There is a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to prenatal vitamins. Here are some of the common questions patients ask and what you really need to know!
What is in a prenatal vitamin and when should I start taking them?
- Prenatal vitamins are multivitamins that typically have higher doses of folic acid, iron, calcium, and vitamin D in order to better support a developing pregnancy
- Anyone who is thinking about getting pregnant in the next year (or isn’t using reliable birth control) should be taking a prenatal vitamin . At the very least, it’s recommended to take a prenatal for a month before trying to get pregnant.
What’s the difference between a regular prenatal vitamin and a gummy prenatal?
- Gummy prenatals tend to cause less nausea or stomach issues
- They typically do not contain iron so if you have a history of anemia you may want to stick with regular prenatals with iron
- Most gummy prenatals contain gelatin that is made from pork so if you are vegan or vegetarian, be aware of this. Vegan and vegetarian gummies are available but they tend to be a bit pricier.
- Smartypants gummy prenatal vitamins are vegetarian and one of my faves! They are also available at Target and on Amazon.
What are the side effects of taking prenatal vitamins?
- Iron in prenatal vitamins can cause constipation
- Tips to avoid this – stay hydrated, stay active, consider taking a stool softener or using natural laxatives such as dried plums
- Some women experience nausea or stomach issues from prenatal vitamins
- Tips to avoid this – take your vitamin at night before bed, consider switching to a gummy prenatal
If I’m already taking a multivitamin should I also be taking a prenatal vitamin?
- Nope! Multivitamins and prenatal vitamins have many of the same vitamins and minerals so no need to take both. If you are planning to get pregnant, best to ditch your multivitamin and move on to a prenatal.
- Some vitamins are fat soluable (A, D, E, and K) which means it’s easier to overdose on them. For this reason, it’s definitely best to only take one!
- Same goes for missing a vitamin – no need to double up if you miss a dose.
Dr. Quimby is the co-founder of FemEd – a female health education platform that educates females of all ages about their bodies.
She is also a former professor at USC Keck school of Medicine where she led the OBGYN clerkship. She is passionate about education and empowering her patients and her students through knowledge and shared decision making.
She is currently a full time OBGYN at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles.
Dr. Quimby has received accolades for teaching and leadership. She has been named Top Doctor by both Pasadena and Los Angeles Magazines. She is a regular speaker throughout the community giving talks to both the public and other physicians. She has contributed to LAist, SELF, and several other news media sources.
Her special interests include: preconception counseling and improving sexual health
When she’s not educating the public on all things female health she can be found traveling with her 2 young daughters and ever supportive husband.