Tag Archives: Trying to Conceive

Vitamins and Supplements for Preconception

Yesterday’s post explored pre-conception from both the woman’s and the man’s point of view (well, the way I saw it anyway).  Today, I want to provide a brief rundown of recommended vitamins and supplements for women trying to get pregnant.  These tips are from Before Your Pregnancy: A 90-Day Guide for Couple on How to Prepare for a Healthy Conception by Amy Ogle, M.S., R.D., and Lisa Mazzullo, M.D.

Most prenatal vitamins will contain these and other essentials for preconception periods.  The following are recommended vitamins and supplements for healthy, well-nurished women.  Always see your doctor first about the proper regiment for you. 

Folic Acid (Vitamin B)

Folic Acid is a vitamin B supplement.  It is known to reduce the risks of such fetal and birth defects as spina bifida, and anencephaly, which is incomplete brain development.  Folic acid supplements should begin at least one month prior to conception to ensure effectiveness.  Women are recommended to take 400 mcg (micrograms) daily for preconception.

Other Vitamin B Supplements

Vitamin B1 plays a role in converting carbohydrates into energy and is necessary for proper function of the nervous system.  Women are recommended to take 1.1 mg daily during preconception.

Vitamin B2 assists the body in its use of energy from different food sources.  Women are recommended to take 1.1 mg daily during preconception. 

Vitamin B6 promotes amino acid and protein metabolism and a healthier nervous system, immune system, red blood cells and cardiovascular system. Women are recommended to take approx. 100% of the daily value for Vitamin B6 during preconception, while never exceeding 100 mg.

Vitamin B12 is necessary for normal red blood cell formation.  It also needed to help maintain the nervous system and cardiovascular health.  B12 is especially important for vegetarians.  Women are recommended to take approx. 2.4 mcg daily during preconception. 

Niacin (Vitamin B) assists the body in its use of energy from different food sources and is essential to maintaining a healthy nervous system, skin and digestive tract.  Women are recommended to take 14 mcg daily during preconception.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B) is necessary for the metabolism of fats, protein, and carbohydrates.  Women’s recommended daily dosage during preconception is 5 mg.

Biotin (Vitamin B) is also necessary for the metabolism of fats, protein and carbohydrates.  30 mcg is considered an adequate dosage of daily intake during preconception.  A recommended dosage has not been established.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A assists with the maintenance of healthy bones, skin, and gastrointestinal and urinary tracts.  It also plays an essential role in maintaining vision. Women are recommended to take 2300 IU (international unites) or 700 mcg RAE (Retinal Activity Equivalents) daily during preconception.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D strengthens bones and teeth by assisting the utility function of calcium and phosphorus in the body.  Women are recommended to take 200 IU daily during preconception.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has antioxidant properties.  It works with Vitamin C to protect cell membranes from damage.  It is not well-established that Vitamin E can reduce the risk of miscarriage or age-related decreases in fertility.  Women are recommended to take 15 mg (milligrams) daily during preconception. 

Vitamin K

 Vitamin K plays an important role in normal blood clotting.  It also assists with placing calcium into the bones.  Women are recommended to take 90 mcg daily during preconception.  

Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Selenium, Other Minerals

Iron helps our immune system and assists the oxygen-carrying compounds hemoglobin in red blood cells.  Women are recommended to take 18 mg daily for preconception. 

Zinc promotes metabolic processes, growth, immune system function, tissue health and a healthy appetite.  Women are recommended to take 8 mg daily during preconception. 

Calcium maintains bone and teeth strength.  It also helps to maintain muscle-contraction, blood pressure regulation, and immunity.  The safe and adequate intake of calcium is 1000 mg daily during preconception.  A recommended dosage has not been established.  

Selenium is an antioxidant working in conjunction with Vitamin E for the protection of cells.  Women are recommended to take 55 mcg daily during preconception. 

Other minerals and their recommended daily doses for preconception include:

Phosphorus: 700 mg.

Magnesium: 310-320 mg

Iodine: 150 mcg

Copper: 900 mcg

Manganese: 1.8 mg

Fluoride: 3 mg

Chromium: 25 mcg

Sodium: minimum of 500 mg daily, no recommended dosage established.

Chloride: minimum of 750 mg daily, no recommended dosage established.

Potassium: minimum of 2000 mg daily, no recommended dosage established.

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Both Sides to Pre-Conception

There are about three or four pregnant women in my office right now.  I also just found out recently that a girlfriend of mine is pregnant.  I am surrounded by pregnant women, which is making me sort of baby crazy.

I started thinking about what goes into making a baby.  I mean aside from the obvious actions.  During the period before conception, which I will call pre-conception, what is the emotional cycle experienced by both the man and the woman?

For the woman…

There was a short period of time before my husband left for deployment during which we had made the decision to try and conceive.  I stopped taking contraceptives and started paying closer attention to the timing of my cycle. 

I soon realized that, for a woman, trying to conceive is bound to cause some anxiety and disappointment.  Even though I knew that I was unlikely to conceive in the first month or so after discontinuing contraceptive use, I still felt the disappointment.  The things I’ve read say not to fret if it doesn’t happen right away.  It can take anywhere from 3 months to a whole year to conceive. 

I was also dealing with hormonal changes that go along with the discontinuance of birth control.  Women who are going off of the pill should be aware that you may notice emotional and hormonal changes in your body as the hormone levels in your body rebalance.   I experienced a mix of depression and emotional instability.  It didn’t last for too long and it was a relief to understand that it was very likely due to the change in the hormone levels in my body.  

Mostly, I felt excited.  I was excited about finally planning to get pregnant.  I was excited at the thought of having children with my husband.  I was very excited about the prospect of being a mommy. 

For the man…

What is a man feeling while his woman is trying to conceive?  I have been trying to gain some insight into this question.  If I were to try and answer for my husband, I’d say that he can feel nervous.  He can be impacted by the emotions of the woman. He doesn’t want to see her disappointed.  He wants to be ready.  He wants to feel spontaneous, not lobbed into strict routine involving the taking of temperatures and ovulation testing. He wants to feel wanted for his prowess not just for his sperm. 

I would say that often man’s state of mind is lost on his woman’s emotional state.  His disposition is downplayed.  But, I’d also say that a man can be just as excited and just as disappointed as his woman.

I can only guess what my husband is feeling and thinking in this time of pre-conception.  I know that at times, he just wants to tell me to relax and have faith that things will fall into place. 

Additional insight…

Here are some resources providing additional information for couples trying to conceive:

Check out Mason Brown’s hilarious rendition in Trying to Get Pregnant.  Trust me, it is the funny that is missing from this post.  I cried laughing.   

The ThinkBaby website also provides great information on conceiving, giving birth, babies and parenting.  

Tomorrow I will be discussing things that a woman could and should be doing now with her body and her lifestyle during pre-conception. 

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