifically is necessary until then to support that process. Folate is still used beyond 18 weeks because it supports many cellular functions including DNA protection and repair, and protein metabolism. Prenatals also typically contain iron and during pregnancy the body builds blood to support the fetus—in fact blood increases by up to 50 percent during pregnancy! There can also be serious complications of iron deficiency in all stages of pregnancy and especially in the first and third trimester.
What happens if you accidentally forget to take your prenatal?
The answer to this depends on where you are in your pregnancy journey. While it’s recommended to take a prenatal before becoming pregnancy through to postpartum, it’s especially important in the first trimester.
For a day?
Don’t worry if you miss a day, it happens.
For a week?
If you tend to eat a healthy diet and aren’t at risk of any vitamin deficiencies, then you shouldn’t worry too much about this either.
For a month?
Forgetting to take your prenatal for a month (or more) can be risky, especially in the first trimester. Try to make taking your prenatal part of your daily routine (for example, with breakfast every morning) to minimize missed doses or, come up with a system that helps you remember. Bird&Be supplements are packages in daily doses (one day per sachet) and come in boxes of 30—if you start a new box on day one of the month, then you’ll know by day 10 you should have 20 left, by day 15 you should have 15 left and so on.
Can you “make up” for forgetting to take your prenatal by taking extra doses?
There is usually no need to double up on prenatals if you miss doses. A lot of the nutrients are water soluble and only so much can be absorbed by the body at once, while others can cause side effects in higher doses. Just pick up where you left off and start taking them regularly.