It’s never too early to start taking care of your baby, and there’s no better time to start than now — during preconception. Luckily, there’s nothing easier — or smarter — than popping a prenatal vitamin. That daily prenatal will give you the security of knowing that your body is stocking up on all those important nutrients needed to conceive your baby-to-be and also to carry it through a healthy pregnancy. What’s more, take a prenatal now, and you’ll experience fewer episodes of nausea and vomiting during your first trimester of pregnancy (it’s true!). And if that’s not reason enough, here’s another: Some of the vitamins found in a prenatal supplement can actually increase fertility — something you’re sure to welcome these days. Here’s how to choose the best prenatal vitamin possible:

Check the label

Look for a vitamin that has at least 400 mcg of folic acid (aka folate or vitamin B9). Taking adequate amounts of this most important nutrient both before and in the early stages of pregnancy significantly reduces the chances your baby will develop a neural-tube defect such as spina bifida. Calcium is another crucial nutrient for women (take good care of those bones, girl!), whether you’re trying to get pregnant or not; but it’s especially important when you’re growing another set of bones (your baby’s). If you’re not taking in enough from milk, yogurt, or other calcium-rich foods — you need 1,000 mg (milligrams) a day — make sure it’s in your vitamin. Iron is an important mineral, and most prenatals will have 30 to 40 mg. If you’re anemic, talk to your doctor about whether you’ll need more. And don’t forget to look for other important nutrients like zinc and manganese (for fertility), iodine (for your baby-to-be’s thyroid and brain development), and vitamin B6 (to decrease the potential for morning sickness). If you’re eating vegetarian or vegan during pregnancy, make sure you’re extra diligent about getting the right nutrients in your supplements.

Make Certain it dissolves:

Some prenatal vitamins don’t dissolve in your stomach quickly enough, which means your body loses out on nutrients. Look for the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) seal of approval on your vitamin, which means it meets dissolution standards. Or do this at-home test: Put your vitamin in a half cup of vinegar and stir gently every five minutes or so. Within 30 minutes (up to 45 if your pill has a gelatin or hard coat on it), it should be either dissolved or at least separated into tiny particles.


(Excerpts from WebMd)

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