Benefits of Prenatal Vitamins Before, During, and After Pregnancy

Every woman who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant has been told to take prenatal vitamins… but why? Why are they so important?

It’s because prenatal vitamins supplement women with the 3 key nutrients their bodies need for a healthy pregnancy: calcium, folic acid, and iron.

You might think, “Oh, I can just take more of my regular multivitamin.

But not really. Taking more than one daily multivitamin leads to an overload of certain nutrients and vitamins, like vitamin A and C, and can actually pose harm to mom and baby during early pregnancy.

Prenatal vitamins were specifically designed with extra amounts of just the vitamins moms need, and lower amounts of potentially harmful nutrients, so mamas’ bodies receive all of the right nourishment for pregnancy.  

Pregnant woman taking prenatal vitamin with a glass of water

In fact, prenatal vitamins are so crucial to a healthy pregnancy that we made our own all-natural, affordable prenatal filled with all of the best nutrients to support mom and baby. And in this post, we’re going to talk about:

Let’s dive in!

Here are 7 benefits of prenatal vitamins:

#1: Reduces the Chance of Birth Defects, Specifically Neural Tube Birth Defects

Growing babies need plenty of folic acid for healthy neural tube — spinal and brain — development; without enough of this mineral, babies can develop neural tube defects like anencephaly and spina bifida. Since prenatals are full of this mineral, they’re essential in preventing conditions like so.

If you’re not already taking a prenatal while trying to conceive, you should start as soon as possible since the neural tube develops during the early weeks of pregnancy and you’ll want to ensure your body has healthy levels of folic acid from day one of conception.

#2: Prevents Premature Birth and Low Birthweight

Being deficient in certain minerals, like zinc, can cause early labor, premature birth, and low birth weight in newborns. Prenatal vitamins help mama get all the nutrients she needs to maintain good health, and ensures that baby receives enough of the right vitamins and minerals to develop at a healthy rate.

#3: Supports Earliest (and Most Important) Stages of Fetal Development

Prenatal vitamins contain folic acid to facilitate baby’s brain and spinal cord development; copper to develop the skeletal system, brain, heart, and other major organs; vitamins to stimulate baby’s bone, cell, and tissue growth; in addition to a number of other beneficial nutrients to support a fetus from conception until birth.  

A good portion of fetal development takes place in the first weeks and months of pregnancy, sometimes even before you realize you’re pregnant, which is why taking prenatals all throughout the time you’re trying to conceive is recommended to ensure your growing baby gets the right amount of essential nutrients.  

#4: Supplements Mom’s Natural Iron Levels to Ensure She Receives Enough of This Needed Mineral

Your body needs iron to make red blood cells, and red blood cells are what carry oxygen to the heart and other organs. Plus, iron plays a decently large role in the development of the placenta, which is pretty important for pregnancy.

Iron deficiencies are rather common in general, not just in pregnant women, so it’s a safe bet to increase your iron intake during pregnancy to prevent iron-deficiency anemia and other health complications.

#5: May Reduce the Risk of Developing Preeclampsia

Certain studies have shown that supplementing vitamins C and E — as well as vitamin D during early pregnancy and the first trimester — can significantly lower your chances of developing preeclampsia – a serious condition characterized by high blood pressure that can lead to potentially fatal complications for both mom and baby.

Research found oxidative stress as a leading cause of preeclampsia; so the thought is that supplementing the body with powerful antioxidants like vitamins C, E, and D will stabilize free radicals and prevent preeclampsia due to oxidative stress.

#6: Improves Egg Quality and Balances Reproductive Hormones, Especially Helpful for Those Trying to Get Pregnant

Paying extra attention to meet your nutritional needs helps your internal processes run more smoothly and regulates your hormones. Healthy hormone production and maintaining good health in general means better quality eggs, which increases the chances of getting pregnant/or reduced complications or chance of miscarriage once you do.  Plus, many prenatal vitamins are full of omega-3 fatty acids, or DHA; this nutrient enhances cervical mucus quality and better balances reproductive hormones to facilitate conception.

#7: Support Mama during Breastfeeding

It probably comes as no surprise that mamas need extra nutrients while breastfeeding just like they do while pregnant. Sure, the nutritional needs change from pregnancy to breastfeeding, but mamas are advised to continue with their prenatal until they’re done breastfeeding to make sure they’re providing enough nourishment for their baby.

Bump Boxes Prenatal Vitamins for Trying and Expecting Mamas

Since we know moms already have a lot on their plates after becoming pregnant, we designed our prenatal vitamins program to be as simple, straightforward, and convenient as possible to take the burden of shopping prenatals off of mama.

Most importantly, our prenatal vitamins contain all of the essential nutrients to support pregnancy, such as folic acid, calcium, magnesium, and an array of vitamins. This way, mom doesn’t have to worry about reading labels to find the best prenatal, or heading to the store to replenish her prenatal vitamins every time she runs out.

And we take our dedication to supporting pregnant mamas one step further by donating our prenatal vitamins to pregnant women who need them, so no expecting mamas have to go without. Upon signing up for our prenatal program, mama can choose whether they want to just pay for shipping or pay for shipping plus a donation to a pregnant mom in need — every dollar donated goes directly to supplying and shipping moms our nourishing prenatal vitamins.  

Now, over 10,000 mamas rely on us every month for their prenatal vitamins.

Bump Boxes Prenatal Vitamins and DHA Supplement

As we mentioned earlier, our prenatal vitamins are completely clean and safe for all mamas. They’re free of fillers found in the OTC prenatal vitamins, and they contain all of the right ingredients in healthy amounts so moms are never oversaturated in one vitamin or mineral.  

Our Bump Boxes prenatal vitamins are dye- and filler-free; sugar, lactose, and gluten-free.

Signing up for an affordable prenatal vitamin subscription takes only a few clicks. Simply choose the shipping amount and whether or not you want to make a donation, then enter your billing and shipping info. Then, we’ll send your prenatal vitamins straight to your door every month!  

Beneficial Vitamins and Minerals in Prenatals

Most prenatal vitamins contain the same primary vitamins and minerals — although some may have a few additional nutrients thrown in here or there — but the amount of each ingredient may differ from supplement to supplement. We always recommend checking with your OBGYN or doctor to determine how much of each vitamin and mineral you should be taking before choosing a prenatal vitamin.

Prenatal vitamin cracked open to expose vitamin powder
  • Folic acid: Folic acid is a must-take if you’re even thinking about getting pregnant because it’s critical to neural tube development.
  • Calcium: As you probably remember from the Milk commercials, calcium is needed for strong bone growth, in both mama and baby. But it’s also necessary for healthy heart development, too. Since babies need a lot of mom’s calcium, it’s necessary to supplement this mineral so mom and baby aren’t deficient.
  • Iron: Critical for red blood cell development and maintaining healthy oxygen levels.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium helps relax muscles and regulate internal systems, and it also facilitates fetal development. Plus, magnesium is known to curb morning sickness and promote better sleep at night.  
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (DHA & EPA):  Fatty acids are good to take regardless of whether you’re pregnant or not because they reduce your risk of cancer and keep your heart healthy. And when you’re pregnant, they’re even more helpful because they work to deter preterm birth and blood clots.  
  • Copper: Most other prenatal vitamin posts focus on folic acid and other vitamins, but this powerful element is extremely important — it plays a key role in developing your baby’s heart, skeletal system, nervous and immune systems, blood vessels, and cells. It’s safe to say we need copper for a healthy pregnancy!
  • Zinc: Zinc doesn’t necessarily do much to help mom or baby, but zinc deficiencies can cause problems like preterm birth and low birth weight, so it’s best to make sure mom has enough of this mineral to prevent pregnancy complications.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E is necessary for collagen production, and collagen is the protein necessary to build strong cartilage, bones, tissues, skin, hair, and more. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that works to build the immune system.  
  • Vitamin A: Vitamin A is important to cellular production and fetal development, specifically in the formation of the arms and legs, eyes (vision), ears, heart, and more. It also helps build baby’s immunity while still in the womb.  
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C offers the same benefits as vitamin E, as it’s crucial for collagen and healthy tissue production.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Prenatal Vitamins

Bump Boxes Prenatal Vitamins and DHA Supplement

For the most part, there’s no right or wrong way to take a prenatal vitamin; however, these helpful pills can have not-so-fun side effects that may require some strategy to manage. If you’ve never taken a prenatal vitamin before, or you’re struggling with taking your current pill, try some of our tips below to make the process smoother:

#1: Listen to Your Body When Choosing the Timing of Taking Your Prenatal

Some moms swear by taking prenatal vitamins in the morning, others can only take it at night right before bed. Take Moriah on our Social Media team, for example, she got sick when trying to take her prenatals in the morning, and instead, felt best taking them in the evening; while on the other hand, her best friend was the complete opposit

If you consistently get sick taking your prenatals first thing in the morning (or right before bed), change up the time you take them. And although it seems most moms usually choose morning or night, there’s nothing wrong with taking your prenatal with lunch or in the middle of the day.  

#2: Take Your Prenatal Vitamins with Food

Prenatal vitamins, when taken on an empty stomach, can cause serious stomach aches and nausea. However, this can also be said for nearly any other multivitamin. If you’re going to take a vitamin, you should pair it with a meal so you’re not filling your body with vitamins and minerals on an empty stomach — doing this upsets the GI tract and leads to discomfort.  

#3: Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins Earlier Than Later

Babies grow a ton during early pregnancy, so they need the extra nutrients prenatal vitamins provide to fuel that healthy development. Start taking your prenatal vitamin as early as you can — if you’re planning for a baby, it’s helpful to start these earlier than later, and if you’ve just become pregnant, definitely start taking them now!  

#4: Supplement Prenatal Vitamins with a Healthy, Balanced Diet

Even though prenatal vitamins have all the nutrients mamas need for pregnancy, moms should be extra mindful of nutrition during pregnancy and still follow a healthy diet. This way, mama gets enough fruits and veggies, proteins, whole grains, and dairy (and limits sugary junk and greasy fats) on top of supplementing the vitamins her baby needs with a prenatal.

A diet full of sweets and lacking in sustenance isn’t recommended for mom’s general health or baby’s fetal development. Not to mention, fatty foods and sugary snacks usually cause an upset belly, anyway.  

#5: Avoid Pairing Prenatal Vitamins with Other Multivitamins

Taking another vitamin with a prenatal supplement means you’re getting way too much of certain nutrients, including folic acid, calcium, and iron, and even though those are good for pregnancy, they’re not necessarily better in higher doses. Many vitamins cause unpleasant side effects when taken in too-large doses, too, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, constipation, abdominal pain, a metallic taste in your mouth, drowsiness, and more.  

Talking with Your Doctor About Prenatals

Generally, your doctor or gynecologist will tell you there is no significant difference between prescription and over-the-counter prenatal vitamins — apart from their price — and most mamas can use OTC prenatals with zero problems. However, expecting mamas who’ve had neural tube defects in previous pregnancies may want to ask their health care provider about a prescription prenatal vitamin with higher amounts of folic acid.

Doctor talking and taking notes for pregnant woman

Prescription prenatal vitamins are filler-free and more strictly regulated than OTC options, though, so if that is important to you, you may want to pay the extra cost for a prescription pill.  

FAQs on Prenatal Vitamins

Is It a Good Idea to Take Prenatal Vitamins When Not Pregnant?

Yes! You should actually start taking prenatal vitamins years before you plan on getting pregnant, when possible. Prenatal vitamins help prepare the body for pregnancy and aid in conception. And you should continue to take prenatal vitamins after childbirth until you’re done breastfeeding since your body now needs the extra nutrients to produce breast milk. (And if you’re planning on having another child, we suggest continuing to take them until you’re done breastfeeding and done planning for another!)

What Are the Side Effects of Taking Prenatal Vitamins When Not Pregnant?

If you take prenatal vitamins long-term when you’re not pregnant — and not planning on becoming pregnant — it could result in certain vitamin deficiencies, like vitamin B-12, and getting too much of other minerals, like folic acid or folate. Prenatal vitamins can also cause gastrointestinal problems like stomach pains, loss of appetite, and nausea, too.

It’s important to find a prenatal that has healthy doses of these nutrients that won’t oversaturate you, like our Bump Boxes prenatal vitamins. We design our prenatals with just the right amount of vitamins and minerals to support pregnancy without causing unpleasant side effects.

Do Prenatal Vitamins Make You Fertile?

While, yes, prenatal vitamins can help you conceive if you’re trying to get pregnant, they don’t actually boost fertility or “make you fertile.” Though they can prevent pregnancy complications and prime your body to nurture a developing baby, they don’t make you any more likely to get pregnant than any other supplement or multivitamin.

When Should You Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?

Ideally, it’s best to begin taking prenatal vitamins a few years before planning for a baby; however, not everybody plans for baby years in advance — so as long as you start taking them 3 to 6 months before, or as soon as you find out you’re pregnant, your body and baby should be OK. Of course, you should always consult with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about taking prenatal vitamins.  

What Do Prenatal Vitamins Do to Your Body

Prenatal vitamin supplements are full of three major nutrients needed for pregnancy — folic acid, calcium, and iron — so they:

  • Make it easier for mom to meet her nutritional needs during pregnancy
  • Prep mama’s body for baby
  • Help prevent birth defects and other pregnancy complications
  • Give mama peace of mind knowing she’s getting all of the right vitamins and minerals for pregnancy all in one prenatal.

Is It OK to Miss a Week of Prenatal Vitamins

Missing your prenatal vitamin isn’t the end of the world, even if it is for a week. It’s definitely not the best, but as long as you get back into a routine as soon as you realize you fell out, you and baby should be just fine. Just remember, don’t double-up the dosage after days you’ve forgotten to take your prenatal — this usually leads to unpleasant side effects like vomiting and nausea.

Do I Have to Take Prenatal Vitamins at the Same Time Every Day?

Prenatal vitamins aren’t like birth control where you have to take the pill at the exact same time every day, you can change up when you take your prenatal on any given day. Most moms do prefer to take their prenatal vitamin at the same time every day because it’s easier to remember when it’s incorporated into your routine, or because they’ve found taking their prenatals at certain times of the day leads to fewer side effects than taking it at others, but there aren’t any negatives to varying the time you take your prenatal.

Trust in Bump Boxes for Prenatal Vitamins and All of the Best Products to Prepare for Pregnancy

Our Bump Boxes prenatal subscription program makes shopping for the best prenatal vitamin for pregnancy convenient and affordable (also, super easy); but we take convenience one step further with our pregnancy subscription boxes, full of all of the best products for pregnancy, and put together just for mom every single month.

Bump Boxes pregnancy subscription gift kits are designed to pamper mamas through every step of pregnancy and make shopping for safe pregnancy products easy. Our monthly boxes are tailored specifically for where mom’s at in her pregnancy, too, so our Bump Boxes mamas are always getting a variety of fun products to tackle the discomforts they’re currently experiencing.

Pregnant mom with Bump Box and child with Bitsy Box laughing together

For example, our early pregnancy boxes are usually full of morning sickness remedies and fun gifts to celebrate and announce your pregnancy; meanwhile, our boxes in later months contain belly bands and all the gear mom needs to prepare for labor and the big day. And our subscription box is more than just a fun box to mom’s doorstep each month, it comes with the dedicated support of our team of moms here at Bump Boxes.

Our entire goal is to make pregnancy go smoother for other moms just like us, so we’re always happy to lend a helping hand or offer some guidance while navigating the pregnancy and prenatal world. And we love pampering our moms with our favorite products for pregnancy each and every month.

Interested in learning more about our prenatal subscription program and finding the right pregnancy subscription program for your stage of pregnancy? We have something for every shopper, between month-to-month, 6, and 9 month options, and we even have trimester-specific boxes for when you want a little extra pampering.