You can safely take prenatal vitamins with birth control in the short-term to prepare your body for pregnancy before you start trying for a baby. The vitamins and birth control won’t interact and will be just as effective as if you were taking each medication separately. However, you should not take birth control and prenatal vitamins together for too long. If you aren’t planning to stop birth control, speak to the Nurx™ medical care team about other vitamin options or dietary changes you could make if you’re concerned about vitamin deficiencies.
When to Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Medical experts typically recommend taking prenatal vitamins with folate (or the manmade version, folic acid) for three months before trying to conceive. As you can become pregnant immediately after stopping birth control using some methods, such as birth control pills, it’s a good idea to take prenatal vitamins for a few months while you’re still using birth control to ensure your body is totally prepared for pregnancy.
Benefits of Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins help prepare your body for pregnancy in several ways. They typically contain the following ingredients:
- Folate to prevent neural tube defects (problems with the brain and spine).
- Iron to help your body produce the extra blood your baby needs to grow and develop.
- Calcium and vitamin D to help the baby grow healthy bones.
- Iodine for healthy neural development in baby and thyroid function for mom.
Some prenatal vitamins also contain omega-3 fatty acids to help your baby’s brain develop.
Are There Any Side Effects to Taking Prenatal Vitamins With Birth Control?
Taking prenatal vitamins with birth control does not trigger any side effects in the short-term. You may experience side effects common to birth control, such as headaches and tender breasts, as well as side effects common to prenatal vitamins, such as nausea and constipation. However, you are no more likely to experience these symptoms than anyone taking the vitamins or birth control separately. Your side effects also won’t be any more severe.
There can be some side effects if you take prenatal vitamins and birth control together in the long-term though. Using both medications together can cause too much iron and folate to build up in your system. Too much iron can make you feel constipated or nauseous or trigger diarrhea. If you have too much folate in your system, it can mask the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency and delay diagnosis and treatment. You won’t have these problems with regular vitamins, as they do not contain as much iron and folate.
If you’re unsure of whether or not to take prenatal vitamins, or have questions regarding your birth control, talking to the Nurx™ healthcare team can help you make an informed decision.