When most women think of a prenatal vitamin they think of a prescription from a Doctor. after finding out that they are pregnant. This is not how it should be. All woman of a childbearing age should take a prenatal whether intending to conceive or not. You do not need to wait for a prescription from a Doctor after finding out that you are already pregnant nor should you. First of all you can buy your own without a Doctor that are tailored to your specific needs and not just a generic product that he prescribes to all of his expecting patients.
You can find a much better supplement with a little research of your own. You can find something that is vegan, soy and gluten-free, and just has a better all around nutrient value than a prescriptive brand. The brand that I use is called Super Nutrition Simply One Prenatal. You can find it on one of my favorite sites: Vitacost. It is hypoallergenic ( free of soy, gluten, yeast, shellfish, etc) and because it is vegan and whole food based, it is much easier to digest. There are many others out there that as well for you to choose from.
So why should all women of a childbearing age take a prenatal? When most people think of a prenatal vitamin they think of Folic Acid, which is correct because it is essential for a healthy pregnancy. What most people don’t realize is that Folic Acid is most essential in the first four weeks following conception to prevent neural tube development defects. Most women do not even know they are pregnant then and by the time they receive a prescription the time of development when it is most vital to have Folic Acid has ended. So, all women of childbearing age with even a slight possibility of becoming pregnant should be taking a prenatal just to be safe.
Even if you do not going to conceive, Prenatals have higher supplement doses that an average multivitamin because pregnant women have higher nutritional needs. They are very safe for a non-pregnant woman and many times someone can be nutrient deficient even if they are taking the RDA. Everybody is different and some people require more than the RDA and unless you are getting your mineral and vitamin levels tested and having a special compound made specifically for you, a prenatal is a great way to “cover all the bases”. The worst that can happen is you have brighter skin, stronger nails, shinier hair, and an improved your immune system. And that doesn’t sound so bad.