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Prenatal Vitamins When You Are Not Pregnant

We’re frequently asked in our comment section about: prenatal vitamins when you are not pregnant.

What Are Prenatal Vitamins?

It’s important to remember that prenatal vitamins are a supplement to a healthy diet for expectant moms. They aren’t a replacement for a healthy diet. Lots of different prenatal vitamin types are available on the market.
While there’s not a specific formulation for all prenatal vitamins, you’ll likely find that prenatal vitamins contain at least these key nutrients: Calcium. According to the Mayo Clinic, pregnant and adult women need 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium daily. Prenatal vitamins typically have between 200 and 300 mg of calcium.
Calcium is important for all women because it keeps their bones strong. Taking in enough folic acid is linked with reducing neural tube defects like spina bifida. Since it may be difficult to get this much folic acid from foods alone, a supplement is recommended.
Many fortified foods including cereal, bread, and pasta have folate too. This mineral is necessary to create new red blood cells in the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, pregnant women need 27 mg of iron a day.
Prenatal vitamins often contain other vitamins and minerals. These could include: omega-3 fatty acids

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copper

zinc

vitamin E

vitamin A

vitamin C.

When Should I Take Prenatal Vitamins?

While you can buy prenatal vitamins over the counter, doctors can prescribe them too.
Prenatal vitamins are particularly important for these women. Prenatal vitamins can serve as a further supplement to lactating women who need plenty of nutrients to make breast milk. Women of childbearing age could also eat more folate-rich foods as an alternative to taking a supplement.

Can I Take Prenatal Vitamins If I Don’T Want To Get Pregnant?

But they aren’t really intended for women (or men) who aren’t expecting or lactating. Taking too much folic acid each day can have the adverse side effect of masking a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Getting too much iron is associated with health problems like constipation, nausea, and diarrhea.
Again, it’s better if you get these nutrients through your diet instead of a pill. For these reasons, most women should skip prenatal vitamins unless their doctors tell them otherwise. Some claim that taking prenatal vitamins makes hair grow thicker or faster, and that nails could grow faster or stronger too.
Taking prenatal vitamins for better hair or nails likely won’t bring the desired results.

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Answer Section

However, if you’re not pregnant and not planning to become pregnant, high levels of certain nutrients over a long period of time may actually be more harmful than helpful. Other healthy adults — both men and women — need only 400 mcg a day.
During pregnancy, the recommended intake of iron is 27 milligrams (mg) a day. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 who aren’t pregnant need only 18 mg a day, and women age 51 and older and all adult men need only 8 mg a day. During pregnancy, the recommended intake of iron is 27 milligrams (mg) a day.
Getting too much iron can be toxic because it can build up in your body, causing constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and, in severe cases, possibly death. Pregnant adult women and healthy men and women ages 19 to 50 all need 1,000 mg a day. Because prenatal vitamins are intended to supplement calcium you get in your diet, they generally contain only 200 to 300 mg of calcium.
If you rely on prenatal vitamins to meet your calcium needs, you likely won’t get enough, raising your risk of osteoporosis and other health problems.

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Article Content

We also added iodine, since the recommended amount of iodine increases during pregnancy. Our third addition to our prenatal multivitamin: biotin, because scientific evidence suggests that higher biotin intake may be needed to meet the requirement for pregnancy.
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