Lisa Hannam
Lisa Hannam

Why I’m taking a prenatal vitamin, and I’m not pregnant

I take a prenatal vitamin (actually I take three) every day. But let’s get this out of the way – before the rumours start! – I’m not pregnant. And if the paparazzi were following me to Shoppers (and if I were famous), they’d be spreading the word that I was. See, I – like Sophia, Gwyneth and Lauren – take a prenatal vitamin not thinking about getting knocked up. Why? Because of the effect it has on hair, nails and skin.


Generally, most prenatal vitamins differ from the multi formulas because of a boost of folic acid, a B-vitamin that’s been shown to lower the risk of neural tube defects in babies. But – a big but for me – it also helps with hair growth. I’m taking New Chapter Perfect Prenatal MultiVitamin, which has folic acid (200 mcg) and a few other things, too:

Biotin, 100 mcg
What is it? It’s also a B vitamin. When some women become pregnant, they may become deficient in biotin. And that can result in hair loss, rapid weight loss and even pregnancy-related diabetes.
Why I’m taking it: It also helps speeds up hair growth and strengthens nails. There is some (but not a lot of) research that shows it helps skin, too. You’ll find this vitamin on supplements for hair and nails, too.

Iron, 6 mg
What is it? Iron is a mineral found in meats, seeds and dark leafy greens. When you’re expecting, you need double the amount you would normally need for the baby’s growth and development.
Why I’m taking it: Low iron levels have been linked to hair thinning. And, as my own doctor says, women who are menstruating might benefit from an iron supplement. (We lose iron during our periods.)

Beta Carotene, 1,000 mcg
What is it? This A vitamin helps with the development of a baby’s vital organs, like the heart, bones and eyes. It also helps with mom’s healing after the baby is born. Carrots are loaded with it, which is interesting because a few friends have told me they craved them when they were prego.
Why I’m taking it: Beta carotene is known to be good for your skin…and your scalp. But do note that this nutrient is “fat soluable,” meaning that if you take too much there could be side effects, unlike “water soluable” vitamins where you just pee out any excess. So if you do consider taking this, check with your pharmacist to make sure that you’re not taking too much.

But that’s not all. There are other hair- and nail-friendly things in this prenatal vitamin, too, including vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D3. And, like with anything you take, talk to your doctor, nutritionist or pharmacist to make sure it’s okay for you to take. Even supplements, like prenatal vitamins, can have side effects, risks and it might not mix well with other things you’re taking and risks.

Again, it begs to be said again, I’m not pregnant. I once posted a shower gift I had for a friend, and people kept congratulating me on having a boy. I don’t need that rumour again.

Baby shower gift. Cuteness overtook wrapping strategy. #itsaboy

A photo posted by Lisa Hannam (@lisahannam) on