It’s no secret that prenatal vitamins can give you a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals when you are trying to conceive or already pregnant but when to take prenatal vitamins is a common question among those trying to conceive. These supplements support your body’s nutritional needs in terms of fertility, but many have turned to them because they’ve heard taking a prenatal can help make your hair or nails grow. So is it true? Do prenatal vitamins make your hair grow? And do prenatal vitamins make your nails grow?
Stay tuned for the lowdown on whether there’s any truth to these claims as well as the benefits of taking a prenatal vitamin. Taking prenatal supplements during a pregnancy is critical to development, but we’ll go over exactly when you should take prenatals and answer some of the most common questions about prenatal vitamins.
What are prenatal vitamins
Prenatal multivitamins are supplements meant to address the additional needs of those trying to conceive or are already pregnant. They usually contain essential vitamins and minerals that help fetal development such as folic acid, iodine, iron, and calcium.
Prenatal Vitamins and Hair Growth
Prenatal vitamins are packed with vitamins and minerals essential for developing babies that just happen to also be good for your hair and skin. Many contain B complex vitamins that are helpful for hair growth, especially biotin, so it’s not a stretch to think that taking prenatal vitamins could make your hair grow. Unfortunately the research doesn’t support this and there are many ways to get these vitamins from food or other supplements. In fact, if you’re not actively trying to get pregnant, taking prenatals could pose health risks.
Claims of thicker hair while pregnant may certainly be helped by prenatals, but it’s far more likely that many of the hormonal changes and surges are responsible for that “baby glow.” For instance, surges in estrogen that keep your hair in the growth stage or temporary excess oil production contribute more to thicker fuller looking hair than any vitamin ever could. Once these temporary changes come to an end (ie. baby is born) your hair will return to its normal growth cycle and normal hair loss will resume.
It can be tempting to think that the extra boost you’d get from taking prenatal vitamins would help your hair, but in reality, unless you’re already deficient in these vitamins, they won’t help sufficiently with hair growth. You may even experience nasty side effects from taking prenatals when you’re not pregnant since the body recognizes that there is no developing fetus for them and will need to excrete any excess. You are better off taking a supplement with the key nutrients for healthy hair rather than one designed to support a growing fetus.
Prenatal Vitamins and Nail Growth
Stronger and faster growing nails is an oft mentioned side effect of pregnancy, but that can vary among individuals. Some people notice improvements or other changes in both their nail strength and growth, but this isn’t universal and the research suggests that it isn’t even all that common. There’s no scientific evidence to support noticeable improvements in nail growth due to pregnancy and many women report problems such as brittle or soft nails, or even other changes like grooves or white spots on the nails. Fluctuating hormone levels are the cause and once your hormones are balanced again, any noticeable changes will stop.
Prenatal vitamins are packed with nutrients that can certainly have an effect on your nails, but taking them to improve nail growth is not advised. The higher levels of certain vitamins and minerals can actually be harmful for your health if taken long term, and there’s no research to support their effect on nail growth. The boost you may think you’re getting from taking prenatals when you’re not pregnant or TTC can be obtained from specific supplements or a quality multivitamin. Better yet, eating a healthy and balanced diet is the ideal way to get your daily vitamin intake and support nail growth and overall health.
Benefits of Prenatal Vitamins
During pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant you need more of certain vitamins and minerals to support fetal development and a healthy pregnancy. Folic acid, iron, and calcium are the big ones, but there are other vitamins and minerals that support a healthy pregnancy as well. Any quality prenatal vitamin will contain folic acid and iron, but you should also look for one that includes calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, B vitamins, zinc, and iodine. Along with other ingredients like thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin these vitamins help you get the nutrients you need to support a developing fetus and have a healthy pregnancy.
List of benefits
- Folic acid supports a baby’s brain and spinal cord development and can prevent neural tube defects.
- Iron helps supply the fetus with blood and oxygen and also helps build the placenta.
- Calcium is essential for healthy teeth and bone development in a baby and can help prevent temporary bone loss during pregnancy.
- Vitamin D helps regulate calcium and phosphate levels to contribute to healthy bones, teeth, and muscles.
- Other benefits of prenatal vitamins (depending on the ingredients) include thyroid support, cognitive development of the baby, and supporting your immune system.
When to Take Prenatal Vitamins
It takes a lot of extra nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy and grow a baby. Even if you have a healthy diet, you still need the extra nutrition from prenatal vitamins if you are trying to conceive or are already pregnant.
When trying to conceive and pregnant
If you are actively trying to conceive, prenatal vitamins are helpful since some birth defects happen in the very early stages of development and taking a quality prenatal could help prevent this. Neural tube defects develop early, which is why doctors recommend supplementing with folic acid before you even get pregnant and during the first trimester when the risk is highest.
Even if you’re eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, preparing your body for pregnancy and the needs of a developing baby can be critical for a healthy pregnancy. Ideally you’ll want to start at least 3 months before conception or as soon as you decide you want to conceive. Supplements aren’t designed to replace a well-balanced diet, but can help support your nutrition levels and the many vital nutrients you might need to support a pregnancy.
Mira has launched a line of prenatal multivitamins that can do just that. Not only do they contain all the essential vitamins and minerals to help support a healthy pregnancy, but they can also support your fertility journey as well. Mira Prenatal was formulated to support your health from trying to conceive, to a healthy pregnancy, and postnatal as well.