Taking your prenatal vitamin at certain times of the day can limit nausea. As every woman’s body is different, learn what time of day is best for you.
Prenatal vitamins are recommended during pregnancy to bridge any nutritional gaps in the mother’s diet. There’s no one time of the day that’s better for absorption, but many women prefer to take their prenatal vitamins at certain times of the day to reduce nausea.
The key to taking any type of supplement is to establish an effective routine.
With my first pregnancy I suffered terrible morning sickness for the first several months. Unlike traditional morning sickness which lingered for a few hours after waking, my “morning sickness” would follow me throughout the afternoon.
Taking my prenatal vitamin early in the day just wasn’t possible. To ensure that it stayed down, I took the oversized tablet with my dinner each evening.
“Eating in a healthy way when you’re extremely nauseous can be challenging,” says Peggy O’Mara, author of Mothering Magazine’s Having a Baby, Naturally. “Taking a prenatal vitamin can help ensure adequate vitamin levels, although it should not be used as a substitute for a good diet. Experiment with the best time of day to take your supplement, because taking it on an empty stomach can contribute to nausea.”
Is it morning, afternoon, or evening? There’s no right answer.
Choosing the best time of day to take your prenatal vitamin will depend on your daily schedule, level of nausea, and when you’re most likely to remember to take it.
What the Experts Say
“Is there a best time of day to take them? The answer is whatever time of day you’ll best remember to take it. For some women, that might be in the morning. For others, it might be at bedtime, right after brushing your teeth.”
When Is the Best Time to Take My Prenatal Vitamin?, Sharon Phelan, MD
“The best way to get the vitamins and minerals you need is from food. Yet during pregnancy, some women find it difficult to eat enough foods to supply them with adequate folic acid, iron, and calcium, especially if they’re coping with morning sickness. That’s why many care providers prescribe prenatal vitamins.”
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, Mayo Clinic
“Take a good prenatal vitamin to ensure your baby gets all the key nutrients. If one brand makes you feel nauseated, switching to another, more gentle formula may help.”
Praying Through Your Pregnancy, Jennifer Polimino, Carolyn Warren
“To help you remember to take your prenatal vitamin, take it at the same time each day. For some women, taking it in the evening before bed is easier on their stomach. Try to take your prenatal vitamin every day if you have morning sickness. Take it when you don’t feel nauseous and when you’re not vomiting.”
Your Pregnancy Quick Guide, Glade B. Curtis, Judith Schuler
“If you find your prenatal vitamin doesn’t agree with you no matter what time of day you take it and no matter what form or brand you use, ask your doctor about prescribing a prenatal vitamin that has a greater amount of vitamin B6 than does a standard prenatal vitamin, has a controlled formula that releases the vitamins in your body evenly throughout the day, and that contains no iron, which can upset the stomach.”
What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Heidi Murkoff
Taking Prenatal Vitamins with a Meal
If you often feel queasy after taking your prenatal vitamin, try taking it with a meal. A small snack may not be enough to prevent nausea. Experiment with breakfast, lunch, and dinner to see which meal provides the best results.
If nausea is not a problem, follow the instructions provided or ask your doctor about the best time of day to take your prenatal vitamin. Some vitamins work best when taken with water and on an empty stomach while eating no food for an hour after, according to Robin Elise Weiss, PhD.
Delay Until the Nausea Has Passed
Most prenatal vitamins contain iron which can be particularly hard to digest. Choose a time of day that you feel the least nauseous, such as in the evening after you have eaten a meal.
Nausea typically starts about four to eight weeks of gestation and tends to subside around 13 or 14 weeks, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Once this phase has passed, it should be much easier to take your prenatal vitamin.
Wait Until Bedtime
Many women wait until bedtime to take their prenatal vitamin. Not only is it easier to add to your nighttime routine, most women are able to sleep through any mild nausea that might affect them in the following hours.
After taking your prenatal vitamin, you’ll want to wait at least 20 minutes before lying down flat to avoid irritating your stomach.
Find a time of day that you’ll remember to take your prenatal vitamin. If necessary, set an alarm on your phone or use an app to send you reminders. As long as you follow your doctor’s recommendations to avoid issues such as medication interactions, you can usually take your prenatal vitamin any time of the day.