When you first get pregnant, it can be hard enough to keep food down. When you add a sensitive sense of smell and a ton of stress, keeping a diet that meets your baby's needs can be a challenge. Luckily, prenatal vitamins cover all the nutritional requirements for both mother and child. The best prenatal vitamins also match your dietary restrictions, personal values, and schedule. Choosing the right prenatal vitamin can seem like a chore but we've put together a list of the best and brightest to save you time for more pressing pregnancy planning.
FAQ WHEN CHOOSING PRENATAL VITAMINS
1. What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are vitamin supplements formulated for the needs of your growing baby and the energy requirements of pregnancy and lactation. After all, now you're taking vitamins for two.
2. What Is In The Best Prenatal Vitamins?
- Vitamin A is essential in fetal development and the formation of the eyes, ears, limbs, and heart.
- Vitamin B Complex can help mothers avoid hair loss, anemia, digestive problems, lower immune response, and fatigue.
- Vitamin C & E are important in the formation of collagen, a protein in bones, cartilage, skin, and tendons.
- Vitamin D is important for bone health and helps regulate the mother's blood pressure, brain function, and immunity.
- Calcium is important both for the developing bones in the baby and to prevent bone loss in the mother.
- Choline is important for fetal brain development, healthy liver function and the function of the placenta. Mothers pass along choline to babies through the placenta and in breast milk but need supplemental amounts to maintain their own levels.
- DHA is an Omega 3 Fatty Acid that helps your baby's brain and eyes develop. Mothers need 200 milligrams of DHA each day.
- Folate is one of the B Vitamins. It is one of the most important vitamins for pregnancy. Folate has been linked to the reduction of fetal abnormalities. Mothers need at least 400 micrograms a day of Folate. Folate reduces neural tube defects and is important in the formation of red and white blood cells and the formation of DNA.
- Iron is the other major supplement requirement in new mothers. Pregnant women require 30 to 60 milligrams of iron each day. Iron is needed to support the growing baby and developing placenta. Iron is needed to meet the high amount of required red blood cells. It can also help both mother and child avoid anemia.
- Iodine is required for hormone production and fetal brain development.
- Zinc is needed for the rapid cellular growth. Insufficient Zinc can lead to low birth weight and premature delivery.
3. When Should I Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?
It's best to start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you plan to get pregnant. They are vital for embryo development and the first few weeks of pregnancy are important for fetal development. While they are not helpful with fertility, they can improve egg formation and aid in ovulation. Of course, it is not always possible to take them before you get pregnant. Be sure to start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you find out you are pregnant.
4. When Should I Stop Taking Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are recommended through breastfeeding. These vitamins aid in maintaining both parent and child's vitamin levels. Additionally, many of the vitamins can help with the lactation process.
5. Can You Overdose On Prenatal Vitamins?
If you take an extra vitamin once it won't hurt you or your baby. But it is very important to follow the dosage. It's also best to avoid taking additional vitamin supplements unless advised by your doctor. Excess iron can be toxic and an excess of vitamins can affect your liver function. Prenatal vitamins are specially designed to be the multivitamin for expectant mothers.
6. Are There Side Effects To Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins can make you a little nauseous, especially with morning sickness. This can be avoided if you take them with food and drink plenty of water. Iron supplements can cause constipation so you'll want to ensure you are getting enough fiber. Be sure to consult with your doctor if you experience any other side effects as they could be an allergic reaction or interaction.
7. What Is The Difference Between Folate And Folic Acid?
Folate is one of the most important supplemental vitamin requirements for pregnant women. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. They are often used interchangeably. But folic acid does not get fully processed in the digestive system but in the liver into a form the body can use. This is not the most efficient process. There are some women who have a genetic condition that makes it hard for their bodies to convert the folic acid to the active form the body can use. Many prenatal vitamins now have "methylated folate," "l-methylfolate" or "methylfolate" which is the naturally occurring, biologically active form of folic acid.
HOW WE REVIEWED
We compiled the following list based on the vitamins' nutritional content, popularity, price, and value per dosage. Our team took time to research the vitamin needs of expectant mothers, as well as, the various prenatal vitamins on the market to put together this unbiased list of the best prenatal vitamins.
OVERALL PRICE RANGE
Prenatal vitamins can range from $14.99 to $75 dollars. But dosages vary by brand and can affect overall price. Especially, since you may take them for over nine months. Prenatal vitamins range from $0.16 to $0.33 per dose.
WHAT WE REVIEWED
RAINBOW LIGHT PRENATAL PETITE MINI-TAB MULTIVITAMIN
- PETITE MINI TABS: Complete nutrition in small, easy to swallow tablets
- GENTLE PRENATAL BLEND: Magnesium and potassium to ease discomfort, plus high potency vitamin B complex for energy, cell...
- FOLIC ACID: Provides 800 micrograms, which promotes healthy brain and spinal development
These petite tablets are designed to avoid discomfort while swallowing. This multivitamin includes gentle herbs like ginger and raspberry leaf to soothe stomach upset. They contain probiotics and enzymes to balance the digestive system. The formula is gluten-free, sugar-free, lactose-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, and yeast-free and contains no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, or additives. But it does contain the super food Spirulina. Rainbow Light use sustainable packaging that is 100% Post-Consumer recycled and recyclable bottles that are BPA-free.
You Should Know
This formula does not include DHA which may require an additional supplement or increased fish in your diet. Since the tablets are smaller you may have to take more which may add up over time price wise.
NATURE MADE PRENATAL MULTI + DHA
- For a limited time, you may receive either bottle while we update our packaging. Both have the same great product...
- Contains a 90-day supply of Nature Made Prenatal Vitamin + DHA Softgels, 90 softgels per bottle
- Specially formulated to support the development of baby’s brain, nervous system, bones and eyes. Clinically proven...
Provides all the key vitamins and omega-3 fatty acid in one easy to swallow softgel. Nature Made is clinically proven to ensure absorption of key nutrients. It's yeast, starch and gluten-free and contains no added colors or dyes. This single pill allows for you to only have to take one vitamin a day if you are on-the-go.
You Should Know
It contains fish products, beeswax, soy, and gelatin so it is not vegan or vegetarian and may affect those with allergies.
MEGAFOOD BABY & ME
- LET'S BE REAL: You're a real mom with a real baby. Give yourself the nourishing support of real food, Baby & Me.
- SHARE YOUR HEALTH: Our Nurturing Prenatal Blend supports strength, balance, and mood during pregnancy as well as helping...
- POWER OF MOM: B vitamins and iron encourage energy levels and red blood cell production when you need them most.
This vitamin can be taken at any time, even on an empty stomach. "Farm to tablet" it boasts real organic food ingredients including broccoli, brown rice, raspberry leaf, ginger root, chamomile flower, spinach, blueberry, orange, dandelion leaf and cranberry. It's certified kosher, vegetarian and dairy and soy free. It's non-GMO, organic and has been tested for 125+ Pesticides & Herbicides and glyphosate free.
You Should Know
NORDIC NATURALS PRENATAL DHA
Prenatal DHA generously fulfills the recommended daily intake for DHA, providing safe and effective omega-3 nutrition to moms and babies. There's an added vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), the natural form of vitamin D produced by the body, for strong bones and mood support throughout all stages of pregnancy. This formula is the true triglyceride form of DHA vs. synthesized fatty acids to ensure optimal absorption and results.
You Should Know
This is not a full prenatal vitamin. It only is a supplement for DHA and is for use with a prenatal vitamin that does not contain DHA.
SMARTY PANTS PRENATAL COMPLETE
- Prenatal Formula with new premium ingredients, all in one delicious serving: Beta Carotene, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K2 &...
- New serving Size! For adult women, take four (4) gummies daily with or without food
- Non-gmo. Free of milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nut allergens, fish allergens, shellfish, soy, gluten and wheat. No synthetic...
Lemon, orange and strawberry banana gummies made with all natural ingredients. SmartyPants are non-GMO, gluten-free and free of the eight most common allergens including milk, eggs, shellfish, soy, peanuts, wheat, fish allergens and tree nut allergens. The folate used is in the premium form methylfolate.
You Should Know
As gummies they contain higher sugar than other supplements.
GARDEN OF LIFE VITAMIN CODE RAW PRENATAL MULTIVITAMIN
- Whole Food Prenatal Vitamins: A comprehensive prenatal to postnatal women's multivitamin specifically formulated to meet...
- Multivitamin with Folate & Iron: These prenatals provide folate (no synthetic folic acid) to support healthy neural tube...
- Nutritional Support for Mom & Baby: This Whole Food Multi is made from nutritious, organically grown, raw fruits &...
This supplement is suitable for those on a raw diet. This means no high heat, synthetic binders, fillers, artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors or additives. This whole food supplement includes a base of 23 fruits and vegetables together with food cofactors that include kale, barley, cherry, chia, buckwheat, flax seed and more. For those who like to be able to identify all the ingredients most are organic ingredients.
You Should Know
This blend does not include DHA fatty acids. The serving size is three tablets.
NEW CHAPTER PERFECT PRENATAL VITAMINS
- COMPLETE PRENATAL VITAMIN with Folate for baby’s healthy brain & spinal cord development
- EASY TO TAKE ANYTIME: Gentle on an empty stomach. Eases morning sickness with clinical dose of Organic Ginger*
- 3 NUTRIENT-PACKED TABLETS with Superfoods and safe herbs plus fermented nutrients to support baby’s healthy...
This Prenatal vitamin is fermented to transform vitamins and minerals into whole foods your body can easily absorb. Includes 13 vitamins, 10 minerals and 21 pregnancy safe herbs & botanicals. Contains methylfolate and organic whole-food superfoods such as kale, broccoli & cauliflower. The first prenatal vitamin to be made with certified organic vegetables and herbs. 100% vegetarian, certified Kosher, gluten-free and non-GMO.
You Should Know
Requires 3 tablets a day. Does not include DHA.
MAMA BIRD AM/PM PRENATAL MULTIVITAMIN
- DO YOU WANT THE BEST? Mama Bird Prenatal Multivitamin AM/PM for women is unique. This multivitamin is made with organic...
- GETTING ENOUGH CHOLINE FOR YOU & BABY? Many prenatal vitamins have little to no choline in them. We created Mama Bird...
- THE BEST INGREDIENTS MAKE THE BEST VITAMINS. Other products use synthetic vitamin forms, such as folic acid. This...
This vegan blend also includes methylfolate and methylcobalamin, the most potent form of B12 found in nature. It includes probiotics and red raspberry leaf, chamomile and ginger to aid in digestion and soothe morning sickness. It is free of artificial colors and flavors, sugar, sweeteners, preservatives, gluten, soy, yeast, fish/shellfish, nuts, GMOs, and dairy/lactose. It also is made in the USA.
You Should Know
This formula does not contain iron or iodine which may be needed by some mothers. It is taken twice a day.
THERANATAL COMPLETE | PRENATAL VITAMIN & MINERAL SUPPLEMENT (13 WEEK SUPPLY)
- COMPLETE NUTRITION - Two tablets and one softgel a day provide the most comprehensive formula for mom & baby, including...
- MOST COMPREHENSIVE - TheraNatal Complete provides all you need, including methylated folate, choline, DHA, iron, iodine,...
- ALL YOU NEED - The pink multivitamin and mineral tablet contains essential nutrients for pregnancy. The white tablet...
This three pill blend includes one pill for your multivitamin including your folate and iron. The second pill includes Vitamin D, B and choline. The third pill is a softgel for the DHA and Omega fatty acids. While a higher price than other prenatal vitamins, they are pre-packaged and contain a more comprehensive amount of choline.
You Should Know
Pills are labeled for each day.
ONE A DAY WOMEN'S PRENATAL VITAMIN, 90 COUNT
- A complete prenatal multivitamin that provides nutritional support for women before, during, and after pregnancy
- With key nutrients, like folic acid, DHA, iron and calcium all in one single soft gel
- Provides 100% of the daily value of folic acid; Gluten free
The #1 OBGYN Recommended Prenatal Brand. It is free from artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, wheat, and dairy. With one single pill it includes the vitamins, DHA, and
You Should Know
It does not include Choline.