Why Prenatal Vitamins are Important and What Happens When You Don’t Take Them

the importance of prenatal vitamins and what happens when you don't take them

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If you are pregnant then you know about prenatal vitamins. Maybe you don’t know what they do exactly, or how they’re helpful, or why you should really take them (or for how long). I want to help shed some light on the topic of prenatal vitamins, but mostly because I learned what happens when you don’t take them.

*I am not a doctor and this content is not medically advisable. This content is intended for informational purposes, please seek professional advice from your doctor. For more information, view my disclaimer here*

I am going to start by saying, aside from the two disclaimers you can see on this page and the disclaimer page you can find HERE and refer to – I am not a doctor and I am not providing medical advice of any kind.

Next, these next few “technical” sections are going to be provided in the most conversational way possible. I don’t want to throw technical words at you because the whole point of my blog is to help you succeed in motherhood and even if ONE person can’t understand me then I am failing. So here goes!

What are prenatal vitamins?

Prenatal vitamins are pills or gummies that you take daily to make sure that your body has enough vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for yourself and your tiny human.

My favorite (iron-free because my body rejects iron) prenatal vitamins are Spring Valley Adult Gummies. Don’t judge me, I had bad morning sickness and it was easier to throw up gummies than pills!

When should you take prenatal vitamins?

You should start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you know you are pregnant. It’s even recommended that you start taking them once you start trying to conceive – but consume with caution.

It’s important to note that, like other things, too much of a good thing can be bad thing. You don’t want to take prenatal vitamins just for fun because some vitamins and minerals are harmful if taken for extended periods of time.

You should continue to take prenatal vitamins as long as you are nursing.

What happens if I don’t take my prenatal vitamins?

Alright, this part comes with a little story but I will start with the most basic explanation. Your body already provides vitamins and minerals to YOUR body, but now that you are growing a tiny human you need to provide enough for the two of you.

“Eating for two” – NOT

You know the saying “eating for two” – not really, you don’t need to eat more, you just need to eat healthy. This is because the amount of nutrients in 30 chicken nuggets is good enough for your grown body, but now imagine trying to supply nutrients to a whole new human, too? Just in terms of chicken nuggets you’ll need another 30! But switch to a chicken salad with egg and AvoRanch and you have provided the same amount of nutrients in less food! (I am not a dietician; I was just giving an exaggerated example).

Here’s where I am going with this – it’s the same things with body’s vitamins and minerals. If you don’t take your prenatal vitamins there will not be enough nutrients for the two of you.

Good news

I struggled with taking my prenatal vitamins. In another post, in the future, I will talk about my struggle with anemia and iron-rejection.

I felt like a horrible mom and she wasn’t even born yet! I felt like I was failing her. She was going to come out deficient in every sense of the word and it wasn’t even her fault – I was failing her.

I want to share with you the biggest piece of helpful advice I received while pregnant. (Keep in mind, I am a pretty lighthearted person so she was trying to be funny and make me feel better)

“Don’t worry about her coming out deficient, your body is creating a tiny human. It is taking everything you have to offer and using it to create the most beautiful being……. I would be worried about YOU. There’s not going to be anything left for you to survive on!”

But Seriously

I thought it was pretty funny so I wanted to share. Here’s what I want you to take from this – you are only hurting YOURSELF by not taking your prenatal vitamins. Your baby is getting everything they need to thrive in this world, but your resources are slowly depleting and eventually (post-partum) you will feel it!

Why should I take PREnatal vitamins POSTpartum?

Like I said earlier – you are growing a tiny human and that is just the beginning. If you plan to breastfeed then you are still providing YOUR nutrients to your tiny human.

This is where I get real for a second, I want to share a sad and serious time in my life. Postpartum is where I finally understood the importance of prenatal vitamins – it wasn’t too late to fix it!

Story time

In March of 2020 I started RE-taking my prenatal vitamins – my baby was born in November of 2019 (4 months post-partum). My husband and I were barely getting into the swing of being married and becoming homeowners and then we added a beautiful baby to the mix. The amount of fighting we did was UNBEARABLE!

Shh… Don’t tell my husband

I am going to be honest here (because he doesn’t read my blog) – most of the fighting was my fault. The silliest things would cause me to snap, like not understanding things. I was a completely different person that was a total … beach ;).

“Your brain is deteriorating”

So, in March, my enneagram 5 husband decided to do some research (drop a comment if you hear me ladies!). During a serious conversation that was instigated by me, was casually directed to the saddest reality check of my life.

He asked if I was taking my prenatal vitamins and when I pleaded that I try but I can’t remember most of the time, he took a deep breath and I could see him contemplating how to say this next part.

In the most calm and loving voice, “I was doing some research and I think that your brain is deteriorating. You are struggling with breast milk because you aren’t eating enough, and I think you’re misunderstanding me and fighting a lot because your brain isn’t getting the nutrients it needs.”

So, I lost it!

So, I did what any rational and proper lady would do when told that your “brain is deteriorating” and I lost it! While he calmly tried to explain it to me, I was bawling because in my mind there was so much more going on. It felt like he was calling me stupid and disregarding all of my feelings. Then I started yelling because he told me the crying was part of it, too.

My “new reality”

I had to compose myself and figure out how to explain that even if it is the hormones, it feels real. THIS was my new reality and what was happening and how I was feeling was REAL. It felt like this was just what my life was going to be like from now.

I had to explain that it felt like he was calling me stupid because I felt so normal and I knew I was struggling but that this was how it was going to be for the rest of my life! This was my new reality.

I knew my brain wasn’t as smart as it was in college, but I didn’t think I could fix it. This was as smart as I was ever going to be again.

I’m so glad he was right

After the conversation I sat in another room and cried and tried to process and figure out how I felt about it all.

I remember not being able to think.

I remember my brain feeling like it was just weighing down my head but not actually doing anything.

We reconvened and he loved on me and ask how he can help me remember to take them. We came up with a system so in March of 2020 I started taking my prenatals again.

Within the week, I felt a difference. I felt my brain operating again – I’m not even kidding. I could and can remember that empty head feeling like my brain left me while I was on the delivery table.

Prenatal Vitamins are SO Important

I was in that group of women that didn’t understand the importance of prenatal vitamins and didn’t take them seriously. NOW, I make it a personal goal to share this story of my “deteriorating brain” with pregnant women who aren’t taking prenatal vitamins seriously.

Mama, you aren’t failing your baby but you are failing yourself by not taking them and it could affect your baby’s mama.

Now what?

Come up with a routine to help you take your prenatal vitamins and try to stick to it mama! If you don’t have prenatal vitamins already, check out the Spring Valley Adult Gummies. They taste good and they aren’t pills – they are also good on morning sickness, in my opinion.

You are doing a great job mama! I just want to help you know the importance of prenatal vitamins and what happens when you don’t take them!

I don’t need you to drop a comment, but definitely share this with a mama who needs to hear it. This is definitely something I needed when I was pregnant.

Meet Sara

Hiya – I’m Sara! I created SAHMable as a way to help moms navigate motherhood and everything that it entails. From pregnancy, to cooking, to parenting tips, and more I hope you find what you’re looking for. Don’t forget to stop my Freebies page for some helpful and FREE tools to help you on your motherhood journey! 

16 Responses

  1. Prenatal vitamins are so important and so is eating healthy. Knowing that even if we mean to eat as healthy as possible, there are still nutrients that our body needs and that the baby needs in order to grow.

    1. I had a horrible time with the prenatal vitamins my doctor prescribed when I was pregnant with my son. They made me more nauseous than the morning sickness so I wound up looking for something else to take. I highly recommend gummies too. My mom is a dietitian and made sure I took them every day until I stopped breastfeeding. It’s hard enough to become a mom you don’t need brain fog to add to the raging hormones and sleep deprivation. Take the prenatal!

      1. Absolutely! My body rejects iron and I am anemic, so I know how important it is to take the iron pills or to get iron in me. I would throw up all day every time I ate the stupid pills :(. So, I opted for iron rich foods and my baby is nowhere near anemic! Thank the Lord!!

  2. Prenatal vitamins really are so important! It’s so important to take care of yourself, and by taking vitamins, you ensure that you have enough nutrients for both yourself and your baby. Thank you for sharing this! xx

  3. Thanks for the article. Prenatal vitamins are very important for pre and even post partum care. My two previous pregnancies I took prenatal vitamins for the “4th” trimester but, my last pregnancy I didn’t. I think that’s why all my fall was/is falling out. Aside from that they’re just a really easy way to make sure you and baby are getting what you need.

  4. I had no idea that your brain could be deteriorating. I had pretty calm pregnancies (although I didn’t enjoy them), but I actually did not take my vitamins. I couldn’t remember most of the time and after realizing my babies would be fine, it was relief for me. Next time, with this bit of info, I think I’ll actually take them….IF there’s a next time lol.

    1. I had a really calm pregnancy as well and I totally understand not enjoying it. Mine ended in preeclampsia and I had every pregnancy symptom under the sun; so I hear you! Although I didn’t love hearing this from my husband, looking back on it – it was such a sad time and I couldn’t wish that on any mama. If there is a next time, I HIGHLY encourage you to take them!

    1. It’s so crazy! The craziest part is that your body knows to take care of the baby first and if you aren’t doing your job then YOU suffer, not the little bundle of perfect joy you have coming!

  5. Super important reminder! I always forgot my vitamins – trying to keep them near my toothbrush now so they are not out of site out of mind.

    1. That’s a great idea! I kept them in the kitchen since we had a small bathroom with no storage but I didn’t go in there until noon. And silly me kept it in the coffee cabinet – like that would be the best place? XD haha!

  6. I take them and my extra folic acid daily, and maybe have only forgotten twice this whole pregnancy. That’s not bad for me!

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