Preconception vs Prenatal Vitamins: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between preconception vitamins and prenatal vitamins?

 

Preconception

During the 4-month preconception period, the aim for women is boosting nutrient levels.  In particular, folate, vitamin B12, choline, iodine, iron and zinc which are crucial nutrients to a healthy conception and pregnancy.  It is possible that you may need additional supplements than those found in a preconception multi, especially in the case of iron if you have a deficiency.  A blood test, specifically a ferritin test which is your iron stores, will give you more information about your iron status.

The aim for men should be creating healthy sperm and the 4 crucial nutrients here are vitamins B12, C, E and zinc.  However, a comprehensive men’s preconception multi should contain nutrients that help support healthy testosterone levels and sperm health.  Extra antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid, which recycles CoQ10, are helpful here.

 

First Trimester of Pregnancy

When it comes to pregnancy and breastfeeding, your needs vary throughout.  The crucial time for folate supplementation is one month prior to conception and until the 6th week of pregnancy when the neural tube closes.  A woman should consume at least 500mcg of folate daily at this time.

Quatrefolic is a type of active folate that has superior absorption to other types of folate.  It is also 150 times more expensive than folic acid and so it will only be found in premium supplement brands like NaturoBest.  Studies have shown that vitamin B12 may be just as important as folate in the prevention of birth defects and is often found in a 1:1 ratio to folate.

In the first trimester, up to 85% of women suffer from morning sickness.  This can impact her ability to tolerate some supplements including iron, which often makes a woman feel more nauseous.  Other nutrients that can make a woman feel nauseous include high dose zinc and B vitamins.  Prenatal Trimester One was designed with the sensitive tummy of a newly pregnant woman in mind and can be taken until her morning sickness subsides.  This is usually around week 14 to 16 of pregnancy.

Sometimes a woman may struggle to swallow capsules at a time when her gag reflex is sensitive.  This is where a chewable tablet such as Prenatal Trimester One Chewable comes in handy.  If her morning sickness is so bad that she can’t tolerate the taste, she could try crushing it and mixing with yoghurt.

 

Second and Third Trimester of Pregnancy

During the last half of pregnancy (from about week 16) a woman’s blood volume doubles increasing her nutrient requirements significantly.  This is a stage when she needs a prenatal multivitamin that meets her increased demands.

 

Breastfeeding

Any breastfeeding mama knows she needs all the help she can get when it comes to meeting not only her own needs but also supplying her bub with healthy, nutrient-dense breast milk.  In fact, her iodine requirement during breastfeeding is higher than it was when she was pregnant!  Prenatal Trimester 2 & 3 Plus Breastfeeding contains the recommended daily intake of iodine during breastfeeding of 270mcg.

 

The Difference Between Preconception and Prenatal Multivitamins

There is no difference between preconception vitamins and pregnancy vitamins designed for the last half of pregnancy and breastfeeding.  One boosts nutrient stores, the other meets nutrient stores.

However, due to the unique requirements of the first trimester, there is a need for a separate formula for this special time of a woman’s pregnancy.