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Do You Take Prenatal Vitamins the Whole 9 Months?

Do You Take Prenatal Vitamins the Whole 9 Months?

Prenatal vitamins are designed to support you and your baby’s growing needs at every stage of pregnancy. Ideally, you start taking prenatal vitamins 3 - 6 months before you conceive and continue taking them for the whole nine months of your pregnancy.

Month by month baby development

From pre-conception to postpartum, prenatal vitamins are designed to nourish you and your baby through every month of your pregnancy. (1, 2)

 

Preconception

Your baby’s most crucial development happens in the first few weeks after conception, often before you know you’re pregnant. That is why it’s ideal to start prenatal vitamins 3 – 6 months before you conceive.

Prenatal vitamins provide you with methylfolate and iron, two essential nutrients for early development of the placenta, neural tube, and overall fetal development. (1) 

 

Month one

The first month after conception is one of the most critical stages for you and your baby. During month one, the placenta forms, the face and eyes being to develop, the heart starts beating, and the neural tube develops. (1, 2)

Nutrients during month one play a crucial role during the early stages of development, including:

  • Methylfolate
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B6
  • DHA / Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Choline
  • Vitamin D

 

Month two

Your baby grows buds that eventually become limbs and the face continues developing. Depressions form that become your baby’s nostrils and the retinas start developing. Sensory organs and the digestive tract begin to form. At the end of week six, the neural tube closes. Your baby’s brain, spinal cord, and skull develop from the neural tube. (2, 3)

Important month two nutrients include those in month one, along with calcium to support baby’s healthy heart, nerves, bone, teeth, and muscle growth and to lower the risk of pre-eclampsia during the second trimester:

  • Methylfolate
  • Vitamin B6
  • DHA
  • Choline
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Calcium 

 

Month three

The buds that formed in month two begin to grow into limbs. Hands, feet, fingers, and toes are well developed. Your baby can bend their elbows and the umbilical cord is visible. Fingernails, toenails, external ears, and teeth begin development. Reproductive organs start to develop but are not visible on an ultrasound or sonogram. (2)

At the tenth week of your pregnancy, your baby’s head is rounder. By week eleven, your baby’s head makes up half of its length. At the end of month three, all organs and extremities are present, and your baby is approximately 4 inches long. (2)

Important month three nutrients include those from month two, plus iodine, an important nutrient for neurodevelopment and producing thyroid hormones for you and baby:

  • Methylfolate
  • Vitamin B6
  • DHA
  • Choline
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Iodine

 

Month four

During your prenatal healthcare visit, you’ll be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat and see their reproductive organs. You won’t feel it, but in month four your baby gets active. They begin moving, stretching, yawning, and sucking their thumb. (4)

Fine details begin to form, including hair, eyelids, eyelashes, and nails. Your baby’s teeth become denser, and the nervous system develops. Bones begin hardening and red blood cells form in your baby’s spleen. (4)

Important nutrients in month four include those from month three along with zinc, a crucial nutrient for brain development:

  • Methylfolate
  • Vitamin B6
  • DHA 
  • Choline
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Iodine
  • Zinc

 

Month five

Hair is growing on your baby’s head and a thin hair called lanugo covers your entire baby. The lanugo helps support the vernix caseosa, a thick substance on your baby’s skin that protects it from amniotic fluid. (4)

Brain development continues; the brain directs the diaphragm and chest muscles to contract. Sucking and swallowing impulses begin, and your baby can suck their thumb. Rapid eye movements begin, and fingerprints and footprints start forming. (4)

In month five, important support brain, heart, nervous system, and lung development, including:

  • Methylfolate
  • Vitamin B6
  • DHA 
  • Choline
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Iodine
  • Zinc

 

Month six

You might start feeling your baby move and your baby may be awakened by movement and noises. You may feel a jerky motion when the baby is hiccupping. Fingerprints and footprints are well developed and baby’s skin is translucent, wrinkled, and has a pink to reddish hue. (4)

At the end of the second trimester, your baby’s brain stem, which controls heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure is almost entirely developed. Fetal brainwave activity and sleep cycles with REM sleep cycles begin. The fetal nervous system is also well developed. Your baby may respond with movement to familiar sounds such as your voice. (4) 

In month six, the nutrients that support healthy development and to give you the extra energy you need to support a rapidly growing baby include:

  • Methylfolate
  • Vitamin B6
  • DHA 
  • Choline
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Iodine
  • Zinc

 

    Month seven

    Your baby is more active now, kicking, stretching, and making grasping movements. You may experience discomfort as your baby moves and changes position more often. The central nervous system continues to develop, controlling body temperature and directing rhythmic breathing. Your baby develops and stores a layer of fat and the amount of amniotic fluid decreases. At the end of month seven, your baby is about 14 inches long and may weigh between 2 – 4 lbs. (5) 

    Brain development continues with the baby’s brain almost tripling in weight. The brain’s wiring is learning to fire, and neurons rapidly develop. Bumps and grooves begin to form on the surface of the brain. The cerebellum at the back of the head begins to develop quickly during this stage. The cerebellum helps your baby learn posture and balance, and it coordinates voluntary muscle movement so your baby can learn to move freely. (6)

    During month seven, important nutrients help support this crucial growth stage and to help you as you deal with the cumulative effects of pregnancy, including:

    • Methylfolate
    • Vitamin B6
    • DHA 
    • Choline
    • Vitamin D
    • Iron
    • Calcium
    • Iodine
    • Zinc

             

            Month eight

            During month eight of your pregnancy, baby’s brain development accelerates. Your baby can see and most organs and internal systems, except the lungs, are fully developed. Bones continue to harden, but the skull remains soft and flexible. The lanugo covering your baby’s body falls off and their skin starts becoming smooth. Your baby continues to store fat, which makes their limbs look chubby. (5)

            Important nutrients in month eight as you get close to delivery:

            • Methylfolate
            • Vitamin B6
            • DHA 
            • Choline
            • Vitamin D
            • Iron
            • Calcium
            • Iodine
            • Zinc

             

              Month nine

              During this last stage of development, the lungs mature, and your baby gets ready for birth. Your baby may move less as they settle into the birth position with their head down near the birth canal. Baby responds to sounds and can blink, gasp, and turn their head. To keep your baby warm after birth, fat growth continues. (5)

              Important nutrients in month nine to help you transition from pregnancy to postpartum:

              • Methylfolate
              • Vitamin B6
              • DHA 
              • Choline
              • Vitamin D
              • Iron
              • Calcium
              • Iodine
              • Zinc

               

              How prenatal vitamin ingredients support your entire pregnancy

              Critical development and growth is happening during every month of your pregnancy, which places increased nutritional demands on your body to provide your baby with the right nutrients at the right time.

              Your prenatal vitamins must contain these critical nutrients:

               

              Folate

              Methylfolate is an active folate that your body can use immediately. It supports baby’s neural tube development and influences your mood, sleep, memory, energy production, and more. (1, 2, 3) 

               

              Vitamin B6

              Vitamin B6 supports a healthy immune system, promotes healthy blood vessels, and helps make several neurotransmitters. Research suggests that taking vitamin B6 may help reduce nausea during pregnancy.

               

              Choline

              Choline makes the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, the most common chemical messenger needed for cell to cell communication. This vital nutrient has an important role in attention and memory, and also plays a role in neural tube development.

               

                Vitamin D

                Vitamin D has many roles including helping with calcium absorption, providing immune support, and supporting communication between your brain and body. (7)

                 

                Iron

                Iron supplies oxygen to the body and brain by attaching to red blood cells. It helps red blood cell production, boosts energy, and supports attention span. During pregnancy your body needs extra blood volume to deliver nutrients and oxygen to your baby. (8, 9)

                 

                Calcium

                Calcium during the first trimester is essential in supporting fetal growth, transmission of nerve impulses, development of muscles, and strong bones, teeth, and heart. (10)

                 

                Iodine

                Iodine is an essential nutrient for the thyroid hormone, a hormone necessary for normal brain growth and development. To produce enough thyroid hormones to meet your own and your baby’s needs, a 50% increase in iodine is recommended. (11)

                 

                  Zinc

                  Zinc is present in all bodily tissues and is needed for healthy cell division. It plays an important role in immune system health, promotes communication between brain cells, and has an important role in fertility.

                     

                    In addition to these essential prenatal vitamin ingredients, DHA is an important nutrient before, during, and after pregnancy. It is vital for your baby’s neurodevelopment and for boosting your mood. Your baby’s brain, spinal cord, and eyes need DHA to develop properly. (12)

                    We take prenatal vitamins seriously. We want you to make an informed decision before choosing your prenatal vitamin.