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Are you thinking about trying for a baby? You and your partner are probably talking about the stuff you need to get in order before you get pregnant. Most couples talk about finances, perhaps moving to a bigger house, and lifestyle changes.

But what about your vitamin intake?  Many doctors recommend making appropriate health and lifestyle changes three months to a year before even thinking about signing up for an ovulation calendar and ditching your contraceptives. That is because some vitamins take a while to build up in your body. But what vitamins ensure you give your future baby the healthiest start in life? If you eat a reasonably healthy diet with fruit, veg, and homemade meals, you may think that you don't need to be worried about nutritional deficiencies. Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple.

Different vitamins and minerals interact with each other, aiding absorption and keeping you healthy. Many women living in northern hemisphere countries are deficient in something vitamin D is a common one, and iron, magnesium, and calcium are others. The easiest way to find out how well you are truly eating is to get a blood test to check for deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. Such a blood test is quick and easy, and will help you get your health in order before you start trying to get pregnant. It should be part of anyone's preconception checkup! Let's have a look at the nutrients you need to pay extra attention to when you are hoping for a baby.

Folic acid

Research has shown that a deficiency in folic acid in the earliest stages of pregnancy, those few weeks before menstruation would have occurred, significantly increases the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida. For that reason, you shouldn't wait with folic acid until you find out you are expecting a baby. Pregnant women, and those contemplating how to get pregnant need 400 mg a day. Folic acid has shown to increase male fertility too, so pass some of those tablets on to your other half.

Vitamin D

The best source of vitamin D is sunlight, but the majority of people living in developed norther-hemisphere aren't getting enough of that and have such low levels that they should supplement. You need vitamin D during pregnancy to aid the absorption of calcium from your food, and in turn to ensure that your baby will have healthy bones. If you are trying to conceive, you can start taking 10 mg of vitamin D daily.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluable vitamin that is stored inside the liver. It plays an important role in a baby's growth and development, and a woman does need more vitamin A during pregnancy than she would normally. There are different types of vitamin A, and they can be found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy, as well as fruit and vegetables. Getting too much vitamin A can actually be very harmful, and can even damage a fetus in the early stages of pregnancy! Because vitamin A deficiencies are rather uncommon, it is not necessary to supplement. Don't be tempted to go the other way and avoid foods that have vit A either, as you really do need it.

B complex

B vitamins offer a huge contribution to the developing nervous system and brain. Pregnant women who have a shortage of B vitamins have a higher chance of miscarrying, and taking a supplement can even reduce your morning sickness! Anyone who is trying to conceive or expecting should take a B-complex vitamin, a good fish oil supplement, or... if you want all the right vitamins and minerals in one place, a prenatal vitamin supplement will do the trick just fine.

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