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Pregnant woman taking prenatal vitamins

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Whether you're pregnant or just trying, it's important take a daily prenatal vitamin. In fact, the best time to start taking a prenatal vitamin is three months before your first trimester of pregnancy. That gives your body time to build up stores of folic acid, which can prevent neural tube defects (such as spina bifida) in your baby before you even know that you're pregnant.

And, of course, once you're pregnant, your prenatal gives you a boost of important nutrients, such as iron (which helps carry oxygen to the baby) as well as bone-building calcium.

Some moms-to-be may require additional supplements depending on their medical or dietary needs (vegetarians, for example, may need a supplement that contains brain-boosting DHA) -- talk to your doctor to find out what your needs are.

Your doctor or midwife may also recommend that you continue taking a prenatal vitamin even after the baby arrives to help you stay healthy after childbirth and while breastfeeding.