What prenatal supplements you should be taking is often a first question, along with:
- Does taking a prenatal vitamin even make a difference?
- When should I start taking a prenatal; and
- How do I know which to choose for fertility?
What seems like should be straightforward answers actually become confusing given all conflicting info out there.
This post will help you get clear about how to choose the best prenatal for your fertility.
TL;DR: Download the free GUIDE TO THE BEST & MOST CRITICAL SUPPLEMENTS FOR FERTILITY
First, do I really need to take a prenatal supplement?
Yes. Here’s 4 reasons why:
1. Replenish your nutrient reserves.
Your body won’t reproduce if it doesn’t have all of the nutrient building blocks needed to make a healthy baby. Here’s a quick taste of some of the nutrients you need for conception:
- Folate for healthy follicular fluid, cell division and neural tube development
- Vitamin D for hormone regulation and implantation
- Vitamin E for estrogen balance & healthy endometrial lining
- B6 for healthy uterine lining and implantation
- B12 for placental health, nerve transmission and prevention of miscarriage
The likelihood that you’re not getting enough of one or more micronutrients needed for conception and pregnancy is greater than you might think.
Even in the U.S., micronutrient inadequacies are common. According to national (NHANES) data, more than 50% of the adults in the U.S. are not getting enough vitamin D, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, choline or vitamin K for optimal health. Other common inadequacies include vitamin A, calcium and vitamin C.
Taking a quality prenatal supplement will help fill in the nutrition gaps where your diet might fall short. A prenatal will help you replenish your nutrient reserves, telling your body you’ve got the resources to make another human.
2. Peace of mind.
This is real life and getting a rainbow of veggies on your plate at each meal is not always in the cards. Taking a quality prenatal multivitamin designed for fertility gives you assurance that you’re still getting the nutrients you need, so you don’t have to bear so much pressure to eat “perfectly”.
3. Many nutrients needed for conception are nearly impossible to get enough of from food alone.
There a number of vitamins and minerals your body needs in greater quantity to make a baby, that are particularly challenging to get from food alone. Unless you’re eating liver, cod liver oil, oysters/clams and wild salmon multiple timers per week, it’s a safe bet you need help getting more choline, omega-3s (DHA & EPA), preformed vitamin A and vitamin D. Your prenatal supplements fill in the nutrient gaps.
Is there really that big of a difference in quality among all the prenatals on the market?
The unfortunate reality is that there’s minimal oversight over what nutrients must go into a vitamin to get “prenatal” on the label.
There’s no governing agency making sure that all supplements have quality ingredients, include all of the nutrients you and baby-to-be need most, or even verifying that a bottle of pills actually contains what it says it does on the label.
Supplements in general, but particularly those marketed as prenatals, vary wildly. There’s variation in what nutrients they provide, what form those nutrients take – whether they’re synthetic or food-based- the quantity of each nutrient, and what “other” ingredients may be included, such as potentially harmful sweeteners, binders and fillers.
(On the daily I review prenatals that my clients are taking and my jaw drops at the lack of nutrients they contain. This false marketing should be considered criminal.)
Ok, so which prenatal should you choose?
Before making a recommendation, know that fertility and nutrient needs are highly individual. There’s no one-size-fits-all here. This is why I highly recommend micronutrient testing to be sure you identify what nutrients YOUR body needs.
Download your free GUIDE TO THE BEST & MOST CRITICAL SUPPLEMENTS FOR FERTILITY
In this free guide, I give you:
- A table that lists all of the nutrients you need to be sure your prenatal contains, the amount and the most bioavailable form.
- I teach you what to look for on supplement labels to make sure they have been tested for safety and undergone 3rd party validation.
- You’ll learn the most mistakes women make when choosing a prenatal so you can be sure to avoid those; and
- The 3-Steps to ensure you’re getting a legit, high quality prenatal that actually provides the nutrients you need for fertility.
What prenatal supplement do I recommend?
For most women, I recommend the Full Well Prenatal.*
This prenatal was developed by a trusted dietitian and has the most of all the nutrients most critical for fertility of any prenatal I’ve seen on the market. It uses the real-food form of the nutrients, to make them highly absorbable (so you’re not just flushing nutrients down the toilet).
Three notes about this prenatal:
1. It requires swallowing 8 pills! (I recommend 4 with breakfast and 4 with lunch). This is because real food based nutrients are bulkier. If this is an issue for you, you can open the capsules and mix the contents into a smoothie, yogurt, oatmeal, or other beverage/ stir-able food.
2. It does not contain iron. For most of us, this is a good thing! Taking iron when you don’t need it can cause GI issues – like nausea and constipation. Getting blocked up is counteractive to fertility, as it means you’re not eliminating excess estrogen and other toxins. When you do hit your first trimester, the last thing you need is a prenatal that makes you even more nauseated!
Whats more, calcium, magnesium and other minerals in prenatals block the absorption of iron – meaning you go through the GI side effects without reaping much benefit. For those who do need supplemental iron (which we won’t know unless we test for deficiency), it’s ideal to take it separately from your prenatal multivitamin -like with dinner.
3. This prenatal also lacks omega-3s (DHA and EPA). These delicate fats need very careful treatment to prevent rancidity and you need a lot of them to meet your needs. None of the prenatal multivitamins that I’ve seen that DO contain DHA have nearly enough. So, I recommend taking this Prenatal DHA** by Nordic Naturals in addition to the FullWell.
*This is an affiliate link, I receive a very small % of each purchase, AND I only recommend what I believe to be the best for you!
**This is not an affiliate link- I receive no financial kickback from your purchase.
Don’t forget to download the free GUIDE TO THE BEST & MOST CRITICAL SUPPLEMENTS FOR FERTILITY so you can get the best prenatal for you!
Have more questions about prenatal supplements? I’m here for you – shoot me an email: email@example.com
You are meant to be a mom — let’s make it happen.