There’s a lot of confusion surrounding prenatal vitamins and their role in TTC. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we have the answers! Research shows that micronutrients found in prenatal vitamins play an essential role in fertility, and not having the proper nutritional levels may negatively impact the ability to conceive. Unfortunately, many people of childbearing age have lower than the recommended levels of certain important micronutrients.
So who should be taking prenatal vitamins? Which nutrients should you look for in a supplement? And how exactly do they help your TTC journey? Let’s break it down.
How does a prenatal help fertility?
There is evidence that taking vitamin and mineral supplements prior to conception can enhance the reproductive environment by helping restore micronutrients to recommended levels. This leads to improved embryo quality, reduces the time to conception, and increases the chances of becoming pregnant.
Who should be taking a prenatal vitamin?
Anyone actively trying to conceive or anyone planning on starting their TTC journey soon should be taking a prenatal vitamin. Including nutrient-dense foods can help your ability to conceive, however, most people are unable to consume the recommended amount of nutrients from diet alone. Prenatal vitamins can help supplement these nutrients, benefit your overall health and reproductive health, and help support a pregnancy.
What should I look for in a prenatal vitamin?
Choosing a prenatal vitamin can be overwhelming when you don’t know what to look for or what any of the ingredients mean. Here are some important ingredients to look for and how they support fertility:
Folate is a B vitamin that supports healthy neurodevelopmental, promotes energy production, improves memory & brain processing speed, and supports DNA creation. According to research, increased folate is related to lower rates of infertility, lower risk of pregnancy loss, and greater success in infertility treatment. During pregnancy, folate supports a baby’s healthy neural tube development and protects against the development of neural tube defects, specifically, anencephaly and spina bifida.
Folic acid is the form of folate commonly found in multivitamins because it is cheap and stable. However, over 60% of people have a gene variation called MTHFR, which means they aren’t able to metabolize folic acid efficiently. Therefore, it’s preferable to consume folate as methylfolate. Methylfolate is the active form found in our bodies, and your body can use it immediately because it doesn’t have to convert it.
Not sure where to find a prenatal supplement with methylfolate? Best Nest Wellness’s Mama Bird Prenatal Multi+ is a once-daily prenatal multivitamin made with methylfolate so that you can properly absorb folate and give your body the micronutrients it needs.
Choline is an essential nutrient vital for many body functions including support for cell growth, metabolism, liver, and muscle function. Research suggests that choline supplementation can support ovarian follicles while TTC and during pregnancy, choline is critical for proper brain function and development.
The body naturally produces choline, however, the majority comes from diet. Unfortunately, 91% of Americans don’t meet the daily recommended choline intake. Studies have shown that supplementing with additional choline may improve pregnancy outcomes and protect against some neural and metabolic differences. It’s important to note that most fertility supplements don’t contain choline, so be sure to check the label. Best Nest’s Mama Bird AM/PM Prenatal Multi+ contains additional choline that most prenatal vitamins don’t include.
Here’s the lowdown on vitamin D. Vitamin D helps build nerve cells, supports nerve function, boosts immunity and mood, and regulates minerals necessary for healthy bone growth. Observational studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency can negatively impact fertility and can lead to poor fetal growth or bone damage during pregnancy. Nearly one-third of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient, which makes taking a once-daily supplement like Mama Bird Prenatal Multi+ all the more essential.
Zinc is an essential mineral found naturally in meat, fish, and eggs. Getting the right amount of zinc is vital for male fertility and studies show that low zinc levels are associated with low testosterone levels, and poor sperm quality.
Zinc supplementation has been shown to increase testosterone levels and sperm count in men with low zinc, especially important in highly active men. Best Nest makes a fertility supplement for men that includes zinc to improve your chances of conceiving.
You’ve probably heard that iron supports healthy bones, but there’s so much more to this vitamin! Iron is an essential mineral for growth, development, and the production of hormones.
Iron supplies oxygen to the body and the brain by attaching to red blood cells. It helps red blood cell production, boosts energy, and supports attention span. Research shows that iron levels are related to fertility, and studies have linked iron supplementation to a significantly lower risk of ovulatory infertility.
Now that you know the basics of prenatal supplements, you can feel confident choosing a prenatal vitamin. For a comprehensive prenatal vitamin that includes all the ingredients mentioned above (and then some!) browse Best Nest’s Mama Bird Prenatal Product Line which includes prenatal multivitamins, prenatal DHA, morning sickness relief, and more. They have a variety of prenatal vitamin and fertility supplement options so that you can choose the best one for your TTC journey.
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Pilz S, Zittermann A, Obeid R, Hahn A, Pludowski P, Trummer C, Lerchbaum E, Pérez-López FR, Karras SN, März W. The Role of Vitamin D in Fertility and during Pregnancy and Lactation: A Review of Clinical Data. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 15(10):2241 October 2018.
Özdemir AA, Ercan Gündemir Y, Küçük M, Yıldıran Sarıcı D, Elgörmüş Y, Çağ Y, Bilek G. Vitamin D Deficiency in Pregnant Women and Their Infants. J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 10(1):44-50. March 2018.
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Mayo Clinic Staff. “Pregnancy Week by Week”. Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. April 19, 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-vitamins/art-20046945#:~:text=Ideally%2C%20you’ll%20begin%20taking,of%20healthy%20red%20blood%20cells.