lifestyle

Medically Reviewed

Wondering If You Can Take Your Prenatal Vitamins on Your Period? Your Questions Answered

A woman drinking coffee

Prenatal vitamins can support the nutrient needs of people before and during pregnancy. Can you take them during your period? Read on to learn more.

Prenatal vitamins are widely used to support healthy pregnancies. Doctors will often recommend that you start taking them when you start trying to conceive. But should you keep taking them even when you’re on your period? In this article, we’ll review what the research says.

What is a prenatal vitamin?

Prenatal means “before birth,” and a prenatal vitamin is a type of vitamin designed to help people before and during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins are multivitamins formulated to be loaded with the most important nutrients that support a healthy pregnancy.

What is the role of prenatal vitamins in the body?

During pregnancy, a person’s nutrient needs can tend to go way up. This is unsurprising, since a pregnant person must provide not only their own nutrient needs but those of the developing child. Indeed, studies have shown that blood levels of most vitamins go down over the course of a pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins are designed to help fill nutrient gaps that form during pregnancy and to keep the body functioning at a high level.

That’s why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant people take a prenatal vitamin to help maintain normal vitamin levels. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that nutrients like folate, iron, and vitamin D should be supplemented during pregnancy. Pregnant people should also be sure to eat a nutrient-rich diet. To get a clear sense of your vitamin levels, you should talk to your healthcare provider.

Can I take prenatal vitamins during my period?

Yes, you can take prenatal vitamins during your period. A prenatal vitamin is essentially a multivitamin. While it’s designed to support a healthy pregnancy, it’s also a good idea to take prenatal vitamins while trying to conceive. If you’re trying to conceive, you can go ahead and take your prenatal vitamins, even during menstruation. Before adding prenatals to your routine, though, you should talk to your doctor.

Other FAQs

Can taking prenatal vitamins affect my period?

For the most part, taking prenatal vitamins shouldn’t have a major effect on your period.

However, some prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, which has been shown to play a role in the length of the menstrual cycle. Adding extra folic acid to your routine can sometimes result in a longer cycle, as shown by this study of Danish women. Talk to a doctor about any alterations in your cycle, especially if you’re trying to conceive; cycle length plays a role in fertility.

Do prenatal vitamins change your menstrual cycle?

Prenatal vitamins will not necessarily change your menstrual cycle, and they’re safe to take when you’re on your period. Most prenatal vitamins include folic acid, though, which has been shown to sometimes lead to longer menstrual cycles. Research also suggests that folic acid can stabilize menstrual cycles.

Do prenatal vitamins mess with my hormones?

Prenatal vitamins can affect your hormones, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One study found that supplementation with folic acid – a common feature of prenatal vitamins – could lead to increases in progesterone levels. Progesterone helps prepare the body for the possibility of pregnancy after you’ve ovulated.

When to start taking prenatal vitamins?

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you should start taking prenatal vitamins at least one month before trying to conceive, and then during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Doing so can help ensure adequate vitamin and mineral levels and also prevent issues with the pregnancy, including neural tube defects.

Key takeaways

Prenatal vitamins are a type of multivitamin. Multivitamins are designed to help people avoid certain nutrient deficiencies. Prenatal vitamins are designed specifically to support the needs of pregnant people. It’s recommended that people start taking them when trying to conceive.

Prenatal vitamins generally won’t affect your period, and it’s okay to take them when menstruating. Sometimes, though, the extra folic acid a prenatal vitamin provides can result in longer menstrual cycles. As always, you should talk to your doctor before adding any new supplement to your routine. If you’re interested in taking a prenatal vitamin, you might want to try Care/of’s Baby Love, which contains 22 essential nutrients.

You're unique.
Your supplements should be too.

Take the quiz