It is safe to take prenatal vitamins while using birth control. However, people should only take them in the months leading up to pregnancy and during pregnancy.

Prenatal vitamins typically contain a special formula that can provide a developing fetus with nutrients necessary for growth and development.

A doctor will likely recommend a person start taking prenatal vitamins before conception. A person who wants to become pregnant will need to stop using their chosen form of birth control.

This article reviews using prenatal vitamins and birth control, safety, and more.

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It is safe for a person to start taking prenatal vitamins while still using birth control.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends taking prenatal vitamins in the months before becoming pregnant.

However, prenatal vitamins are not intended for long-term use, and a person should only take them if they are planning a pregnancy in the near future.

Does the type of birth control make a difference?

Once a person stops using birth control, they can become pregnant. How quickly this can happen can vary.

Some examples of birth control include:

A person should talk with a doctor about their plans to get pregnant. They can recommend when a person should stop using birth control and start taking prenatal vitamins.

In general, a doctor will likely recommend a person start taking their vitamins a few months before trying to get pregnant.

Though vitamins may vary in their exact formula, they will likely contain several of the necessary vitamins and minerals needed during pregnancy.

These include:

Vitamin or mineralDoseReason
Calcium1,300 milligrams (mg) for those ages 14–18

1,000 mg for those ages 19–50
Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth.
Iron27 mgIron helps red blood cells to deliver oxygen to the fetus.
Iodine220 micrograms (mcg)Iodine aids the development of the brain.
Choline450 mgCholine aids in the development of the fetus’ spinal cord and brain.
Vitamin A750 mcg for those ages 14–18

770 mcg for those ages 19–50
Vitamin A helps form healthy skin and eyesight.
Vitamin C80 mg for those ages 14–18

85 mg for those ages 19–50
Vitamin C helps form healthy gums, teeth, and bones.
Vitamin D600 international unitsVitamin D helps build the fetus’ bones and teeth.

It also promotes healthy eyesight and skin.
Vitamin B61.9 mgVitamin B6 helps to form red blood cells.

It also helps the body use carbohydrates, fat, and protein.
Vitamin B122.6 mcgVitamin B12 maintains the nervous system and helps form red blood cells.
Folic acid600 mcgFolic acid helps prevent congenital abnormalities that affect the spine and brain.

It also helps support the development and growth of the placenta and the fetus.

Some doctors may recommend a specific brand of prenatal vitamin. People should not take any more than the recommended dose of their prenatal vitamin because some vitamins can lead to congenital abnormalities at higher doses.

A healthcare professional will recommend additional supplements to help with any deficiencies.

If a person takes the correct dose of prenatal vitamins, they should not experience side effects even if they are still using birth control.

However, taking too much of a particular vitamin or mineral can cause side effects. For example, taking too much vitamin A can lead to:

A person may also experience side effects of their contraception, which can include:

People can often get all the nutrients they need by eating a balanced diet and should focus on nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources. These foods contain many of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that a person needs.

If a person is concerned that they have a vitamin deficiency, they should speak with a doctor about taking other vitamins and supplements.

A person can start taking prenatal vitamins before stopping birth control. They should not interact or cause issues with hormonal birth control or other methods.

A person should speak with a doctor about their plans to become pregnant. They can offer suggestions on when to stop using birth control and start taking vitamins. They will likely recommend a person start taking prenatal vitamins a few months before trying to conceive.

Once a person stops birth control, they may be able to become pregnant right away. This means there will likely be an overlap between their vitamins and birth control. If a person has any questions about what vitamins to take, they should speak with a doctor.