The Best Prenatal Vitamins for Women and How to Take Them to Boost Your Fertility
- The best prenatal
vitaminsfor women include coenzyme Q10, melatonin, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and folic acid.
- Prenatal vitamins — or a multivitamin containing multiple vitamins — are a common and effective supplement for improving fertility and helping you get pregnant.
- To take prenatal vitamins, it is important to discuss with your doctor the appropriate dosage and ingredients for your
Whether you’re trying to get pregnant for the first time or have been trying for a while, a prenatal multivitamin is standard care. Some specific vitamins may be a worthwhile option to explore further, says Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, MD, reproductive endocrinologist at Fertility Centers of Illinois.
Both sexes experience an age-related fertility decline at age 30. This makes infertility a common problem, affecting up to a third of couples trying to conceive.
For people trying to get pregnant, the Mayo Clinic advises women of childbearing age to start taking prenatal vitamins daily — even before they start trying to conceive.
Here are some of the most recommended prenatal vitamins and supplements that help with female fertility and healthy living
What are the best prenatal vitamins and supplements?
Many of the recommended prenatal vitamins and supplements contain antioxidants as one of the main ingredients. Indeed, research suggests that antioxidants fight oxidative stress that may be linked to female infertility. However, it’s important to note that more research is needed to determine if antioxidants actually boost fertility.
Hirshfeld-Cytron suggests these common prenatal vitamins and supplements to help increase female fertility:
Coenzyme Q10. This is an over-the-counter antioxidant that Hirshfeld-Cytron says can improve egg quality. In theory, better egg quality is associated with a lower risk of genetic abnormalities, such as too few or too many chromosomes, which can cause trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), Turner syndrome and other conditions. Coenzyme Q10 can also reduce cell damage and boost energy production in cells.
“I would recommend starting this supplement until a doctor sees you to confirm egg quality issues,” says Hirshfeld-Cytron. If you can take it, she suggests 200 mg, three times a day with food.
Melatonin. It is a hormone with antioxidant activity that can be found in over-the-counter supplement form. A 2012 review suggests the hormone helps promote fertilization by reducing cell damage inside the ovaries.
Hirshfeld-Cytron says this can be especially important for night shift workers whose schedule disrupts their circadian rhythm — an internal clock regulated by melatonin. She recommends 3 mg each night, as melatonin also helps promote sleep.
Omega-3 fatty acids. Commonly found in fish and flax seeds, omega-3 fatty acids can promote hormone production. Hirshfeld-Cytron says they can also help produce higher quality eggs and better reproductive functioning as you get older.
“High levels of omega-3s have been shown to improve embryonic development and baseline estrogen levels,” she says. Estrogen helps thicken the uterine lining to prepare the body for pregnancy. Hirshfeld-Cytrom recommends 1200-1500 mg of EPA + DHA per day, but not to exceed 3000 mg/day.
Vitamin D. Your body produces this fat-soluble vitamin when exposed to sunlight. You can also get vitamin D through certain foods and as a supplement. It helps control genes involved in estrogen production, as well as embryo implantation.
“Most of us are deficient in vitamin D. I highly recommend adding at least 1000 IU, which is found in some prenatal vitamins,” says Hirshfeld-Cytron. It is not necessary to take additional vitamin D with a multivitamin unless directed by your doctor.
Folic acid. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), folic acid is a B vitamin that all women of childbearing age should take due to its ability to produce new cells, such as in nails, hair, and skin. skin. When taken as a supplement, a 2015 study found it increased the likelihood of pregnancy.
Folic acid is also important to prevent birth defects. The MGH Center for Women’s Health says most pregnancies go undetected during the first few weeks, a critical time for the formation of the neural tube that creates the brain and spinal cord in the fetus. A minimum daily dose of 400 mcg of folate is recommended for most people.
Prenatal vitamin advice
Hirshfeld-Cytron says that an all-inclusive prenatal vitamin or multivitamin “should contain folic acid, calcium, and iron, and ideally also vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc and copper. These are a must if you are trying to conceive.”
If prenatal vitamins in pill form cause stomach upset, you can try liquid supplements or chewable tablets. However, when choosing gummies, it is important to have additional supplementation as they may be lacking in iron.
When taking your prenatal vitamin, it is best to take it with a full glass of water. For best absorption, Hirshfeld-Cytron advises taking prenatal vitamins with a meal. Talk to your doctor if you have problems with nausea or constipation.
Hirshfeld-Cytron also says it doesn’t make much difference whether or not vitamins are prescribed. “The nutrients in over-the-counter and prescription prenatal vitamins are similar. In some cases, prescription prenatal vitamins may be easier on the stomach,” she says.
When should people see a doctor about fertility?
Typically, your OB-GYN will administer the first set of fertility tests. Women who have been trying to conceive for more than a year, or more than 6 months if they are 35 or older, may choose to undergo an evaluation by a fertility specialist. Fertility testing may include checking reproductive hormone levels as well as:
- Ovulation test: A blood test to determine if ovulation is occurring normally and regularly.
- Ovarian reserve test: Tests that check levels of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) look at the number of eggs available for potential fertilization.
- Imaging tests:
- A sonohysterogram uses saline solution and takes a detailed picture of the uterus to check for uterine or ovarian disease.
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): Tests for blockages and other problems in the uterus or fallopian tubes.
Beyond aging, female fertility is affected by a range of conditions such as endocrine disorders, endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). People with untreated gonorrhea or chlamydia are at risk for pelvic inflammatory disease, which can block the fallopian tubes.
Taking prenatal vitamins can potentially improve egg quality and antioxidant activity can boost fertility. Overall, Hirshfeld-Cytron recommends a variety of prenatal vitamins to increase your chances of fertility success. She says including prenatal vitamins, especially a multivitamin that includes vitamin D and folic acid, in your health regimen is an essential proactive step when looking to boost your fertility.