Prenatal Support

Prenatal support supplements help pregnant women and those hoping to conceive fill any gaps in nutrition. During pregnancy, a woman needs more folic acid and iron than usual. Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects in babies. These defects are serious abnormalities of the fetal brain and spinal cord. Ideally, you'll begin taking extra folic acid at least three months before you become pregnant. Iron supports the development of the placenta and fetus. Iron helps your body make blood to supply oxygen to the fetus. Iron also helps prevent anemia, a condition in which blood has a low number of healthy red blood cells.

Prenatal vitamins are available over-the-counter. In addition to folic acid and iron, look for a prenatal vitamin that contains calcium and vitamin D. They help promote the development of the baby's teeth and bones. It also might be beneficial to look for a prenatal vitamin that contains vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, B vitamins, zinc and iodine. Consult with your doctor about the right dosage for you. Avoid taking too high dosages.

Omega-3 fatty acids can help promote a baby's brain development. Aim to start taking prenatal vitamins before conception. It is generally a good idea for women of reproductive age to regularly take a prenatal vitamin. The baby's neural tube, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, develops during the first month of pregnancy — perhaps before you even know that you're pregnant.