It’s usual for pregnant women to take prenatal vitamins. But women that aren’t expecting? Not quite. However, prenatal vitamins aren’t just for expectant mothers. They’re packed with nutrients that are vital for women of childbearing age.
Even if you’re not planning a pregnancy anytime soon, prenatal vitamins offer vital benefits for your health and wellness.
Many women are deficient in nutrients like folate or iron. A prenatal vitamin is an easy way to address such common shortfalls. There are several good reasons to consider a prenatal vitamins, even if a baby isn’t on the agenda. We’ll explore those perks below.
Key Nutrients That Prenatal Vitamins Affords
These nutrients make prenatal vitamins the magical pill for women’s health:
This vitamin prevents certain birth defects and supports cell growth. Even if you’re not trying to conceive, folic acid will maintain your health and wellness.
Calcium and Vitamin D
These nutrients build and maintain bone density, especially for women as we age. Thus, it’s fair to claim prenatal vitamins provide 100% of your daily needs.
Many women experience iron deficiency at some point. A prenatal multivitamin delivers 100% of your daily iron, thereby preventing fatigue and improving oxygen flow.
Zinc and Vitamin C
Zinc boosts your immune system, while vitamin C helps with iron absorption. Together, they will keep you healthy and energized.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Important for heart and brain health, as well as mood support. Most prenatal vitamins give essential omega-3 fatty acids you may lack in your diet.
Iodine is critical for proper thyroid function and metabolism. This is quite important because many women are iodine deficient. Luckily, prenatal vitamins assist with getting enough of this vital mineral.
Simply put, prenatal vitamins give women of childbearing age nutritional insurance for health, wellness, and proper bodily functions.
Reduce the Risk of Birth Defects Before You Even Conceive
Prenatal vitamins will benefit you even if you’re not planning a pregnancy. They reduce the risk of birth defects for future children by building up certain nutrients in your body beforehand.
Folic acid, or folate, prevents neural tube defects like spina bifida. Getting enough folate from diet alone is hard, so a prenatal vitamin helps you ingest adequate levels stored for early pregnancy.
Furthermore, iron is essential for your and your baby’s red blood cell production. Since women typically experience iron deficiency during pregnancy, vitamins give 18-27 mg of iron per serving to prevent anemia and support healthy fetal growth.
Iodine, zinc, and choline are other critical pre-pregnancy nutrients that promote fetal brain development and prevent developmental delays.
Basically, prenatal vitamins fill in nutritional gaps, reduce health risks and promote wellness for any future pregnancy.
Support Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails
With prenatal vitamins containing specific B vitamins, like B6 and B12, they promote hair growth and reduce hair loss. The added biotin may also strengthen your hair and nails. Your skin relies on vitamins A, C, and E to repair damage, boost collagen production, and protect from environmental stressors. Prenatal vitamins have extra antioxidants, which may lead to a brighter, clearer complexion and softer, smoother skin.
Moreover, the additional iron and folic acid in prenatal boost skin cell regeneration and circulation. It’s not surprising that several people experience faster nail growth and less breakage when taking a prenatal vitamin.
While prenatal vitamins are not meant to replace a balanced diet, some women supplement any gaps in their diet. And the vitamins provide an extra boost of beauty-enhancing nutrients.
The impacts may be subtle, but your hair, skin, and nails will thank you for the extra nourishment and support. Give prenatal vitamins a try—your body will reap the benefits whether or not a baby is on board!
Decreases the Risk of Anemia
Prenatal vitamins are packed with folic acid, which promotes your body to produce new red blood cells. Without enough folic acid, you may become anemic, meaning you have a lower-than-normal red blood cell count. Anemia often causes symptoms like fatigue, weakness, and irritability.
A prenatal vitamin may prevent anemia by ensuring you get adequate folic acid, even when you’re not expecting it. The recommended daily amount of folic acid for most women is 400 mcg. Prenatal vitamins typically contain 800 to 1000 mcg to meet the increased needs during pregnancy.
Improves Your Mood and Reduce Stress
Prenatal vitamins will improve your mood and ease stress levels, even if you’re not pregnant or planning to be. How? The vitamins and minerals in prenatal support the production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and GABA.
Folate, vitamins B6 and B12 found in prenatal synthesize mood-boosting neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. When your body has optimal levels of these B vitamins, you’re less prone to irritability, mood swings, and feelings of anxiety or depression.
Prenatals also contain magnesium and vitamin D to regulate cortisol levels and promote feelings of calm. Magnesium lowers blood pressure and acts as a natural muscle relaxant, while vitamin D balances hormones and supports healthy adrenal function. Deficiencies in either of these micronutrients cause increased stress, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping.
In addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle, prenatal vitamins give extra defense against undesirable mood changes and high stress. While not a substitute for any prescribed treatment plan, prenatal may help you feel more balanced, content, and equipped to handle daily pressures and problems. You can stay resilient when your mind and body are well-nourished in stressful situations.
Better Sleep Quality
Better sleep is essential for health, mood, and cognitive performance. Prenatal vitamins may help you achieve higher-quality sleep as well.
It contains several B vitamins, including folate and B6, essential for producing serotonin and melatonin – hormones that regulate your sleep-wake cycle.
Folate, in particular, induces melatonin production, the hormone that makes you sleepy. B6 is necessary to produce serotonin, the “feel good” hormone precursor to melatonin.
By supporting the natural production of these sleep-related hormones, prenatal vitamins help with the following:
- Fall asleep faster
- Sleep more soundly
- Feel well-rested when you wake up
The result may be less insomnia, fewer nighttime awakenings, and an overall improvement in your sleep quality.
For the best sleep benefits, take your prenatal vitamin with a light snack about an hour before bedtime. The B vitamins will work with your body’s natural circadian rhythms to help you feel sleepy at rest.
Of course, prenatal vitamins are not a substitute for good sleep hygiene. You still need to practice relaxing bedtime routines and limit screen time and caffeine intake before bed. Also, sleep in a cool dark room, and aim for 7 to 9 hours per night.
But combined with these healthy habits, prenatal vitamins will enhance your body’s ability to sleep well and wake up refreshed.
Better Pregnancy Outcomes
What you consume while you are pregnant affects a lot. That is why you should avoid some foods. However, something you should never run out of is prenatal vitamins. Another benefit is that it can aid your health and future fertility. When you decide to conceive, prenatal vitamins in advance ensure your body has all the essential nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy right from the start.
Folate, iron, and calcium are necessary for fetal development in the early weeks of pregnancy. Even when you haven’t realized you’ve conceived yet. Starting prenatal 3 to 6 months before trying to get pregnant reduces the risk of birth defects and complications.
So whether babies are in your near or distant future, prenatal vitamins provide nutritional insurance for your reproductive health and beyond.
In fact, the nutrients provide short- and long-term wellness for all women of childbearing age. You can talk to your doctor about the benefits of prenatal vitamins and if they’re suitable as an investment in your health.
Faster Healing From Injuries or Illnesses
Other benefits of prenatal vitamins while not pregnant include hastened healing. It contains higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals that provide benefits even when you’re not expecting them.
For example, prenatal vitamins C, D, and zinc support your immune system and wound healing. Whether you have a cold or the flu or need to recover from surgery, it supplies an extra boost to get you back on track faster. The folate also promotes new cell growth, which aids in tissue repair and recovery.
Thus, taking prenatal vitamins when you are under the weather is advisable. Not that these supplements should only fill diet gaps and shouldn’t replace a balanced diet.
And as with any supplement, follow the directions on the packaging. Also, talk to your doctor before taking prenatal vitamins if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns.
Reduced Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Finally, it lowers the risk of gestational diabetes if you become pregnant. Gestational diabetes occurs only during pregnancy and raises a woman’s blood sugar levels. It may cause problems for both the mother and the baby. Studies show that women who take prenatal vitamins, especially before becoming pregnant, have a significantly lower risk of developing gestational diabetes.
The folate, B vitamins, and other nutrients in prenatal vitamins support a healthy metabolism and blood sugar regulation. They may also impede deficiencies that could increase the risk of gestational diabetes. By starting prenatal vitamins before pregnancy, you’re giving your body the best nutritional start for a healthy pregnancy right from the beginning. You should also be cautious of your actions during pregnancy, like vaping. It’s best to find out how safe it is before indulging.
Prenatal vitamins are accessible for any woman of reproductive age to safeguard her and her baby’s health. The nutrients they provide have benefits beyond preventing birth defects, supporting overall health and metabolism, and reducing health risks. For any woman considering having children at some point, prenatal vitamins are a smart choice.
We’ve established the fact that prenatal vitamins aren’t just for pregnancy. You can tap into several benefits even when you’re not expecting. Or just continue taking prenatal vitamins after delivery.
The extra folic acid, iron, and other nutrients will boost your health, energy levels, and mood. It seems like an easy way to invest in yourself and support your overall well-being.
Even if you’re not planning to get pregnant soon (or ever), your body and mind will thank you for the extra TLC. Why not give them a try? You’ve got nothing to lose and a lot of health and vitality to gain.