For both trying to conceive (TTC) and pregnancy, it seems like timing is absolutely everything. From when you should take an ovulation test, to when you should have intercourse, to when you should take a pregnancy test, there's always some sort of schedule to follow for the best results. But what about the vitamin aspect of fertility and TTC? When is the best time of day to take prenatal vitamins?
According to Dr. Sherry Ross, OB-GYN and Women’s Health Expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, there’s not really a “perfect time” to take your prenatal vitamins, as long as you’re taking them. “Prenatal vitamins can be taken in a three times per day, or more, serving size,” she says in an email interview with Romper.
And it’s best to start popping those vitamins when you’re TTC. “It’s best for women to start taking folic acid three months before conception," Ross explains. "Making sure your prenatal or multivitamin contains at least 400 milligrams to 1 milligram of folic acid is key. Folic acid has been shown to reduce the incidence of spinal defects or neural tube defects, and it may reduce the incidence of autism."
Additionally, Ross says taking omega 3 fish oil will promote healthy development of the fetal brain and visual system. “Other helpful vitamins to take [in addition to folic acid] during pregnancy include vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, and choline. A reputable prenatal vitamin will ensure you are getting adequate amounts of all the important vitamins to take during pregnancy,” she says.
As far as the best brand, they should pretty much all be the same (except for texture and taste), as long as you’re getting them from a reputable name or company. However, Ross says if you’re noticing stomach issues while taking your prenatal vitamin of choice, it may be time to try another brand.
One thing to keep in mind when choosing the right time to take your vitamin? Nausea. According to Ross, the high amounts of vitamins and minerals in a prenatal vitamin makes it “notorious for causing nausea during pregnancy.” How can you prevent this? "Take them after eating or right before going to sleep at night," Ross suggests. "Also cutting them in half and taking half in the morning and the other half at night can be helpful. If the nausea persists, I have my patients take a One A Day multivitamin, instead of a prenatal vitamin, until they have a stronger stomach."
Unlike everything else with TTC, it looks like the timing of when you take your prenatal vitamins doesn't matter as much — as long as you take them. If you're feeling nauseous when you take them, definitely try other brands that don't necessarily taste like dirt (I'm looking at you, Nature Made). At least you can take them right before you go to bed, right?