Pregnancy

The 8 Best Prenatal Vitamins & Why They’re Important

Updated on 31 July 2022 • 18 minute read

 

What Are Prenatal Vitamins & Why Are They Important?

As many as two billion people, mostly women and children, may have deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals. But these deficiencies can markedly increase during pregnancy to meet energy and nutritional needs. (1)(2)

Certain deficiencies could lead to serious issues. Some examples include:

  • Vitamin B deficiency might cause birth defects, such as neural tube defects (3)
  • Vitamin D deficiency could increase risks for preterm labor, preeclampsia (serious blood pressure-related pregnancy complication that can cause organ damage), possible heart failure (for mom and baby), and rickets (soft bones) (4)(5)
  • Iron deficiency can lead to anemia (lack of enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to various parts of your body) (3)

 

Benefits: Why Do You Need A Prenatal Vitamin?

Taking high-quality prenatal vitamins helps you meet your body’s increased demand for nutrients to keep you and your baby healthy.

The increased amount of these essential nutrients in your body helps promote fetal development, including healthy growth of your baby’s brain. It can also strengthen your immune system. (2)(3)

Some formulations might even help ease your morning sickness and nausea.

 

What Vitamins Need To Be In Your Prenatals?

The following are among the essential nutrients and most important vitamins that should be in your prenatal dietary supplements:

  • Folic acid
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
  • Choline
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Selenium

 

Some prenatals might also contain:

  • Probiotics (good gut bacteria)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)

 

What Are The Best & Most Effective Prenatal Vitamins?

Studies show that a low-potency prenatal supplement with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals can be the best approach for pregnant women. (6)

Still, the most effective prenatal vitamins for you are those that meet your nutritional needs. So, there isn’t a one size fits all supplement for everyone.

It’s good to pick the supplement that contains the key nutrients and vitamins you need for a healthy pregnancy.

Your OB-GYN or healthcare provider can help you choose the best one to address possible nutrient deficiencies or situations (e.g., contraindications, family history, allergies, breastfeeding, etc.).

 

Our Top 8 Choices For The Best Prenatal Vitamins

  • Ritual Essential Prenatal Multivitamin (60 softgels – $35 )Non-GMO Project* verified vegetarian prenatal supplement sourced from wild-harvested lichen and whole microalgae in a delayed-release capsule design (*third-party tested for genetically modified organisms)
  • SmartyPants Organic Prenatal Formula Gummies (120 gummies – $32.93) – USDA* Certified Organic vegetarian prenatal and postnatal multivitamin gummies with probiotics (*USDA means United States Department of Agriculture)
  • Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA (90 softgels – $28.95)Non-GMO Verified prenatal fish oil DHA supplement
  • Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA (90 softgels – $29.49) Prenatal multivitamin that contains most of the essential nutrients you need during pregnancy
  • Perelel (First Trimester) Prenatal Vitamin Packs (30 daily pill packs – $48) – Targeted nutrition for each stage in your reproductive cycle (available as a conception support pack, prenatal packs for the different trimesters, or a postpartum pack)
  • New Chapter Advanced Perfect Prenatal Multivitamins (96 capsules – $35) Non-GMO Project Verified multivitamin that contains most of the essential nutrients you need during pregnancy, plus a clinical dose of ginger to help alleviate morning sickness symptoms
  • One A Day Prenatal 1 Complete Multivitamin (60 softgels – $34.46) – The brand claims this prenatal vitamin passed 100+ rigorous quality checks.
  • Garden of Life Mykind Organics Prenatal Multi (90 tablets – $47.99)Non-GMO Project Verified and USDA Organic certified product that the brand claims to be a whole food supplement that contains non-constipating iron


Continue reading to learn more about each prenatal vitamin.

 

Ritual Essential Prenatal Multivitamin

(source: amazon.com)

Price

  • 60 softgels (30-day supply) – $35

 

What Makes It Special

  • Vegetarian prenatal supplement sourced from wild-harvested lichen and whole microalgae
  • Non-GMO Project verified (certified free from genetically modified organisms)
  • Delayed-release capsule design
  • Gluten-free vegan capsules
  • Free from major allergens, artificial flavors or colorants, and synthetic fillers
  • Batch testing for purity
  • Available as a subscription plan or one-time purchase

 

Key Features

  • Type Or Form: Softgels
  • Product Safety: Free from GMOs, major allergens, artificial flavors or colorants, and synthetic fillers
  • Certifications & Third-Party Testing: Third-party lab testing for contaminants, microbes, heavy metals, and allergens; NSF certification (National Sanitation Foundation)

 

Nutritional Value

  • Vitamin B9 (methylated folate): 1,000 mcg (micrograms)
  • Iodine: 150 mcg
  • Iron: 18 mg
  • Vitamin D3: 50 mcg (2,000 IU)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 8 mcg
  • Choline: 55 mg
  • Vitamin E: 7 mg
  • Magnesium: 32 mg
  • DHA & EPA (Omega-3 Fatty Acids): 350 mg DHA
  • Other Nutrients: Biotin (300 mcg); boron (0.7 mg); vitamin K2 (90 mcg)

 

Other Ingredients

  • Cellulose
  • L-leucine
  • Silica
  • Inner capsule (hypromellose)
  • Stomach acid-resistant outer capsule (hypromellose and gellan gum)

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • It doesn’t have calcium, zinc, selenium, and vitamins C, B1, A, (thiamin), or B6 (pyridoxine).
  • Some customers complain that this supplement has an aftertaste.

 

Brand’s Other Prenatal Vitamins Or Supplements

  • Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake (for Pregnancy & Postpartum) – $44 (1 lb)

 

SmartyPants (Organics With Prebiotics) Prenatal Formula Gummies

(source: smartypantsvitamins.com)

 

Price

  • One pack, 120 gummies– $32.93
  • Two packs, 120 gummies– $62.57
  • Three packs, 120 gummies– $88.91
  • Four packs, 120 gummies– $111.96

 

What Makes It Special

  • Organic gummy prenatal vitamin
  • USDA* Certified Organic vegetarian prenatal and postnatal multivitamin
  • Non-GMO Project Verified 
  • Contains probiotics: Bacillus subtilis, 1 billion CFU (colony forming units)
  • Available as a subscription plan or one-time purchase
  • Third-party lab testing for each batch

 

Key Features

  • Type Or Form: Gummies
  • Product Safety: Free from the eight major allergens (milk, eggs, fish, wheat, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, and soybeans), GMOs, and toxic chemicals
  • Certifications & Third-Party Testing: USDA and Non-GMO Project Verified

 

Nutritional Value

  • Vitamin B9 (methyl folate): 360 mcg
  • Iodine: 290 mg
  • Vitamin D3: 30 mcg (1,200 IU)
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0.14 mg
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 2 mg
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 3.5 mcg
  • Choline: 11 mg
  • Vitamin A: 520 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 48 mg
  • Vitamin E: 14.3 mg
  • Zinc: 3.9 mg
  • Selenium: 14 mg
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 341 mg
  • Other Nutrients: Riboflavin (0.16 mg); niacin (18 mg); biotin (17.5 mcg); pantothenic acid (7 mg); sodium (25 mg); vitamin K2 (18 mcg); inositol (5 mg)

 

Other Ingredients

  • Organic flaxseed oil (omega-3 source)
  • Organic tapioca syrup
  • Organic cane sugar
  • Pectin
  • Organic lemon concentrate
  • Sodium citrate
  • Organic natural flavors
  • Colors added (organic maqui berry, organic black carrot juice concentrate)
  • Organic sunflower oil
  • Organic carnauba wax

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • It contains cane sugar and highly processed vegetable oils (sunflower oil).
  • Doesn’t have iron, calcium, and magnesium

 

Brand’s Other Prenatal Vitamins Or Supplements

  • Smarty Pants Prenatal Formula – $28.22, 120 gummies
  • Smarty Pants Capsules Prenatal Formula – $18.81, 30 capsules

 

Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA

(source: nordic.com)

Price

  • 90 softgels – $28.95

 

What Makes It Special

  • Prenatal fish oil DHA supplement to support your baby’s brain development
  • Non-GMO Verified and third-party tested
  • Available as a subscription plan or one-time purchase

 

Key Features

  • Type Or Form: Softgels
  • Product Safety: Free from milk derivatives, gluten, GMOs, and artificial colors or flavors
  • Certifications & Third-Party Testing: Non-GMO Verified, third-party purity tested, and FOS (Friend of the Sea) certified

 

Nutritional Value

  • Vitamin D3: 10 mcg (400 IU)
  • DHA: 480 mg
  • EPA: 205 mg
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 830 mg

 

Other Ingredients

  • Vitamin D3 (olive oil, cholecalciferol)
  • D-alpha tocopherol (antioxidant)
  • Purified deep sea fish oil (source: anchovies and sardines)
  • Soft gel capsule (made from gelatin, water, glycerin, and natural strawberry flavor)
  • Natural strawberry flavor

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • It’s a prenatal DHA supplement, not a multivitamin.
  • Some complaints that the softgel capsules leak or are stuck together inside the bottle

 

Brand’s Other Prenatal Vitamins Or Supplements

  • Nordic Naturals Vegan Prenatal DHA – $34.95, 60 softgels

 

Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA

(source: naturemade.com)

 

Price

  • 60 softgels – $21.99
  • 90 softgels – $29.49

 

What Makes It Special

  • Prenatal multivitamin with DHA
  • Contains most of the essential nutrients you need during pregnancy
  • Available as a subscription plan or one-time purchase

 

Key Features

  • Type Or Form: Softgels
  • Product Safety: Gluten-free and no artificial flavors
  • Certifications & Third-Party Testing: USP* dietary supplement verified

 

*USP means United States Pharmacopeial Convention

 

Nutritional Value

  • Folic acid: 800 mcg
  • Iodine: 150 mcg
  • Iron: 27 mg
  • Vitamin D3: 25 mcg (1,000 IU)
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 1.4 mg
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 1.9 mg
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate): 1,330 mg
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 5.2 mcg
  • Vitamin A: 770 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 85 mg
  • Vitamin E: 15 mg
  • Calcium: 150 mg
  • Magnesium: 45 mg
  • Zinc: 11 mg
  • DHA & EPA (Omega-3 Fatty Acids): 200 mg DHA and 60 mg EPA
  • Other Nutrients: Vitamin K (90 mcg); riboflavin (1.4 mg); niacin (18 mg); biotin (30 mcg); pantothenic acid (6 mg)

 

Other Ingredients

  • Gelatin
  • Soybean oil
  • Glycerin
  • Water
  • Soy lecithin
  • Yellow beeswax
  • Resin
  • Ascorbyl palmitate

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • It doesn’t have choline or selenium.
  • Some complaints about the vitamins having a fishy smell and aftertaste

 

Brand’s Other Prenatal Vitamins Or Supplements

  • Nature Made Prenatal Multivitamin Tablets – $16.49, 90 tablets
  • Nature Made Prenatal Folic Acid + DHA + Choline Gummies – $20.59, 60 gummies

 

Perelel (First Trimester) Prenatal Vitamin Pack

(source: perelelhealth.com)

 

Price

  • 30 daily pill packs (one month supply) – $48

 

What Makes It Special

  • Targeted nutrition for each stage in your reproductive cycle
  • Includes a formulation to help alleviate morning sickness symptoms such as nausea
  • Each daily pill pack contains two core prenatal vitamins, one omega DHA + EPA capsule, one additional folate capsule, and one anti-nausea ginger capsule.
  • Formulated and founded by an OB-GYN and a team of leading women’s health doctors
  • Available options include a conception support pack, prenatal packs for the different trimesters, and a postpartum pack
  • Available as a subscription plan or one-time purchase

 

Key Features

  • Type Or Form: Pack of different capsules
  • Product Safety: Free from soy, gluten, GMOs, colorants, and synthetic fillers
  • Certifications & Third-Party Testing: Third-party tested

 

Nutritional Value

  • Iodine: 150 mcg
  • Iron: 15 mg
  • Vitamin D3: 50 mcg (2,000 IU)
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 3 mg
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 3 mg
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate): 700 mcg
  • Choline: 120 mg
  • Vitamin A: 500 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 50 mg
  • Vitamin E: 10 mg
  • Magnesium: 30 mg
  • Zinc: 25 mg
  • Selenium: 50 mcg
  • Other Nutrients: Riboflavin (3 mg); niacin (15 mg); pantothenic acid (6 mg); copper (1 mg); chromium (30 mcg); vitamin K (30 mcg); boron (1 mg)

 

Other Ingredients

  • L-leucine
  • Peppermint leaf powder
  • Rice flour
  • Silica
  • Coated gelatin and HPMC (capsule)

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Despite including an anti-nausea pill, the daily pill packs have a strong smell that some pregnant people might not like.
  • It doesn’t have vitamin B12 (cobalamin), calcium, or omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA).
  • Although you get five pills per pack

 

Brand’s Other Prenatal Vitamins Or Supplements

  • Conception support pack – $48, a one-month supply
  • Second-trimester prenatal pack – $48, a one-month supply
  • Third-trimester prenatal pack – $48, a one-month supply
  • Postpartum pack – $48, a one-month supply

 

New Chapter Advanced Perfect Prenatal Multivitamins

(source: amazon.com)

 

Price

  • 48 capsules – $21
  • 96 capsules – $35
  • 192 capsules – $60
  • 270 capsules – $82

 

What Makes It Special

  • Non-GMO Project verified
  • 100% vegetarian
  • NSF-certified gluten-free
  • Contains most of the essential nutrients you need during pregnancy
  • Contains a clinical dose of ginger to help alleviate morning sickness symptoms, such as nausea
  • The brand claims they’re using a non-constipating form of iron in their supplement.
  • Available as a subscription plan or one-time purchase

 

Key Features

  • Type Or Form: Capsules
  • Product Safety: Free from added sugar, animal gelatin, gluten, artificial flavors or colors, pesticides, heavy metals, allergens, residual solvents, and other toxic chemicals
  • Certifications & Third-Party Testing: Non-GMO Project Verified, NSF, and certified Kosher

 

Nutritional Value

  • Iodine: 150 mcg
  • Iron: 27 mg
  • Vitamin D3: 25 mcg (1,000 IU)
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 1.4 mg
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 1.4 mg
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate): 600 mcg
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 3 mcg
  • Vitamin A: 1,300 mg
  • Vitamin C: 75 mg
  • Vitamin E: 20.9 mg
  • Calcium: 75 mg
  • Magnesium: 15 mg
  • Zinc: 6.5 mg
  • Selenium: 70 mcg
  • Other Nutrients: Vitamin K (90 mcg); riboflavin (1.6 mg); niacin (18 mg); biotin (35 mcg), pantothenic acid (7 mg); copper (0.65 mcg); manganese (2.5 mg); chromium (45 mcg); molybdenum (20 mcg)

 

Other Ingredients

Fermented soy using:

  • Organic soy flour
  • Organic Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Prenatal probiotic combination [Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium breve]
  • Lactic acid bacteria [Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus]
  • Organic gum acacia
  • Organic maltodextrin
  • Organic molasses
  • Organic orange peel powder
  • Organic carrot powder
  • Papain (deactivated)
  • Bromelain (deactivated)
  • Organic alfalfa powder
  • Organic safflower oil

 

Prenatal Herbal Blend (from ferment media)

  • Organic oats
  • Organic brown rice
  • Organic prune
  • Organic raspberry
  • Organic blueberry
  • Organic blackberry
  • Organic rose hip
  • Organic flame raisin
  • Organic lemon balm
  • Organic peppermint
  • Organic dandelion
  • Organic lavender
  • Organic clove

 

Breast Support Blend

  • Organic cabbage
  • Organic cauliflower
  • Organic broccoli
  • Organic kale
  • Organic mustard
  • Organic daikon radish

 

Other ingredients:

  • Ginger
  • Organic turmeric
  • Organic gum acacia
  • Silicon dioxide
  • Magnesium stearate
  • Lac resin
  • Carnauba wax

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • It doesn’t have choline or the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
  • Some complaints about this product causing health issues (increased liver enzymes) or triggering an allergic reaction

 

Brand’s Other Prenatal Vitamins Or Supplements

  • One Daily Prenatal Multivitamin 35+ – $30, 30 capsules
  • One Daily Prenatal Multivitamin – $24, 30 capsules
  • Prenatal Vegan Omega-3 Complex – $30, 30 capsules
  • Perfect Postnatal Multivitamin – $35, 96 capsules
  • Fermented Iron Complex – $27, 60 tablets
  • Wholemega Fish Oil for Moms – $24.00, 90 softgels

 

One A Day Prenatal 1 Complete Multivitamin

(source: amazon.com)

 

Price

  • 60 softgels – $34.46 (price on Amazon)

 

What Makes It Special

  • The brand claims that this prenatal vitamin passed 100+ rigorous quality checks.

 

Key Features

  • Type Or Form: Softgels
  • Product Safety: Free from gluten, dairy (milk) allergens, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, and synthetic colors
  • Certifications & Third-Party Testing: Not indicated

 

Nutritional Value

  • Folic acid: 800 mcg
  • Iodine: 150 mcg
  • Iron: 27 mg
  • Vitamin D3: 15 mcg (600 IU)
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 1.4 mg
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 2 mg
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate): 1,330 mcg
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 2.8 mcg
  • Vitamin A: 650 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 85 mg
  • Vitamin E: 19 mg
  • Calcium: 150 mg
  • Magnesium: 40 mg
  • Zinc: 13 mg 
  • DHA & EPA (Omega-3 Fatty Acids): 200 mg of DHA, 35 mg of EPA
  • Other Nutrients: Riboflavin (1.6 mg); niacin (18 mg); biotin (35 mcg); pantothenic acid (7 mg); copper (1.3 mg)

 

Other Ingredients

  • Omega-3 fish oil
  • Gelatin
  • Glycerin
  • Yellow beeswax
  • Purified water
  • Fish (anchovy, sardine, tuna)
  • Soy

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • It doesn’t have choline and selenium.
  • Contains potential allergens: fish and soy
  • Some complaints about the strong fishy smell and bad taste

 

Brand’s Other Prenatal Vitamins Or Supplements

  • One A Day Prenatal Advanced Complete Multivitamin with Brain Support – $97.51, 90 softgels + 90 tablets
  • One A Day Women’s Prenatal Gummies – $26.56, 120 gummies
  • One A Day Postnatal Complete Multivitamin for Post-Pregnancy – $25.09, 60 softgels

 

Garden of Life Mykind Organics Prenatal Multi

(source: amazon.com)

 

Price

  • 30 tablets – $39.95 (price on Amazon)
  • 90 tablets – $47.99
  • 180 tablets – $86.99

 

What Makes It Special

  • Non-GMO Project Verified 
  • Made from certified USDA organic plants
  • CV (Certified Vegan)
  • GF (Certified Gluten-Free)
  • Kosher Certified
  • The brand claims this product is a whole food supplement containing non-constipating iron.

 

Key Features

  • Type Or Form: Tablet
  • Product Safety: Free from fillers, dairy, eggs, honey, soy, peanut, tree nuts, shellfish, and artificial colors or preservatives
  • Certifications & Third-Party Testing: Non-GMO Project Verified, USDA, and Certified Vegan 

 

Nutritional Value

  • Iodine: 290 mcg
  • Iron: 27 mg
  • Vitamin D3: 25 mcg (1,000 IU)
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 1.61 mg
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 9 mg
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate): 800 mcg
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 14 mcg
  • Vitamin A: 1,300 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 150 mg
  • Vitamin E: 19 mg
  • Zinc: 13 mg
  • Selenium: 50 mcg
  • Other Nutrients: Vitamin K (9 mcg); vitamin B2 riboflavin (1.84 mg); niacin (20.7 mg); biotin (210 mcg); pantothenic acid (8.05 mg); manganese (0.75 mg); chromium (90 mcg)

 

Other Ingredients (Organic Food Blend)

  • Organic annatto
  • Organic apple
  • Organic asparagus
  • Organic beet
  • Organic blackberry
  • Organic blueberry
  • Organic broccoli
  • Organic brussels sprout
  • Organic carrot
  • Organic cauliflower
  • Organic celery
  • Organic cherry
  • Organic cucumber
  • Organic curry 
  • Organic emblic 
  • Organic garlic
  • Organic ginger
  • Organic green bell pepper
  • Organic green onion
  • Organic guava
  • Organic holy basil leaf
  • Organic kale
  • Organic lemon
  • Organic moringa leaf
  • Organic mushroom
  • Organic parsley
  • Organic peppermint
  • Organic raspberry
  • Organic red cabbage
  • Organic sea kelp
  • Organic sesbania grandiflora
  • Organic spinach
  • Organic strawberry
  • Organic tomato

 

The Clean Tablet Technology Blend contains the following:

  • Organic brown rice
  • Organic potato starch
  • Organic dextrose
  • Organic gum arabic
  • Organic coating (organic palm oil, organic tapioca maltodextrin, organic sunflower lecithin, and organic guar gum)

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • It doesn’t contain calcium, choline, magnesium, or omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
  • Some complaints from pregnant people who developed rashes and other allergic reactions to this product

 

Brand’s Other Prenatal Vitamins Or Supplements

  • Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal Capsules – $23.99, 30 capsules 
  • mykind Organics Prenatal Multi Tablets – $47.99, 90 capsules 
  • Dr. Formulated Probiotics Once Daily Prenatal Shelf-Stable – $26.99, 30 capsules 
  • Minami Prenatal Lemon Softgels – $22.99, 30 capsules 
  • mykind Organics Prenatal Multi Berry – $35.99, 120 gummies
  • Dr. Formulated Probiotics Once Daily Prenatal Cooler – $26.99, 30 capsules
  • Dr. Formulated Prenatal DHA Vegan – $27.99, 30 softgels 
  • Dr. Formulated Prenatal DHA – $29.99, 30 softgels
  • Oceans MOM Prenatal DHA Omega-3 (350mg) – $20.99, 30 softgels
  • Dr. Formulated Prenatal Multi + DHA (not available online, only from selected retailers) – 30 softgels 
  • mykind Organics Prenatal (not available online, only from selected retailers) – 30 tablets

 

Summary & Recommendations

These are some of the best options available for prenatal vitamins but make sure to check with your OB-GYN before taking dietary supplements and over-the-counter medications:

 

Choose Ritual Essential Prenatal Multivitamin (60 softgels – $35 ) if:

  • You want a Non-GMO Project verified vegetarian prenatal supplement sourced from wild-harvested lichen and whole microalgae in a delayed-release capsule design
  • You prefer one with higher levels of biotin, vitamin K, and vitamin D3 than most of the prenatals on our list.

 

Choose Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA (90 softgels – $28.95) if:

  • You need a non-GMO verified prenatal fish oil DHA supplement
  • You don’t mind that this isn’t a multivitamin but only a fish oil supplement
  • You prefer one that has the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids to the multivitamins on our list

 

Choose Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA (90 softgels – $29.49) if:

  • You want a prenatal multivitamin that contains most of the essential nutrients you need during pregnancy
  • You prefer one with higher levels of calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin K, and folate than the others on our list

 

Choose Perelel (First Trimester) Prenatal Vitamin Packs (30 daily pill packs – $48) if:

  • You’re looking for targeted nutrition for each stage in your reproductive cycle
  • You want options available for a conception support pack, prenatal packs for the different trimesters, or a postpartum pack
  • You prefer one that contains higher levels of vitamin D3, thiamin, choline, zinc, boron, and riboflavin

 

Choose New Chapter Advanced Perfect Prenatal Multivitamins (96 capsules – $35) if:

  • You want a Non-GMO Project Verified multivitamin that contains most of the essential nutrients you need during pregnancy
  • You prefer one with a clinical dose of ginger to help alleviate morning sickness symptoms
  • You like that it has higher levels of iron, selenium, manganese, and vitamins A, E, and K

 

Choose One A Day Prenatal 1 Complete Multivitamin (60 softgels – $34.46) if:

  • You want a prenatal vitamin that passed 100+ rigorous quality checks
  • You prefer one that contains higher levels of folate, iron, calcium, and copper

 

Choose Garden of Life Mykind Organics Prenatal Multi (90 tablets – $47.99) if:

  • You prefer a Non-GMO Project Verified and USDA Organic certified product
  • You like a whole food supplement that contains non-constipating iron
  • You want one with the highest levels of essential nutrients (iodine, iron, niacin, pantothenic acid, chromium, and vitamins B6, B12, A, and C) than most of the prenatals on our list 

 

What’s The Best Prenatal Vitamin Gummy?

You can choose SmartyPants Organic Prenatal Formula Gummies (120 gummies – $32.93):

  • USDA Certified Organic vegetarian prenatal and postnatal multivitamin gummies
  • Contains probiotics and higher levels of iodine than the other prenatals on our list

 

Factors In Choosing The Best Prenatal Vitamins

Safety & Contraindications

Most of what you eat or take during pregnancy could potentially affect your baby. So, it’s important to ensure the safety of your prenatal vitamins.

Always check the product description or label for the prenatal supplement’s ingredients, essential nutrients, potential allergens, and other relevant information, particularly if you have sensitivity to certain ingredients.

Avoid products with added sugars because they might increase your risks for gestational diabetes (high blood sugar levels during pregnancy). It could lead to preeclampsia (high blood pressure and organ damage), an extra-large baby, and increased C-section risk. (7)

It’s also important to check for possible product recalls of the supplements you plan to buy.

Check with your pediatrician before taking prenatal vitamins.

 

Important Nutritional Content In Prenatal Vitamins & Best Nutrient-Rich Foods To Eat During Pregnancy

A healthy diet with whole foods and getting important nutrients in prenatal vitamins help you have a healthy pregnancy. The following are among the most important nutrients in prenatals and your diet: (2)

 

Folic Acid & Folate 

These terms are often used interchangeably for vitamin B9, but folate is actually the natural form of this vitamin, while folic acid is synthetic.

Folate and folic acid help support your baby’s brain and spinal cord development. These help prevent birth defects of the spine or spinal cord and brain. (2)

ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) recommends a daily amount of 600 mcg or a prenatals with at least 400 mcg of folic acid or folate. (2)

Methyl folate is the most active form of folate. (2)

Some food sources with folate or folic acid:

  • Peanuts
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Orange juice
  • Beans
  • Enriched bread and pasta

 

Iodine

This element is essential for your baby’s healthy brain development. (2)

Sufficient iodine levels during pregnancy can help prevent: (8)(9)

  • Miscarriages
  • Prematurity
  • Low birth weight
  • Certain birth defects such as cretinism (a condition that causes physical deformity and intellectual disabilities) 

 

ACOG recommends a daily intake of 220 mcg of iodine for a healthy pregnancy. (2)

Iodine-rich food sources:

  • Seafood
  • Dairy products
  • Iodized table salt
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Some bread

 

Iron

Adequate iron levels during pregnancy are important to prevent anemia, a condition that can also lead to: (10)

  • Low birth weight
  • Stunted growth
  • Newborn anemia
  • Preterm birth
  • Preeclampsia

 

You need 27 mg of iron daily during pregnancy to meet your body’s increased demands. (2)

Iron-rich foods include:

  • Lean red meat
  • Liver
  • Poultry
  • Dried beans and peas
  • Fish (such as wild salmon and sardines)
  • Prune juice

 

Vitamin D

Adequate levels of vitamin D, particularly D3 (cholecalciferol), help you and your baby have strong bones and reduced risks for: (11)(12)

  • Asthma
  • Rickets
  • Low birth weight
  • ASDs (autism spectrum disorders)

 

ACOG recommends taking at least 15 mcg (600 IU) of vitamin D during pregnancy. (2)

Some foods rich in vitamin D:

  • Cod liver oil
  • Fatty fish (e.g., salmon, trout, and sardines)
  • Eggs
  • Beef liver

 

Other B Vitamins

ACOG also recommends the following B vitamins: (2)

  • Vitamin B6 (1.9 mg) helps in the formation of red blood cells
  • Vitamin B12 (2.6 mcg) helps maintain a healthy nervous system

 

Vitamins C, E, & A

ACOG and the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies recommend the following daily intake of these vitamins: (2)(13)

  • Vitamin C: 85 mg
  • Vitamin A: 770 mcg
  • Vitamin E: 15 mg

 

Minerals

Important minerals to take during pregnancy: (14)(15)(16)

  • Magnesium: 350-400 mg
  • Calcium: 1,000 to 1,300 mg
  • Zinc: 15 mg

 

Essential Nutrients Often Missing In Prenatal Supplements

Choline

This essential nutrient is important for your baby’s brain and spinal cord development.

ACOG recommends a daily intake of 450 mg of choline during pregnancy. (2)

Some choline-rich foods:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Beef liver
  • Soy products
  • Peanuts

 

DHA & EPA

These omega-3 fatty acids often found in fish oil can help: (17)

 

Currently, experts haven’t established the normal ranges for these omega-3 fatty acids. Still, the UN (United Nations) Food and Agriculture Organization recommends an intake of at least 200 mg of DHA and 100 mg of EPA.

Rich sources of DHA and EPA:

  • Fish oil
  • Herring
  • Wild-caught salmon
  • Wild-caught sardines
  • Seaweed (nori, chlorella, spirulina) 
  • Seeds (chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flaxseeds) 
  • Beans (edamame, kidney beans) 
  • Walnuts 
  • Leafy green vegetables (spinach, watercress, brussels sprouts, parsley, and kale)

 

Materials, Third-Party Testing, & Certifications

Third-party testing, including Non-GMO Project and USDA Organic certifications, helps ensure the product’s safety and effectiveness.

 

Cost & Dosage

There’s a wide range of products you can choose from, so you can find one within your budget. 

However, it’s good to compare the products so you can get those that contain the minimum amount of essential nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy.

 

Different Kinds Of Prenatal Vitamins

  • Capsules, pills, and tablets
  • Softgels
  • Liquids, powders, and chewables
  • Vegans and vegetarian options
  • Prescription and OTC (over-the-counter)

 

Side Effects Of Prenatal Vitamins

Constipation Or Diarrhea

Due to their iron content, some prenatal vitamins can cause either constipation or diarrhea. (18)

 

Nausea & Vomiting

These side effects might happen if you take higher doses of supplements that contain iron. (18)

 

Bright Yellow Urine

High doses of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) can cause your urine to turn bright yellow. (19)

Most of the time, this isn’t something to worry about but an indication that you’re taking more than what your body needs. (19)

 

What If You Feel Nauseous After Taking Your Prenatal Vitamins?

Some prenatals might contain excessive amounts of vitamins, while others could have content that irritates your tummy or triggers nausea. If yours continues to make you nauseous, ask your OB-GYN for other options.

 

Are There Prenatal Vitamins That Are Better For Nausea Than Others?

Yes, possibly. Some prenatal brands, such as New Chapter Advanced Perfect Prenatal Multivitamins, contain ginger to help reduce nausea.

 

Warning Signs & When To See Your Doctor

  • Blood in your stool
  • Stomach cramps
  • Skin itching and peeling

 

FAQs

When’s The Best Time To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?

You can start as soon as you find out that you’re expecting.

 

How Early Should I Start Taking Prenatals?

If you’re planning to get pregnant, you can also start taking prenatal vitamins, especially those high in folate.

 

How Often Should I Take My Prenatal Vitamins?

It’s important to take your prenatal vitamins daily.

 

When Should You Stop Taking Prenatal Vitamins?

You can continue taking prenatal vitamins up to around three months after birth to help your postpartum recovery.

 

Can Prenatal Vitamins Increase Your Fertility & Chances Of Getting Pregnant?

No. Prenatal vitamins don’t increase your fertility but can help ensure you’ll have a healthy pregnancy.

 

Which Prenatal Vitamins Do Doctors Recommend?

Different doctors recommend different prenatal vitamins, depending on your needs. Ask your OB-GYN for their recommendations.

 

Does It Matter What Brand Of Prenatal Vitamins You Take?

Yes. It matters because different brand’s products contain different essential vitamins, use different materials, and undergo different tests. 

 

Are Prenatal Vitamins Safe & FDA-approved?

Prenatal vitamins can be safe to use during pregnancy, but make sure to consult your doctor before starting on them. Note that following the FDA’s labeling standards, prenatals aren’t regulated and approved by the federal agency.

 

Are Prescribed Prenatal Vitamins Better Than OTC?

Not exactly. Although you might save on prescribed prenatals if your insurance policy covers their costs, many over-the-counter options contain the same or might even have more essential nutrients.

 

How Many Servings Are There In The Bottle? 

It depends on the brand and the particular product. Most offer products in different sizes, but you can find many that offer 30 servings per bottle to last one month.

 

What Vitamin Is Best For Me?

It depends on your needs. For example, you’ll need iron supplements or a prenatal vitamin with higher iron content if you’re low on iron.

 

Can Prenatal Vitamins Promote Hair Growth?

Not exactly. The increase in your pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone to support your baby’s growth and development is responsible for your fuller, healthier hair. (20)

 

Can You Increase Prenatal Vitamin Intake To Make Up For Nutrient Deficiencies?

The ACOG doesn’t recommend taking more multivitamin prenatal supplements to make up for deficiencies. (2)

That’s because some vitamins, such as vitamin A, could cause birth defects and other serious complications at higher doses. (2)

Your OB-GYN can prescribe specific supplements for specific deficiencies. 

 

What Happens If You Don’t Take Prenatal Vitamins While Pregnant?

Your baby can have a higher risk of having birth defects due to nutrient deficiencies if you don’t take your prenatal vitamins. (3)

You might also experience a higher risk of miscarriage, preeclampsia, anemia, and other pregnancy complications. (4)(5)

 

Can You Take Prenatal Vitamins Even If You Aren’t Pregnant?

Yes. However, it isn’t recommended because they contain specific nutrients needed for pregnancy. 

Taking them when you aren’t pregnant or planning to have a baby might just put these extra nutrients to waste or even lead to side effects and complications: (21)

 

Who Doesn’t Benefit from Prenatal Vitamins?

Men aren’t likely to benefit from prenatal vitamins. If they have deficiencies affecting their fertility, their doctor is likely to prescribe a different set of vitamins from prenatals.

 

Other Prenatal Vitamins To Consider

  • Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins
  • Therologix TheraNatal Core
  • Pink Stork Total Prenatal + DHA
  • Naturelo Prenatal Multivitamins
  • Pink Stork Liquid Prenatal
  • FullWell Prenatal Multivitamin
  • Needed Powdered Prenatal Multi
  • Best Nest Wellness Mama Bird Prenatal Multi+
  • NusaPure Choline Bitartrate
  • The Honest Company Prenatal Once Daily

 

References

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071347/

(2) https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/nutrition-during-pregnancy

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7558284/

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3540805/

(5) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25569002/

(6) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3505840/

(7) https://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/diabetes-gestational.html

(8) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/mcn.13252

(9) https://pmj.bmj.com/content/77/906/217

(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235217/

(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3540805/

(12) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5385921/

(13) https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/

(14) https://www.blackmores.com.au/pregnancy-and-preconception/two-essential-nutrients-in-pregnancy

(15) https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/calcium-in-pregnancy/

(16) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7043363/

(17) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3046737/

(18) https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007478.htm

(19) https://rightasrain.uwmedicine.org/well/health/what-color-your-pee-says-about-your-health

(20) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7432488/

(21) https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/vitamin-overdose/

 

 

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