Do I need to take prenatal vitamins? Prenatal Care

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Assorted vitamins.
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Find out what vitamins experts and other moms-to-be prefer, and read their strategies for getting enough important nutrients during pregnancy.

Start Taking Folic Acid ASAP

"'Pregnancy' should begin six months ahead of time to see if you (and your partner) are physically and mentally ready to have a healthy pregnancy. Starting a prenatal vitamin three months before trying to conceive is ideal. Folic acid has been shown to reduce the incidence of spinal defects or neural tube defects and it may reduce the incidence of autism. Folic acid may also help decrease your risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy." -- Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN, and women's health expert at Providence Saint John's Health Center, Santa Monica, CA

Don't Overdose

"Be careful of taking double or triple the amount of your vitamins. While you may think more is better, it's not when it comes to certain vitamins." -- Jaime Knopman, MD, OB/GYN, reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist, New York, NY

Eat Well, Too

"I took my prenatal vitamin every day for the first eight weeks. I also take an extra folic acid supplement. And I eat a lot of spinach, which is high in folate. I think I get enough!"

I Don't Think They're Necessary

"I took prenatals with my other kids and started taking them in the beginning of this pregnancy, but stopped at after the first trimester for personal reasons. I'm not worried. Many women don't take vitamins and have healthy, smart children."

Find One That Works for You

"The generic vitamins were easier for me to swallow; even gummy ones are better than nothing. Folic acid and calcium are very important."

Look for Vitamin D

"The important part is that you take one! I would stay away from the ones that require you to take more than one pill a day. Just make sure it contains iron and folate. Bonus if it contains a lot of vitamin D since most American women are deficient."

Explore Your Options

"If you don't like taking pills, I came across a drinkable prenatal. Gummies are great, too. I took them for about half of my pregnancy and the drinkable prenatal for the other half."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.