Are You Planning for Trimester Zero?
January 29, 2018
Most women are familiar with the first, second and third trimesters. But many don’t realize that a critical stage of pregnancy actually occurs before conception takes place. This critical window is called trimester zero. If you are thinking of becoming pregnant, prenatal care and counseling should start during trimester zero, before a positive pregnancy test.
The first step in preparing for pregnancy is to truly evaluate and confirm your pregnancy intention.1 Bringing a life into the world is a major life-changing decision that should not be taken lightly. Financial, emotional, professional and lifestyle impacts of a baby should be considered and well thought out. How will a baby immediately impact your life? What would that look like in five, ten or fifteen years? Are support systems in place for you and the baby? You should discuss your options with friends, family and your partner.
Once you have confirmed your pregnancy intention and feel confident in your decision to try to get pregnant, there are a number of medical and lifestyle considerations to review. To help prepare for trimester zero it may be helpful to review the items below with your healthcare provider to help give your baby the best start in life and develop a preconception plan tailored to you.
Trimester Zero Preconception Considerations
- Set up prenatal care visits with your healthcare provider1
- Start daily preconception multivitamin with folic acid1
- Identify a healthy weight1
- Identify and address nutritional issues2
- Establish optimal glycemic control for women with pre-gestational diabetes1
- Confirm absence of sexually transmitted infections1
- Assess mental health and absence of uncontrolled depression1,2
- Determine immunization history2
- Evaluate undiagnosed, untreated, or poorly controlled medical conditions2
- Review medications, including teratogenic medications and radiation exposure1,2
- Review family history and genetic risk2
- Eliminate tobacco, illegal substances and other high-risk behaviors1,2
- Evaluate social impacts of pregnancy2
- Evaluate occupational and environmental exposures2
Importance of Preconception Nutrition
It’s critical that you obtain the proper nutrients during trimester zero to build up reserves of essential nutrients. Once you are pregnant nutrient reserves can be depleted, as they are preferentially partitioned to support the needs of the baby.
Perhaps the most important nutrient during trimester zero is folate. Supplementation should begin at least one month prior to pregnancy to reduce the incidents of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and anencephaly.3-5 Because the neutral tube closes so early in pregnancy, between days 14-28, building up folate stores before conception is especially important.6 High levels of folate have been shown to correlate to full-term pregnancies and healthier babies.7
Integrating food sources that contain folate is ideal. But the type of folate in your supplement is also important. Over 50% of women have a genetic mutation that impairs their ability to process folate.8-9 The Prenate® Vitamin Family offers a line of prenatal vitamins that contains traditional folic acid paired with a bioavailable folate that is highly absorbable. Each Prenate® vitamin meets or exceeds recommendations for daily consumption of folate.10
Iron is another important nutrient during trimester zero. The demand for iron increases steadily throughout pregnancy.11 In order to meet the increased iron intake requirements during pregnancy, maternal iron stores are drawn upon. In turn, this increases the risk for iron deficiency.12
Several Prenate® products contain a gentle and absorbable form of iron, called Sumalate®. This chelated iron has a 40% absorption rate, higher than other iron salts.13 It also allows for decreased gastrointestinal side-effects as compared to other forms of iron.13
Trimester Zero Prenatal Vitamins
Designed for the needs of both moms and babies, Prenate® Vitamin Family helps fill nutritional gaps to prepare women for pregnancy. If you are planning for pregnancy, talk to your doctor about trimester zero and preconception care. Your healthcare provider can identify a plan and prenatal vitamin that is right for your specific needs.