prenatal vitamins, preparing for baby, pre-packed hospital bag

Health + Pregnancy: Unpacking Prenatal Vitamins

Lily and Llama’s mission is to support mamas in all aspects of maternity. We started with demystifying the pre-packed maternity bag, but there is more to motherhood to unpack. 

Mamas-to-be, one of the first things you might start thinking about when you decide the time is (or might be!) right to be a parent, is how to get your body healthy for pregnancy. To get your body healthy for pregnancy, one of the topics that come up is prenatal vitamins. We know that every aspect of maternity is new and there might be more questions than answers when you are doing this whole motherhood thing for the first time. What are prenatal vitamins? Why should I take them? When should I take them? What should I look for? 

Hey. We got you.  

What are prenatal vitamins? 

When you are keeping yourself healthy AND growing a baby, prenatal vitamins are there to cover any nutritional gaps in your diet. Eating a healthy diet is always a good idea. It is an especially good idea when thinking about having a baby. Even when your diet is super healthy, there are going to be gaps in the types and quantity of nutrients that your body wants and your baby needs. Lily and Llama founder Michelle Conarty took the Rainbow Light Prenatal One vitamins (a recommendation from another mama friend!).

What are the actual nutrients in these vitamins? 

Below is a list from What to Expect of the nutrients commonly found in prenatal vitamins. Always talk to your doctor about which ones are right for you, and in what quantities.  

prenatal vitamin

The main three vitamins and nutrients in many prenatal vitamins are: 

  • Folic acid (vitamin B9) 
  • Calcium  
  • Iron 

And some supporting nutrients are: 

  • Iodine 
  • Vitamin B6 
  • DHA 
  • Calcium 
  • Vitamin A 
  • Vitamin D 
  • Zinc 
  • Copper 
  • Vitamin 

When to start taking prenatal vitamins… 

So, a fun fact from the Mayo Clinic: “The baby’s neural tube, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, develops during the first month of pregnancy — perhaps before you even know that you’re pregnant.”

So, it is a good idea to take a prenatal vitamin BEFORE you get pregnant. If you are pregnant now and haven’t started taking prenatal vitamins yet, that’s OK. Go ahead and talk to your doctor and start taking one now. 

…and when to stop 

We’ve already talked about the fourth trimester, and how those three months after the baby is born are just as important for the baby’s development as your baby’s time in the womb. In that same spirit, according to Today’s Parent, nutrition depletion after giving birth is a thing. Prenatal vitamins will help prevent this in your first few months together with your baby. So, keep taking your prenatal vitamins for at least four to six weeks after you give birth or until you are no longer breastfeeding.

What else you should know about prenatal vitamins. 

At the end of the day, talk with your doctor about which nutrients your body needs as you prepare for motherhood. You can start with a gentle regiment of prenatal vitamins since, as with any dietary supplement, everybody responds differently.  And a pro tip: you might get a little nauseous from the iron, so having herbal tea (hello, fresh ginger!) on hand to quell any queasiness is something we learned the hard way. 

Mamas, the Lily and Llama pre-packed hospital bag is here to support you in your maternity journey. Our mission is to make preparing for motherhood just a little easier, and one way we do that is by sharing our experiences with you. Head over to our Instagram for more motherhood tips and tricks, and to share your own experiences with us and the Lily and Llama community. 

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