We want the best for our impending bundles of joy, but it's a job for a mom-to-be to keep it all straight. Take this quiz to find out how much you know about the vitamins you're expected to take when expecting.Take the Quiz
It may take two to tango, but it often feels like the woman is the only one who has to prepare for pregnancy. We have heard about the benefits of taking folic acid for up to a year before pregnancy, but now in the UK, vitamin manufacturers are advertising supplements for both men and women to put them on the right health path prior to conception.
Sanatogen Mother & Father to Be includes multivitamins for both men and women preparing to create a baby. The woman's pills include the usual mix of prenatal supplements, including increased amounts of folic acid, while the men's version is made up of key nutrients like zinc to ensure that his reproductive system is healthy.
Would you put your husband on a male prenatal vitamin to help with conception?
If you weren't taking a prenatal vitamin before getting pregnant, it is likely the first change you will make after discovering you are expecting. Flip through a baby magazine or browse the aisle at your local drugstore and you will find a number of vitamins on the market, all with various claims. While some doctors recommend patients take prescription vitamins, many over-the-counter versions feature similar ingredients.
Simple: Over-the-counter prenatal vitamins, like Nature Made Prenatal Multivitamins ($11 for 90), are preservative-free and high in a mama-to-be's necessary nutrients like folic acid, iron, and zinc.
Swank: Prescription prenatal vitamins, like Duet DHA ($43 for 60), contain higher doses of key vitamins, such as folic acid, iron, and calcium, as well as a separate pill containing omega-3 fatty acids. The extra dosage is believed to help mamas-to-be produce new red blood cells faster.
Once you get pregnant, or preferably before, your OB/GYN will most likely recommend supplementing your diet with a prenatal vitamin.
Some doctors prescribe a specific brand while others, like myself, took generic ones from drugstores like Walgreens ($10).
Stuart Prenatal ($30) vitamins cost three times as much as the generic brand but according to the label, the ingredients are the same.
Did you buy into the labels?
My mother, a registered nurse who worked on a spina bifida study for years, encouraged me to take prenatal vitamins with an additional folic acid supplement. Folic acid has long been credited with helping to prevent birth defects, including spina bifida. Being my mother and a health professional, I took her advice and followed her direction.
To see the latest on the benefits of folic acid, read more