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Women's Health

How early should I take prenatal vitamins?

Thu 6th February, 2020

Reviewed by: Dr. Vamsee Thalluri

It’s never too early to start prepping your body for your new little tenant. In fact, you can start taking prenatal vitamins three months before you start trying to conceive. Seem too keen?

Many women don’t realise they’re pregnant until well into the first trimester. If you haven’t been monitoring your cycle religiously, the first indicator that you might be pregnant could be a missed period.

This can be six weeks or more into your pregnancy!

By that point, a great deal of fetal development has already taken place (we're talking fingernails kinda development!).

If you start taking a daily prenatal vitamin before you plan to fall pregnant you're essentially creating a nutritional haven for you and your baby, right from the get-go.

As we said, some of the most important fetal developments take place within the first few weeks. In the first four weeks alone the embryo’s eyes, ears, nose, nervous system, and digestive tract are all forming.

But perhaps the most important event at this stage is the development of the neural tube, which will form the brain and spinal cord of the embryo.

This huge development takes place within the first 21-28 days, easily falling into the timeframe when most women won’t even be showing pregnancy symptoms, or have taken a pregnancy test.

If a problem occurs during the development of the neural tube, a neural tube defect can take place, such as spina bifida or anencephaly.

One of the main ingredients in prenatal vitamins is folic acid, which plays a key role in DNA production and making new cells. Getting enough folic acid right from the start of your pregnancy journey can greatly reduce the risk of neural tube defects in embryos, and since it can be really tricky to know EXACTLY when you will fall pregnant, taking prenatal vitamins early means you’ll be doing everything you can to support your baby’s development.

So stock up on those little pills of joy, because your baby is going to love them.