Do Prenatals Improve Chances of Pregnancy and Boost Fertility?
Originally published 02/10/2020. Updated for accuracy and relevancy on 01/18/2024
Will prenatal vitamins make you more likely to get pregnant? Find out by reading our detailed guide and get tips to improve your chances of conception naturally.
Prenatal care is important when TTC, and one step is usually taking female fertility supplements. You've likely already heard a lot about prenatals, and that's because taking a daily prenatal vitamin is so important for your already (or soon to be) developing baby. So you know that they're good for you-but what goes in a prenatal vitamin? What exactly are their benefits and do prenatal vitamins help you get pregnant or improve your chances?
What Goes in a Prenatal Vitamin?
A prenatal supplement is recommended to almost every pregnant woman for many reasons, from increasing the chances of a healthy pregnancy to preventing complications. What exactly goes in prenatal supplements? Most high-quality prenatal multi-vitamins will include essential nutrients and minerals such as folate, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, DHA, and iodine.
- Folate: The CDC recommends folate specifically to women of reproductive age to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.1
- Iron: Iron is important for making the extra red blood cells you’ll need for pregnancy and can decrease the chances of complications such as low birth weight and preterm delivery.2 You can find high purity iron in our prenatal vitamins, as well as our vegan iron supplements.
- Calcium: Calcium and vitamin D are helpful for building strong bones and teeth for you and your baby.
- DHA: Finally, DHA is a building block of your baby's developing nervous system.This omega-3 fatty acid can be found in fish and in omega-3 fortified foods like eggs and dairy.
- Choline: Most prenatals lack choline. But growing evidence of its benefits shows choline improves several pregnancy outcomes and protects against certain neural and metabolic disorders.
When you're on your TTC journey, it's important to consume enough of these nutrients to meet your recommended daily allowance (RDA). This ensures both mom and baby have what they need for a healthy pregnancy. For a continued healthy pregnancy in later months, you may also want to find out whether you need prenatal vitamins in the third trimester. Natalist's prenatal supplements provide comprehensive prenatal nutrition that meets or exceeds ACOG 's recommendations for pregnancy.
What Impacts My Fertility?
There are a lot of factors that contribute to your fertility. You and your partner’s age, medical history, and family history are top factors to consider when thinking about how long it will take you to get pregnant. For a healthy woman in her 20s or early 30s, the chance of conceiving each month is 25%-30%.3
Here are lifestyle factors you can control to mitigate infertility:
- Follow a healthy diet
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid alcohol or recreational drugs
- Minimize stress
- Limit caffeine use to one cup per day
Can Prenatals Increase My Fertility?
So, do prenatals make you fertile? The truth: taking your prenatal vitamin won’t make you any more likely to get pregnant. This one is just a myth we’re happy to bust.
Prenatal vitamins will, however, make it significantly more likely that you experience a healthy pregnancy. They significantly reduce the likelihood of neural tube defects. Their use is also associated with a lower risk of miscarriage . They are a key safety net in preventing pregnancy complications that result from essential nutrient deficits, such as low birth weight or premature birth. So, we recommend that you add prenatals into your TTC journey; these can include vitamins, fertility gummies or fertility supplements such as iron, folate, or DHA supplements, but don’t expect them to be magic fertility pills.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
If you have decided to start taking a prenatal vitamin, there are some things you should know. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: prenatals are great and super important for your health and the health of your baby. It’s been shown that taking prenatal vitamins can significantly reduce infant morbidity and mortality, and all the vitamins and minerals you’re taking are creating the brain, spinal cord, bones, and teeth of your mini-me.4
So, what could possibly be the bad or the ugly? It's unlikely, but prenatals can also bring negative side effects such as constipation or nausea. Learn how to manage negative side effects of prenatal vitamins.
Other Ways to Boost Fertility
There is good news! About 90% of couples get pregnant within one year of trying, and you could very well be in that 90%.5 Although, if it’s taking longer than you’d like, or if you or your partner have a family history that could impact your chances of conceiving, there are specialists ready to help you on this journey. Check out our Q&A for some common questions about when to see a fertility specialist.
Helpful tips for improving your chances of conception:
- Figure out when your six-day fertile window is with our ovulation calculator, and have sex in this time period!
- Try to stay within an ideal weight for your height; you’ll have the best chance of conceiving if you’re not under or overweight.6
- Regular exercise— not vigorous exercise —is a great way to prepare your body for pregnancy.7
- Maintain a well-balanced diet.
- Use ovulation tests to find out when you’re the most fertile and likely to conceive.
- Use a TTC friendly lube.
- Refrain from substance use and abuse. It’s important to only drink caffeine in moderation and cut out any alcohol , tobacco, or recreational drugs.8
Now that you know all about the benefits of taking prenatal vitamins when trying to conceive, are you left wondering should men take a prenatal vitamin too? We asked four healthcare providers—a reproductive endocrinologist, a urologist, a registered dietitian, and a naturopathic doctor—whether men should take a prenatal vitamin when trying to conceive. Read now for their advice!
- CDC. Recommendations: Women & Folic Acid. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published October 30, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/recommendations.html
- How to Treat Iron Deficiency During Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association. Published March 3, 2017. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/treat-iron-deficiency-naturally-pregnancy/
- Pfeifer S, Goldberg J, Lobo R, et al. Optimizing natural fertility: a committee opinion. Fertility and Sterility. 2013;100(3):631-637. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.07.011
- Scholl TO, Hediger ML, Bendich A, Schall JI, Smith WK, Krueger PM. Use of Multivitamin/Mineral Prenatal Supplements: Influence on the Outcome of Pregnancy. American Journal of Epidemiology. 1997;146(2):134-141. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009244
- Gnoth C. Time to pregnancy: results of the German prospective study and impact on the management of infertility. Human Reproduction. 2003;18(9):1959-1966. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/deg366
- Meldrum DR. Introduction. Fertility and Sterility. 2017;107(4):831-832. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2017.02.110
- Wise LA, Rothman KJ, Mikkelsen EM, Sørensen HT, Riis AH, Hatch EE. A prospective cohort study of physical activity and time to pregnancy. Fertility and Sterility. 2012;97(5):1136-1142.e4. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2012.02.025