A commonly asked question is “When is the best time to start taking prenatal vitamins?” Our position has always been that it is best to start prenatal vitamins before conception. Our brand name and catch phrase both reflect this. TriCare alludes to three time periods when prenatal vitamins are helpful – before, during, and after pregnancy. Our catch phrase is “Essential nutrition for the three vital stages of pregnancy.”

There is mounting evidence that confirms distinct benefits from being on a prenatal vitamin at the time of conception. A study published in the journal Epidemiology revealed a 40 % reduction in the incidence of autism in children born to mothers who took prenatal vitamins during the three months prior to conception and continued into pregnancy, versus those born to mothers who did not. For more information on this study, go to WebMD at http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20110601/prenatal-vitamins-may-lower-autism-risk.

It has been known for some time that adequate intake of folic acid by a mother before conception and into pregnancy can prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida and meningomyelocoele. The March of Dimes recommends that mothers “take folic acid before you’re pregnant.” You can see their full discussion of this at http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/folicacid_before.html.

All of this has led noted health advisors Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen to recommend that “if you’re of childbearing age – that is, between 12 and 50 – and there’s a chance you’ll ever be pregnant anytime in the future (10 years or 10 months from now), we YOU Docs want you to start taking prenatal vitamins with the DHA form of omega-3’s. NOW!!!”

We encourage you to heed the advice of Dr’s Oz and Roizen. Don’t wait until you have confirmed your pregnancy to think about starting prenatal vitamins.