One of the most important things you can do for your unborn child is to take the right prenatal vitamin while you’re pregnant. They can provide your body with the nutrients your baby needs to develop a healthy nervous system, bones, brain, and more. They can also help replenish important nutrients you may be losing if you’re experiencing morning sickness.

When it’s so important, you want to do more than just pick up the first bottle you see at the pharmacy.

Here’s what you need to know to make the most of taking a prenatal vitamin.

Take Them Before You Get Pregnant and After You Give Birth

You don’t have to wait until you get pregnant to take prenatal vitamins. By having the right nutrients in your system before conception, you can give your baby a head start.

If you weren’t expecting to become pregnant, that’s okay! Start taking a prenatal vitamin as soon as you find out you’re expecting.

You can take them after you give birth too! Prenatals can help rebalance the nutrients in your body and ensure you pass on important nutrients to your baby if you’re breastfeeding.

Find One With the Right Nutrients

You don’t want to have to take multiple vitamins in order to get all the nutrients you need. Choose your prenatal vitamin carefully so you find a single pill that does it all.

Nutrients you want to look for include:

  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin C
  • Thiamine
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Iodine

Don’t Rely on Your Prenatal Vitamin Alone

Your prenatal vitamin can help you get the nutrients you need, but that doesn’t mean you no longer have to think about what you’re eating!

Vitamins and minerals are more potent when they come from food. A supplement is meant to support a healthy diet—not replace it.

Just a few things you should add to your diet while you’re pregnant include:

  • Dairy products for their calcium, B vitamins, and magnesium
  • Legumes for their fiber, iron, and folate
  • Eggs for their choline
  • Dark leafy greens for their vitamins C, K, and A

Make Taking Them Part of Your Routine

There’s a lot to do to get ready for a new baby. In all the excitement of making sure you have enough clothes, enough diapers, and the right baby monitor, it can be easy to forget to take your vitamins.

Make taking your prenatal vitamins part of your routine. That might mean taking your supplement at the same time each day, setting a reminder on your phone, or using Tooktake labels.

It also helps if you choose a prenatal vitamin that you’re excited to take. If it means you’ll be more likely to take your pill, choose a gummy vitamin or spend a little more on a fancy prenatal vitamin that you look forward to taking every day.