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Your Guide To Preconception Supplements

Written by: Biostime Nutrition

When you make the decision to grow your family, it’s normal to feel both excited and overwhelmed. While you wait for a positive pregnancy test, take some time to start preparing for pregnancy. Focus on your health and wellbeing, so that when you do fall pregnant your body will have all it needs to support your growing baby.

Exercise, relaxation techniques, a balanced diet and supplements are often recommended1 during the pre-conception, pregnancy, and breastfeeding stages to support both you and your baby.

In this guide, we’ll explain what a preconception supplement is and why they are important, so you’ll know exactly what you need to focus on at this exciting time.

Preconception care

Taking care of yourself before you conceive is an important step in your pregnancy journey, helping to give your child the best start in life.

There are various ways you can boost your preconception health, however, an important first step is to get yourself and your partner into your GP for a preconception checkup. Your doctor can provide you with advice about what type of supplement to take and key ingredients to lookout for such as folic acid, selenium and zinc. It’s always best to get personalised advice from a healthcare professional before taking any supplement. 

Why is preconception important? 

If you can start your preconception care at least three months before falling pregnant it will be beneficial for both you and your baby2. Preconception supplements are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, to help women prepare their bodies for pregnancy and reach their unique nutritional needs3. They can have a positive impact on your baby too.

How do preconception multivitamins work?

A preconception vitamin is a great way to nourish your body in the lead up to pregnancy, helping to support your reproductive system health. While it’s possible to meet all your nutritional needs with a balanced diet, preconception vitamins can help bridge any gaps and ensure all important nutrient bases are covered. Set out below are some of the key vitamins that are important during the preconception stage. 

Folic acid

Folic acid or folate is essential for healthy preconception and pregnancy. Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, and should be taken for at least one month before getting pregnant and continued during pregnancy4. Aside from preconception vitamins, you can also find folate in foods including green vegetables, avocado and citrus fruits. 


Zinc plays an important role in cell growth, which means it’s especially important during pregnancy5. While the body only needs a small amount of zinc, it plays a role in a range of important processes including growth and brain development in babies6, immune cell function and healing damaged tissue in adults7. During pregnancy, zinc also helps to support the development of the fetal nervous system8


Selenium is another essential vitamin for preconception and pregnancy4. Selenium plays a role in reproductive and thyroid health, and can be found in nuts and seafood. Research suggests that selenium plays a key role in early pregnancy, helping to support a healthy infant birth weight9.

Some other vitamins that are beneficial during pregnancy include iodine, calcium, iron and omega-3. Your doctor will usually request a blood test and may recommend other vitamins and minerals depending on the results. 

What is the difference between preconception and prenatal vitamins?

Overall, there isn’t a huge difference between preconception and prenatal vitamins. Both products are designed to provide nutritional support to mums and mums-to-be. 

These supplements are recommended over a traditional multivitamin due to their targeted formulations, so it’s important to switch over from your usual supplements at each of these stages.

Preconception vitamins are designed to be taken before you conceive whereas prenatal vitamins are specifically for women who are pregnant and breastfeeding. However, many preconception and prenatal vitamins contain similar ingredients to ensure soon to be mums are provided with well balanced nutrients. 

Do preconception vitamins help you conceive?

A healthy diet and lifestyle can help prepare your body for pregnancy, and when you add preconception vitamins to the mix, you may improve your chances of conceiving10. However every woman is different and some women can get pregnant without trying, while others face ongoing challenges to conceive. 

Preconception vitamins help to ensure your body has any essential nutrients you may be currently lacking. Keep in mind that your doctor will be able to provide you with more tailored advice based on your personal circumstances, so it’s always best to check in with them before starting any supplements.  

When should I start taking preconception vitamins?

You should start taking a preconception vitamin as soon as you decide to try for a baby. Starting a preconception vitamin around 3-6 months before conception is ideal, but again, it’s best to talk to your doctor for personalised advice. Of course, pregnancy isn’t always planned. If you see double lines before you’ve started taking preconception supplements it might be best to look for a prenatal or pregnancy multivitamin. 

The most important thing is that you take care of yourself and enjoy your journey to parenthood. Looking for more advice? Head to our parent lounge for more blogs like low iron during pregnancy.


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  2. Stephenson J, Heslehurst N, Hall J, Schoenaker DAJM, Hutchinson J, Cade JE, et al. Before the beginning: nutrition and lifestyle in the preconception period and its importance for future health. The Lancet [Internet]. 2018 May;391(10132):1830–41. Available from:
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  8. Chaffee BW, King JC. Effect of Zinc Supplementation on Pregnancy and Infant Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. 2012 Jun 28;26(1):118–37.
  9. Solé-Navais P, Brantsæter AL, Caspersen IH, Lundh T, Muglia LJ, Meltzer HM, et al. Maternal Dietary Selenium Intake during Pregnancy Is Associated with Higher Birth Weight and Lower Risk of Small for Gestational Age Births in the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study. Nutrients [Internet]. 2020 Dec 23 [cited 2023 Jan 30];13(1):23. Available from:
  10. Schaefer E, Nock D. The Impact of Preconceptional Multiple-Micronutrient Supplementation on Female Fertility. Clinical Medicine Insights: Women’s Health. 2019 Jan;12:1179562X1984386.

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