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Prenatal vitamins are made for people who are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant. Folic acid is the most important vitamin for pre-pregnancy health.

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What are prenatal vitamins?

Prenatal vitamins are supplements that contain daily vitamins and minerals you need before and during your pregnancy.

Folic acid is the most important vitamin to take when planning a pregnancy. Folic acid is a B vitamin that cells in your body need for growing and developing. Taking 400 mcg of folic acid every day for at least 1 month before and during pregnancy can help lower the risk for problems with the baby’s brain and spine — called neural tube defects (NTDs). Some women, like those who have had a pregnancy affected by NTDs or with sickle cell disease, may need more folic acid. Talk to your doctor or nurse about the dose that is right for you.

Most nutrients should come from the foods you eat, but it’s also a good idea to take prenatal vitamins. Your nurse, doctor, or midwife can recommend the best vitamins for you, on top of folic acid.

When do I need to start taking prenatal vitamins?

Start taking folic acid at least 1 month before you start trying to get pregnant. The first few weeks of pregnancy are a really important time for fetal health and development. Taking folic acid and other prenatal vitamins can help reduce the risk of some birth defects. Keep taking prenatal vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy.

Do prenatal vitamins have side effects?

A lot of people wonder about about prenatal vitamins side effects. Some people get nauseated or constipated from taking prenatal vitamins. If this happens to you, talk with your doctor about changing brands or the types of vitamins you’re taking.

Prenatal vitamins come in tablets or capsules, so finding the kind that works best with your body can help ease side effects. Your doctor or midwife can help you find a prenatal vitamin that will work best for your body.

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