Prenatals… just a US thing?

posted 3 years ago in TTC
Post # 3
7997 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

I was wondering the same thing. It seems to be trendy these days here in North America (Canada is the same way).

Things like this come and go. When my mom was pregnant in the 80s with me (UK) this wasn’t a thing. Nor with my sister (Canada) also in the 80s.


Post # 4
1719 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I might get slammed for this, but I think in a lot of other countries people generally eat healthier and maintain a more active lifestyle than the average American does, so perhaps the need for “extra” vitamins is not considered as high?  Or perhaps the US has done more research into neural tube defects and other issues coming from a lack of folate and other deficiencies?  Not sure.  Interesting question!  Looking forward to seeing responses!


Post # 5
3635 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Women in other parts of the world also eat a more balanced diet, in general.  If you eat your fruits, veggies, and leafy greens along with good sources of iron, etc, you don’t need a multi or a special pre-natal.

Post # 6
227 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@Schatzie821:  I was thinking along the same lines of other cultures living healthier overall lifestyles, meaning their diets might not lack as many vitamins and nutrients as the average american. I also feel that Americans are more cautious about a lot of things (all doctors recommend prenatals so no one can come back and sue them, etc for a child with issues because they didn’t recommend prenatals). 

I don’t think in any way taking a vitamin everyday is a bad thing. Maybe not always 100% needed, but shouldn’t hurt anyone. 

Post # 7
9137 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

I the prenatals thing is done for a trickle down effect.  Prenatal care is not covered by a national healthcare system in the US so a significant portion of pregnant women do not get prenatal care because they can’t afford it and they don’t qualify for assistance programs like Medicaid.  So by precribing prenatals to all pregnant women and encouraging all pregnant women to take prenatals, the hope is that the entire population will take them, especially the women without prenatal care who are at the highest risk of delivering babies with birth defects.

Post # 8
2884 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I know my uk friends all take prenatals in pregnancy and here in  mexico my doctor prescribed them for me (though he said i could take only folic acid first tri if i wanted)

What isnt as common here however is taking prenatals or folic acid when ttc, its only emphasised once actually pregnant

Post # 9
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

When my Mom was pregnant in the very late 80s and early 90s (In the US), she took prenatals, but never religiously and the doctor treated them as nice but not necessary, and even advised her to stop taking them during the first trimester, when they made her feel sick!

When she got pregnant again in ’01 and ’03, she was SHOCKED by how horrified her doctor was when she told him she’d stopped taking her prenatal because it was making her sick!

Post # 10
1343 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I’ve always wondered this myself. Especially with taking prenatals before you get pregnant! I didn’t take my prenatals on my honeymoon because I forgot them…which is when I got pregnant. It worries me because I wasn’t exactly the picture of healthy eating on my honeymoon, but hey… It is what it is! 

As far as prenatals goes during pregnancy… hah, hahahah… I really just have to laugh. I take 4 vitamins a day prescribed by my doctor. My regular prenatal, a DHA pill, and two big ole’ calcium horse pills that horses wouldn’t even take. Sometimes I wonder if I’m going overboard. Especially after the calcium pills! 

So I wonder if it’s all hype, actual research, or something specific to the “American diet”?

Post # 11
2614 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@SaltedCaramel:  Irish lady here and we definitely take prenatals. I’m not sure if this happens in the US but its not the done thing in Ireland to see the GP when TTC. I’m after having an MC and this time TTC plan to get the all clear health wise as well as get advice re diet and exercise so I’ll be as healthy as possible when pregnant again 🙂

Post # 12
2614 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Also, regarding diet in the US. I always get the impression that it’s a country of extremes- either really healthy or really not! I’m sure I’m off base though!!! Also, I think they’re very healthy in mainland Europe but becoming increasingly less so in Ireland and the UK.

Post # 13
209 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I’m in the UK and definitely taking prenatals. I started taking them when TTC (although I didn’t always remember) and am still taking them at 29 weeks. It’s actively encouraged by my midwife.

Post # 14
11469 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@SaltedCaramel:  As someone who works with a dietary supplement company that manufactures and sells these types of products, including pre-natals, to countries all around the world I can say no it is NOT just a US thing.

The problem however is that the price is typically not as attractive or plausible overseas versus here in the US. Often markets target the wealthier citizens with their products knowing that the poorer individuals could not afford the supplements. I see it all the time. Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Latin America, some parts of Europe…all the same. Their marketing campaigns are tailored towards those with expendible income for supplements.

Also, I’m not sure why someone would state that the UK is not a popular location for pre-natals. In fact they have one of the largest lines of pre-natals and women’s health supplements…often duplicated or referenced in the US and other countries.

@almostmrsj:  This is absolutely untrue. There have been countless scientific studies done that have indicated it is simply not possible to eat 100% of your recommended daily requirements of vitamins. Our bodies simply do not process and store the nutrients in a sufficient enough manner to do so. Pre-natals and supplements are more of an additive that in conjunction with healthy eating will provide you with the most nutrients possible.

@Schatzie821:  They aren’t really extra vitamins to be honest. As I mentioned above our bodies do not break down and process food (regardless of healthy or otherwise) in a way that allows us to obtain our 100% essential nutritents from food alone. It simply isn’t possible. There will always be a deficit somewhere and supplements allow for certain deficits to be filled. If, lets say, you are pregnant you want to be 100% sure that your Folic Acid and DHA requirements are met for the better development of your child. Instead of risking the possibility of not consuming/absorbing enough instead supplements allow for thie “deficit” to be made up without concern. Does that make sense?

Post # 15
956 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

Just commenting to follow 🙂 Some interesting thoughts!

Post # 16
151 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I’m an American living in the UK, TTC and I was definitely told at my last doctor appointment to take prenatals or at least make sure I supplement folic acid. I have been taking a regular one-a-day multivitamin, but today I went to Boots to buy more and there was a huge selection of prenatal and ‘conception care’ vitamins. So I think they are definitely just as common here!

On the other hand, Americans definitely have internalized a “healthy=virtuous” mentality and take it to an extreme; having lived both places I think the UK is just more relaxed about things like that!

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