Prenatal vitamins play a crucial part in a healthy pregnancy. They are specifically formulated to provide necessary nutrients to you and your developing baby. And are usually recommended to be taken before and during your pregnancy.

To know more about prenatal vitamins, continue reading this blog.

When exactly should you start taking prenatal vitamins? 

Women planning for pregnancy or already pregnant should take prenatal vitamins as soon as possible. This is because the early stages of pregnancy are crucial for developing the fetus’s brain and spine before a woman knows she is pregnant.

The ideal time to start prenatal vitamins is at least 1 month before conception.

Furthermore, starting prenatal vitamins before conception can also help ensure that the mother’s body has adequate levels of nutrients before pregnancy, which can help prevent complications such as preterm labor or low birth weight

However, it is important to consult a healthcare provider before starting any prenatal vitamins. They can advise on each individual’s specific needs and provide guidance on any potential interactions with medications that a woman may already be taking.

Now that you know prenatal vitamins are essential for a healthy pregnancy, you might wonder what vitamins should be taken. Worry not, as we’ve done plenty of research to make this easier for you!

What prenatal vitamins should you take?

According to an article by WebMD, a prenatal vitamin for a healthy pregnancy should contain:

  • 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid
  • 400 IU of vitamin D
  • 200 – 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 70 mg of vitamin C
  • 10 mg of vitamin E
  • 20 mg of niacin
  • 3 mg of thiamine
  • 2 mg of riboflavin
  • 6 mcg of vitamin B12
  • 15 mg of zinc
  • 17 mg of iron
  • 150 micrograms of iodine

The most important prenatal vitamin is folic acid, which you absolutely cannot miss out on.

Why folic acid is the most essential prenatal vitamin?

Folic acid helps prevent birth defects or congenital disabilities in the baby’s brain and spine. It helps to form the neural tube, which becomes the baby’s brain and spinal cord, during the first 28 days of pregnancy.

Therefore, it is recommended that women who are planning to become pregnant should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily from supplements in addition to eating a healthy diet.

Some rich sources of folic acid are:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Beans
  • Citrus fruits
  • Fortified folic acid foods
Important note: It’s important to note that prenatal vitamins are not a substitute for a healthy diet but rather an addition to it. It’s essential to eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins along with it.


Pregnant women need prenatal vitamins to ensure optimal growth and development for their unborn child. And hence, they should not be compromised. If they cause any side effects, some women may feel nausea and constipation. In those cases, consult your doctor immediately to switch to another brand.

Read more: Prenatal Care & Why Is It Important?