(HealthDay News) -- Prenatal vitamins are designed for women who are pregnant or who are planning to be pregnant. The supplements help ensure that the expectant mother and developing baby have the proper nutrients.
Folic acid, calcium, and iron should be among the most important components of multi-vitamin prenatal supplements, says the Cleveland Clinic. These vitamins reduce the risk of birth defects, especially defects of the brain and spine known as neural tube defects.
Because neural tube defects originate within the first 28 days of conception, and many pregnancies are unplanned, it is recommended that all women of child-bearing potential take vitamin supplements -- especially folic acid, the clinic advises.