Prenatal vitamins are vital for healthy pregnancy as they supply the important vitamins and nutrients that are needed to support your growing baby. Just like any multivitamins, most women simply take prenatal vitamins every day, but have you ever wondered when is the best time to take prenatal vitamins? Or better yet, do you want to know when to take prenatal vitamins that will benefit you the most? Well then, here’s something that may interest you too!
When to start taking prenatal vitamins
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), prenatal vitamins are best taken before pregnancy and continued as you get pregnant. Among the essential nutrients that you will need for a healthy pregnancy are found in prenatal vitamins. These include folic acid, which is essential in the healthy formation of the baby’s neural tube, and iron which plays a major role in producing blood for you and your baby.
The neural tube is the part which will become your baby’s brain and spinal cord in the latter part of pregnancy, but it begins to develop during your first month of conception. So that means this crucial development happens even before you actually discover that you are pregnant!
That is why women of childbearing age who are planning to get pregnant are advised to take prenatal vitamins, specifically folic acid, at least one month before pregnancy. This can prevent neural tube defects that will make your pregnancy at risk.
Taking prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant may also help in reducing some pregnancy signs and symptoms like nausea and vomiting.
When to take prenatal vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are typically recommended to be taken daily, at almost the same time every day. This is to ensure that there is enough time to give way to the absorption and distribution of the vitamins in your body all throughout the day.
For instance, if you have taken your first pill early in the morning, having the 2nd dose upon waking up the next day would be the best time. If you’ll take it after lunchtime the next day, or at a much later time in the afternoon, it may already disrupt the proper distribution of its nutrients and will also make it more difficult for you to incorporate it in your daily schedule.
What is the best time of the day to take prenatal vitamins?
In some cases, the best time of day to take prenatal vitamins depends on certain factors such as:
The components of the prenatal vitamin
The best time to take prenatal vitamins is associated with its components. The essential vitamins and other important nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy include folic acid, calcium, iron, choline, omega3 fatty acids and Vitamins B, C, and D. Most prenatal vitamins contain all these, along with the rest of the essential vitamins and minerals for optimum health.
Normally, vitamins and minerals have their own unique mechanism when it comes to their absorption in the body. Vitamins B and C are water-soluble vitamins, meaning, they are absorbed faster when taken with water. So the best time to take these vitamins are first thing in the morning or a few minutes before you eat your meals.
On the other hand, fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K are utilized by the body through fats. So the best time to take these vitamins is after you eat a meal that contains fat. Iron is best absorbed when taken with a vitamin C-rich drink, such as orange juice, while the presence of dairy foods makes it a lot more difficult to be processed by the body.
If you’re going to take prenatal vitamins with a combination of these components, it is best to verify the timing to your doctor. Your ObGyn may specify the time when you should take your prenatal vitamin because it is most likely when it will be absorbed the most.
Side effects and toxicity of certain vitamins
Just like other supplements, prenatal vitamins may also produce some side effects which may cause discomfort if you’re pregnant. For example, iron is usually linked to constipation, especially for pregnant mothers who have relaxed bowels due to pregnancy hormones. This is why iron supplements are best taken with increased fluids and on an empty stomach.
The fat-soluble vitamins are most at risk for toxicity. These vitamins are not excreted in the body. Instead, they are stored in the liver for the body’s future needs. Among the fat-soluble vitamins, be wary of the toxic effects of taking too much Vitamin A while pregnant.
Too much Vitamin A can increase your risk of miscarriage. This means taking more than its recommend dose could pose health risks to you and your baby. So if your prenatal vitamin contains Vitamin A, it would be a lot safer to take it at almost the same time of the day to prevent too much of its accumulation in your body. Alongside, be mindful of taking your prenatal vitamins with fortified cereals and other multivitamins that contain the same components to minimize toxicity.
Your pregnancy signs and symptoms
Your tolerance in taking prenatal vitamins may also vary depending on the signs and symptoms that you feel while pregnant. Morning sickness is a common sign of pregnancy, so if you feel too sick to tolerate the aftertaste of vitamins in the morning, then it may be best to take it at some other time of the day.
Can you take prenatal vitamins at night?
As mentioned earlier, some pregnant women may feel too nauseous to take their prenatal vitamins in the morning, that’s why they prefer to take it at bedtime. Taking the prenatal vitamin at night may decrease the nauseous feeling because you can sleep right after. Sometimes, it also helps to take it with a light and bland snack. For instance, you can take a pill at bedtime with some plain crackers to minimize its aftertaste.
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To round it up, it is important to take your prenatal vitamins at almost the same time every day to maximize their benefits. Your ObGyn would most likely advice a specific timing as needed for its maximum absorption. However, if you feel you can’t tolerate taking your prenatals at the specified time, you can talk with your doctor about taking it with some other time of the day. Taking your prenatal vitamins is essential for your baby’s development inside your womb, so make sure to complete the course that is recommended for your pregnancy.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a doctor or licensed medical professional before making any medical decisions.