The best preconception vitamins

Updated July 20, 2017

The best preconception vitamins are those linked to increased fertility and those that create a safe and nurturing environment for a growing baby. The National Health Service encourages healthy eating as a way to increase fertility health. The NHS recommends fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy products, but also emphasises specific vitamins in the preconception time frame. Begin making changes three months to a year before conceiving. Pregnancy puts a lot of demand on a woman's body that can leave her nutritionally depleted. The preconception period is a good time to prepare for these demands and to get the body in good health. A vitamin in supplement form is one way to achieve proper nutrient intake.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is recommended for every woman of childbearing age. Folic acid is the synthetic form of the B vitamin folate. Deficiency in the vitamin is linked to neural tube defects in an unborn baby. While many foods such as peanuts, legumes, spinach, and asparagus contain folate, folic acid supplements are better absorbed by the body. The recommended intake is 400 micrograms before conception, increased to 500 micrograms once pregnant. Most prenatal vitamins contain 800 micrograms and are a good option for the preconception time period.


Calcium is recommended at an intake of 1000 mg a day for women considering getting pregnant. Calcium intake recommendations do not change once a women becomes pregnant, but it is an important mineral in overall health. It is well known as being a part of bones and teeth, but it also plays a role in muscle contraction, nerve impulses, blood clotting, and contracting the uterus during labor. Creating a habit of calcium intake each day will prove beneficial as a pregnant woman's body begins to change and the baby begins to grow. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products and leafy greens. Many calcium supplements are available for those who do not consume enough calcium-rich foods.


The American Pregnancy Association states that zinc is an important mineral for both men and women when it comes to conceiving a child. It is linked to better fertility in both sexes. It contributes to ovulation in women and testosterone and semen production in men. Zinc deficiencies have been linked to decreased fertility in both men and women. Therefore, reaching the daily recommended intake of 15 mg is important in parents hoping to conceive. A multivitamin is a good way to get the recommended amount of zinc, and oysters are an excellent food source for this mineral.

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About the Author

Courtney Oberly is a registered dietitian living in Chicago. She earned her nutrition degree from Clemson University and completed her training at Loyola University Chicago. Her past experience includes working as the dietitian at a corporate wellness center, supplement company and natural medicine clinic. She began writing in 2004 for "Oblique Magazine" and newsletters such as Delightful Dinners, Caring Medical, and the Hauser Diet.