What Are the Best Prenatal Vitamins for You? (2023)

Not all prenatal vitamins are created equal. Find out which ones are best for youbased on your health and lifestyle.

Baby will take what the nutrients they need from you, whether you have enough to spare or not. Because of this, it’s vital to get enough nutrients for you andfor your growing baby. Unfortunately, many moms begin pregnancy deficient in one or more vitamins or minerals, so prenatal vitamins become especially important. The problem? Not all prenatal vitamins are created equally. Read on to find the best prenatal vitamins for you.

On this page…
  • What are the best food-based prenatal vitamins?
  • Prenatal vitamins for moms who have the MTHFR Mutation
  • Create your own prenatal vitamins
  • What about synthetic prenatal vitamins?
  • Why do I need prenatal vitamins?
  • Is cod liver oil safe?
  • Good for Mama, Good for Baby

Best Prenatal Vitamins:Food-based Prenatals

Food-based prenatals are more absorbable and gentler on the stomach, because they are derived from foodinstead of isolated vitamins. In fact, many women who suffer from constipation or nausea while on conventionalprenatal vitamins during pregnancy seea significant improvementwhen switching to food-based prenatals. Because they are derived from food, these prenatal blendscontain the enzymes, phytonutrients, and other co-factors that make the vitamin most absorbable and add to the spectrum of nutrition. Many also include probiotics and herbal blends, too.

Thedownside to food based prenatals is that they are more expensive and have lower levels of each vitamin and mineral than a synthetic vitamin. However, because theyare thought to be more highly absorbable than synthetics, this isn’t a deal-breaker.

Here’s a comparison of food-based prenatals:

MegaFood Baby &Me Prenatal Vitamins

MegaFood – Baby & Me prenatal supplement facts

MegaFood offers two versions of its prenatal blend: Baby &Me and Baby &Me 2(doesn’t contain the herbal blend).

This company has high quality standards—their prenatal vitamins are non-GMO, contain no pesticides/herbicides, and are made from farm-fresh food.

They contain a great cross-spectrum of nutrients, are higher in vitamin D, contain vitamin K, and have lots of good B vitamins. Plus, they’re strong in iodine, iron and zinc, threeimportant minerals in pregnancy. It is lower in vitamin A, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you take cod liver oil. It’s also low in calcium and magnesium—try supplementing with organic, grass-fed dairy and magnesium.

(Video) OBGYN Explains Prenatal Vitamins! Is there a best prenatal vitamin? Important ingredients & more.

New Chapter PerfectPrenatals

New Chapter Perfect Prenatals supplement facts

Perfect Prenatalis gluten-free, non-GMO, and made from organic foods. It is strong in vitamin D, K and iron. Unfortunately, it doesn’t reach the RDA in zinc, iodine, calcium, magnesium, or surprisingly, folate (probably the most important nutrient when pregnant). It also contains soy, which is a high-allergen food,even when fermented. Still, I know many moms who swear by this prenatal, and I do like how itincludes probiotics and a sprout blend.

Garden of Life Organic Prenatal

Garden of Life Organic Prenatal – Best Prenatal Vitamins Food-based Prenatals pregnancy post by Mama Natural

Garden of Life Organic Prenatal is also a non-GMO, food-based, Kosher prenatal vitamin, but it’s also vegan! Unlike New Chapter Perfect Prenatals, Garden of Life Organic Prenatals are rich in folate — 600mg to be exact. Although this formula is a vegan formula, it delivers 100 percent of mama’s iron and iodine needs as well as 50 percent of the daily recommendation of manganese. These are three things that most other vegan formulas do not offer. Here’s another good reason to consider this prenatal: it’s a once-per-day formula!

Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal

Garden of Life Vitamin Code RAW Prenatal Supplemental Facts

Vitamin Code is another popular food-based prenatal. It is non-GMO, contains no fillers, and is processed at low heat for optimal nutrient retention. It is strong in vitamin C, iodine, iron, and all of the vitamin Bs. It contains double the vitamin D3 of most prenatals, but it is lower in vitamin K, which can be problematic forgood calcium absorption. It’s also lower in zinc and copper, important trace minerals.

Some moms can’t take this formula because they are allergic to one of the many food ingredients, like seeds and grains. Another drawback is that you have to take this prenatal vitamin three times per day—a definite inconvenience for some. Find them here.

PrenatalVitaminsfor Moms Who Have the MTHFRMutation

The MTHFR defect, which some say affects up to 50-60 percent of the population, makes it difficult for your body to convert folic acid (and even folate) into a usable form (called methylation). Because folate deficiencies are associated withsome birth defects such asspina bifida and neural tube defects, it’s vital toknow if you have the MTHFR mutationand, if so, to take the right form of prenatal when you are pregnant.

Luckily there are prenatal blends designed especially for women who have the MHTFR mutation.

MTHFR Prenatal:Seeking Health

MTHFR Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal

(Video) Prenatal Vitamins and Supplements | Oakdale ObGyn

This prenatal was created by one of the world’s MTHFR experts, Dr. Ben Lynch. It contains methylfolate and folinic acid, which are especially great for women who can’t process folic acid or even folate.It also contains methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, absorbable forms of B12 for those with the MTHFR defects.This prenatal is also very high in all vitamins and minerals and even includes some helpful foods and herbs.

The biggest problem with this prenatal is that it doesn’t contain any iron—add Megafood Blood Builder or Liver Pills for iron. And because it’s not food based, it may be harder for the body to absorb all of its nutrients. Find them here.

MTHFR Prenatal: Thorne Research

Thorne Research prenatal supplement facts

As shown above, this prenatal blend includes methylatedfolate instead of folic acid. It also contains a lot of iron, which can be irritating for some moms and contains significantly less vitamin B6 than the label states. Andaccording to Lab Door’s research, it contains 99 percent less vitamin B6 as is stated on the label, so an additional B supplement may be needed.Find it here.

MTHFR Prenatals: Zahler Prenatal + DHA

Zahler Prenatal + DHA prenatal supplement facts

These prenatals contain methylated folate, which is more easily assimilated into the body. And the added DHA helps baby’s eyes and brain develop. Another plus for some: This blend doesn’t contain herbs. Find them here.

MTHFR Prenatals:Dr. Ron’s

Dr Rons MTHFR Prenatals

Though not a prenatal, this multivitamin contains methylated forms of B vitamins and is super high in important minerals like calcium, magnesium, selenium, and iodine. It also contains antioxidants from grape seed extract.

However, this supplement is not food-based and doesn’t include all of the natural co-enzymes, co-factors, and bioflavonoids found in food-based vitamins and minerals. It also may be harder to absorb and cause some stomach upset. Be sure to take this prenatal vitamin with food. It’s also lacking vitamin A and iron, two important nutrients when pregnant. Find them here.

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(Video) WHAT PRENATAL VITAMIN IS BEST?

Create Your Own Prenatal Vitamins

You can also create your own prenatal vitamins based on your particularbiological needs.

Some moms do blood and/or hair tissue mineral analysis to see specifically which nutrients they may need more ofand which minerals they don’t need to supplement with. Obviously, not everyone can afford or accessthis kind of personalized testing, but hopefully this will be the medical norm one day.

If you do create your own, make sure it includes folate, magnesium, iodine, zinc, iron, plus vitamins A, D, C, K, and B. It’s also a good idea to include a good probiotic for gut health. By boosting your good bacteria levels, you may ward off things like Group B Strep and thrush when breastfeeding. You may also helpcolonize your baby with the best bacteria possible, which can affect her health for the rest of her life.

What About Synthetic Prenatal Vitamins?

These are the ones you can get at most drug stores. They are a complete cross-spectrum of nutrients,but they are created in a laboratory with vitamin isolates separated from the natural co-factorslike phytonutrients that help your body absorb or utilize the vitamin.

These synthetic vitamins are shown to be nutritionally inferior to natural vitaminsand can cause digestive issues.

  • Synthetic vitamin Ecan be especially problematic. Research has linked synthetic vitamin E to DNA damage to the liver,prostate cancer in men, and congenital heart defects in babies born to women taking large doses of vitamin E.
  • And while beta-carotene is an important precursor to vitamin A, it’s synthetic form can cause problems. Researchers found that high amounts of synthetic beta-carotene may actually block some of the mechanisms of vitamin A in the body.

Whole, natural foods contain avarietyof vitamins,minerals,and phytonutrients that work together to be absorbed and utilized. When vitamins are isolated like they are in synthetic vitamin blends, your body mayutilize some of thevitaminsbut deplete others.

Why Do I Need Prenatal Vitamins?

Growing a baby is tough work. Baby will take what he needs, whether or not you have much to give. To avoid losing your own stores of nutrients, you have to get enough vitamins and minerals for both of you. Here are the most common vitamins and minerals in prenatal vitamins and an overview of what they do in the body:

(Video) Best Prenatal Vitamins For Pregnancy 2021 | EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT

  • Vitamin A:Supports eye and brain development, respiratory development
  • Thiamin (Vitamin B1):Supports the nervous system, supports baby’s brain development
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2):Supports healthy eyes and skin
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3):Supports the digestive, integumentary, and nervous systems
  • Pantothenic (Vitamin B5):Helps to create hormones and may ease leg cramps
  • Vitamin B6:Helps form red blood cells and may help with morning sickness
  • Biotin (Vitamin B7):Works with otherB vitamins to help release energy from food
  • Folate/ Folic Acid (Vitamin B9):Prevents neural tube defects and Spina Bifida in baby
  • Vitamin B12:Promotes blood formation and helps prevent birth defects that affect the spine and central nervous system
  • Vitamin C:Helps your body absorb iron and protects against the effects of stress
  • Vitamin D:Helps strengthen bones and teeth, plus helps your body utilize calcium and phosphorus
  • Vitamin E:Promotes overall wellness and metabolism, plus may help reduce miscarriages
  • Vitamin K:Supports healthy bone formation, blood clotting, and healing
  • Calcium:Supports bone development
  • Copper:Plays a role in iron metabolism and supports blood health
  • Iron:Helps the blood carry oxygen
  • Iodine:Supports healthy thyroid function, metabolism, fetal growth, and hearing
  • Magnesium:Supports healthy blood pressure and healthy birth weight
  • Zinc:Supports immune, nerve, and muscle function

Is Cod Liver Oil Safe?

There are some concerns around vitamin A during pregnancy.While some birth defects have been associated with vitamin A, those studies assessed the effects of large amounts of the synthetic form of vitamin A versus what isnaturally found in cod liver oil and beef liver.

Women have been eating liver and cod liver oil (and giving it to their kids) for thousands of years, many times under their doctor’s orders.What’s more?Studiessuggestcod liver oilcould be great for a variety of ailments, from arthritis to cognitive performance. It only makes sense that those potential benefits would continue during pregnancy. Of course, you should check with your midwife or OB-GYN to see what’s best for you during your pregnancy.

Good for Mama, Good for Baby

No matter which road you take with your prenatal, the important thing is to flood your body with a cross-spectrum of nutrients through supplements and diet. This is especially true if it is your second, third, or fourth pregnancy, when nutritional reserves may be lower than the first time around.

If you plan on breastfeeding, many midwives will recommend continuing on your prenatal for the entire duration of breastfeeding. In fact, since 50 percent of pregnancies are unplanned, all women of childbearing age might consider taking a prenatal vitamin.

Take the extra time and expense to feed yourself well during these critical child-bearing years. It will pay off with greater health and vitality for you and your family!

How About You?

Which prenatal did you take while pregnant? Did you feel good on? Share with us!

References

  • https://www.rxlist.com/folic_acid/supplements.htm
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369848613001349
  • https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/nutri-con-truth-about-vitamins-supplements
  • https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/dietary-supplements-what-the-industry-does-not-want-you-to-know/
  • http://mthfrliving.com/health-conditions/preparing-pregnancy-mthfr-mutations/
  • https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/prenatal-vitamins
  • https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-902-copper.aspx?activeingredientid=902&activeingredientname=copper
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24696187
  • https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/71/5/1325S/4729494
  • https://labdoor.com/rankings/prenatal-vitamins

What Are the Best Prenatal Vitamins for You? (1)

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FAQs

What prenatals do Obgyn recommend? ›

The ACOG recommends prenatal vitamins that contain at least 600 mcg of folic acid, 200 mg of DHA, 27 mg of iron, 1,000 mg of calcium, and 600 IU of vitamin D.

Does brand of prenatal vitamins matter? ›

There's not much difference between over the counter and prescription prenatals, and both are adequate,” assures Dr. Nwankwo. “Sometimes prescription prenatals may have special formulations—for example, they may have a stool softener added to help with constipation, or they may have additional iron.

What will happen if you don't take prenatal vitamins while pregnant? ›

If you're not taking prenatal vitamins, neural tube defects can appear: Anencephaly: This occurs when the baby's skull and brain doesn't form correctly. Babies that are born with anencephaly don't survive. Spina bifida: This occurs when the spine does not form correctly and the baby may have physical disabilities.

Is it better to take prenatal vitamins or just folic acid? ›

Prenatal vitamins are supplements that contain daily vitamins and minerals you need before and during your pregnancy. Folic acid is the most important vitamin to take when planning a pregnancy. Folic acid is a B vitamin that cells in your body need for growing and developing.

Are prenatal gummies or pills better? ›

Prenatal gummy vitamins are a great option for women who are struggling to take regular prenatal pills. While gummies are a great invention, they are not created equal to the pills. The gummies don't have iron in them and they have a lower level of some of the recommended vitamins then the regular pills.

When should you start prenatal vitamins? ›

When you decide to try to conceive, it's a good idea to begin taking a daily prenatal vitamin right away. Ideally you should start prenatal vitamins at least one month before pregnancy—and CERTAINLY during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy when baby's development is at its most critical point.

Do you have to take prenatal vitamins the whole 9 months? ›

Now that you're pregnant, do you have to take prenatal vitamins the whole nine months? Because your baby continues to grow and develop throughout the entire nine months in utero, it's important to continue to take a prenatal multivitamin during your entire pregnancy.

What happens if you don't take folic acid during pregnancy? ›

What can happen if I do not get enough folic acid during pregnancy? If you do not get enough folic acid before and during pregnancy, your baby is at higher risk for neural tube defects. Neural tube defects are serious birth defects that affect the spine, spinal cord, or brain and may cause death.

Are gummy prenatals effective? ›

Gummy prenatal vitamins can provide many, but not all, of the extra vitamins and minerals needed during pregnancy. While most gummy prenatal vitamins contain the recommended amounts of folic acid and iodine required for pregnancy, there is none that have added iron.

Can I have a healthy baby without prenatal vitamins? ›

Prenatal vitamins are a staple of modern pregnancy. But a report out Monday in the journal Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin suggests they don't make much difference in preventing complications such as premature birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth.

Is it too late to take prenatals at 5 weeks? ›

Can it ever be too late to start prenatal vitamins? King adds that it's never too late to start taking prenatal vitamins, either. “While it's certainly best to start taking them as soon as possible, the baby is developing and growing during the entire pregnancy,” she says.

When should I stop taking prenatal vitamins? ›

There's no standard recommendation for when you should toss the prenatals, though the general suggestion is to continue taking them as long as you're breastfeeding. That's based on studies that have found that continued supplementation has direct benefits for your baby.

Is folic acid or folate better for pregnancy? ›

Folate and its cousin folic acid are vital for developing a healthy baby because it prevents neural tube defects. Since the neural tube develops within the first 28 days of pregnancy, it is recommended all women of childbearing years consume folate.

How early should I start taking prenatals? ›

When you decide to try to conceive, it's a good idea to begin taking a daily prenatal vitamin right away. Ideally you should start prenatal vitamins at least one month before pregnancy—and CERTAINLY during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy when baby's development is at its most critical point.

Do you have to take prenatal vitamins the whole 9 months? ›

Now that you're pregnant, do you have to take prenatal vitamins the whole nine months? Because your baby continues to grow and develop throughout the entire nine months in utero, it's important to continue to take a prenatal multivitamin during your entire pregnancy.

What is in prescription prenatal vitamins? ›

Prescription Prenatal Vitamins

There are multivitamins that can be an excellent prenatal vitamin because they contain adequate amounts of iodine, folate, vitamin D, vitamin B, calcium, and other vital nutrients needed in higher levels during pregnancy.

Is folic acid linked to autism? ›

No association has been found between early folate or multivitamin intake for autism spectrum disorder [34].

Which fruit has the most folic acid? ›

Many fruits contain folic acid, but citrus fruits rank highest — oranges are especially high in the vitamin. Other folate-rich fruits include grapefruit, papayas, grapes, bananas, strawberries, raspberries and cantaloupe.

What should I avoid while taking folic acid? ›

Folic acid can also affect the way other medicines work. Do not take your folic acid within 2 hours before or after taking indigestion remedies (antacids containing aluminium or magnesium), as they may stop the folic acid being properly absorbed.

Is it too late to take prenatals at 5 weeks? ›

Can it ever be too late to start prenatal vitamins? King adds that it's never too late to start taking prenatal vitamins, either. “While it's certainly best to start taking them as soon as possible, the baby is developing and growing during the entire pregnancy,” she says.

How can I boost my fertility? ›

How to Increase Fertility Naturally: 9 Ways to Improve Fertility
  1. Stick to a fertility diet. ...
  2. Maintain a healthy weight. ...
  3. Eliminate alcohol and tobacco. ...
  4. Take prenatal vitamins. ...
  5. Stay hydrated. ...
  6. Manage stress. ...
  7. Monitor your ovulation. ...
  8. Get busy in the bedroom.
24 Apr 2020

What happens if you don't take folic acid during pregnancy? ›

What can happen if I do not get enough folic acid during pregnancy? If you do not get enough folic acid before and during pregnancy, your baby is at higher risk for neural tube defects. Neural tube defects are serious birth defects that affect the spine, spinal cord, or brain and may cause death.

Can I have a healthy baby without prenatal vitamins? ›

Prenatal vitamins are a staple of modern pregnancy. But a report out Monday in the journal Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin suggests they don't make much difference in preventing complications such as premature birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth.

What trimester are prenatals most important? ›

A healthy first trimester is crucial to the normal development of the fetus. You may not be showing much on the outside yet, but on the inside, all of the major body organs and systems of the fetus are forming.

Can you eat tuna while pregnant? ›

You can consume skipjack and canned light tuna alongside other low-mercury species, such as cod, crab, salmon and scallops, as part of the recommended 2–3 servings of fish per week ( 10 ). Try to avoid eating albacore or yellowfin tuna more than once per week. Refrain from bigeye tuna as much as possible ( 10 ).

Are store bought prenatal vitamins as good as prescription? ›

“Generally, most provide the amounts of nutrients that are recommended during pregnancy,” Saldanha said by email. “Overall, however, prescription prenatals are less potent than nonprescription prenatals, except for folic acid.”

Is there a difference between over-the-counter and prescription prenatal vitamins? ›

OTC products have significantly more of each vitamin compared with Rx, with several exceptions including: iron, folic acid, copper, and vitamin B6. Conclusion: Most pregnant women take PMVMs.

Are prescription prenatals better than over-the-counter? ›

Where they may be a difference is in how often you need to take the prenatal vitamin each day. A prescription prenatal with higher doses per pill could allow you to take it fewer times per day, but higher doses can also be more likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects.

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