Why Are Prenatal Vitamins Important
Odds are, there is nothing wrong with your usual daily adult vitamin. However, pregnant women need to provide for their own body as well as their babys nourishment. Prenatal vitamins are designed to have higher levels of the ingredients discussed in this article, especially iron and folic acid. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids like DHA are often left out of regular adult vitamins.
Prenatal vitamins also benefit expectant mothers. Although a well-balanced diet is encouraged, pregnancy cravings are not always satisfied by healthy foods. Prenatal vitamins provide the nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy, even on those days when you make not-so-healthy food choices.
Keep in mind, however, that prenatal vitamins are not a substitute for good nutrition. Healthy prenatal food choices are important for maintaining your own health during pregnancy. Not to mention, it keeps those cute maternity shirts from fitting too tight.
Best Prenatal Vitamins Without Iron
Preparing a pregnancy plan enables in making sure that your child may be born with its fine fitness.
Body to supply oxygen to all cells. Without sufficient iron, the body cant make enough pink blood.
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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!
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Best Gummy Prenatal Vitamin: Smarty Pants Prenatal Formula
Vitafol is a go-to prescription for Dr. Sandy Dorcelus, DO, a gynecologist at NYU Langone Hospital. Specifically, Dr. Dorcelus likes that Vitafol’s pills are small and easy to swallow. Plus, they are enteric-coated, which basically means they’re easy on the stomachshe says about one-third of her pregnant patients complain about nausea due to prenatal vitamins.
That said, if youre anemic, on anti-seizure medications, or have had a previous birth with neural tube defects, Dr. Dorcelus recommends taking an additional iron supplement with this vitamin.
Mthfr Prenatal: Seeking Health
This prenatal was created by one of the worlds MTHFR experts, Dr. Ben Lynch. It contains methylfolate and folinic acid, which are especially great for women who cant 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 doesnt contain any ironadd Megafood Blood Builder or Liver Pills for iron. And because its not food based, it may be harder for the body to absorb all of its nutrients. Find them here.
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Best Budget Prenatal Vitamins
Nature Made Prenatal Multi +DHA vitamins offer all the vitamins and minerals one needs while pregnant in just one pill per day while keeping costs low.
Pros: All the essential and specialized nutrients you need for child-bearing years, all-in-one multivitamin, inexpensive
Cons: Not vegetarian, some users report a fishy odor
Nature Made Prenatal Multi +DHA vitamins meet the standards recommended by the ACOG for prenatal vitamins and minerals. The pills are free of artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, yeast, or gluten, and are USP-verified for quality and safety.
You can score all your vitamins in just one softgel, which is about the size of a penny so while it’s not “small,” most people shouldn’t have trouble getting one down every day.
This vitamin has 1.5 mg of vitamin B1, which is important in brain development. Though Nature Made does offer the prenatal without added DHA, we recommend the option with, as this is a particular omega-3 fatty acid that’s helpful in pregnancy.
Some users do report a fishy taste or odor with these pills, but after one of our reviewers took them every day for three months, she didn’t experience any “fish burps.” The pills are large, but also gel-coated for easier swallowing.
To top it off, at $27 for 60 softgels, this prenatal is the most budget-friendly on our list.
How Long Do You Take Prenatal Vitamins
You should take your prenatal vitamin every day during pregnancy, recommends the ACOG. After that? Your body is still hard at work recovering from birth, and if youre breastfeeding, making food for your baby.
“I recommend taking a prenatal for at least 3 months postpartum. And if you’re breastfeeding you should take them for as long as you’re feeding the baby exclusively with breast milk,” Largeman-Roth says.
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First Things First: What Is A Prenatal Vitamin
By definition, a prenatal vitamin is a dietary supplement specially formulated for pregnant women. When taken as directed during pregnancy, these dietary supplements containing vitamins and minerals are designed optimize nutrition for a healthy pregnancy, in combination with a healthful diet, Garden-Robinson explains.
In fact, any woman who could become pregnant is advised to take the B vitamin folic acid. Folic acid is essential to help prevent neural tube birth defects, including spina bifida, she adds. This birth defect can occur before a woman is aware she is pregnant.
To reiterate, prenatal vitamins do not replace an overall healthy diet. A balanced diet with a variety of foods also is needed throughout pregnancy to support the needs of the mother and the developing baby.
What To Look For When Buying Prenatal Vitamins
Here are the various factors that you should consider before choosing the right prenatal vitamins.
Best Gummy Prenatal Vitamins: Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins
People who struggle with swallowing pills may prefer gummies, especially if morning sickness is an issue.
However, gummy prenatal vitamins often lack iron and calcium. People who need either of these minerals may want to consider other options.
Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins provide 100% of the Daily Value of folic acid. They also provide 50 mg of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which supports the development of the brain and eyes.
- high-fructose corn syrup
- artificial sweeteners
These gummies are formulated for use before, during, and after pregnancy. They are available in two flavors lemonade and raspberry.
Online reviews are generally positive, though some reviewers state concerns about excessive vitamin A. Though vitamin A is during pregnancy, taking too much can be harmful and may cause congenital disabilities. In the U.S., vitamin A deficiencies are rare, so excessive supplementation is not advisable.
The price starts at $12.49 for 90 gummies.
People can purchase these gummies in a variety of flavors, including:
Online reviews are positive overall, though there are queries about bad batches and a lack of calcium and other nutrients.
The price starts at $30 for 120 gummies.
Best Organic Prenatal Vitamins
New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin has all the nutrients you need in a prenatal, sourced from organic, whole foods.
Pros: High-quality, specialized nutrition formulated from whole food sources
Cons: Serving is three pills per day synthetic folate brand promotes unverified claims surrounding topics like breastfeeding which may or may not be true.
Like all the best prenatal vitamins, New Chapter’s Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin contains folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin A, B-complex, C, D, zinc, and omega-3-fish oil. But uniquely, it sources ingredients from organic, whole foods, which can be important to people who prioritize an organic, whole-foods diet.
The prenatal is also fermented a component that, in theory, makes the nutrients more bioavailable and absorbable, Miranda Hammer, R.D., a dietician who lists her practice on Robyn, a database for prenatal practitioner, told Insider.
New Chapter is also one of Dr. Ross’s favorite brands. One of our reviewers, who was particularly prone to nausea during pregnancy, took these vitamins every day for a month, and she felt that taking the Perfect Prenatal Multivitamins in three small doses throughout the day helped stave off the discomfort.
Of course, the fact that you have to remember to take this prenatal three times a day could be a drawback for some and you need all three doses to hit those nutrient levels.
This vitamin is also NSF-certified and third-party tested.
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What Are The Different Kinds Of Prenatals
Walking into the pharmacy or searching for prenatals on Amazon makes it feel like there are approximately 10 billion different kinds of prenatals. But they can broadly be divided into these categories:
- Capsules or tablets: “If a woman wants to get all the necessary vitamins and minerals in one prenatal vitamin, a pill that you swallow whole is the best choice,” says Purdie.
- Liquids, powders and chewables: “For women experiencing nausea, a chewable or liquid vitamin may be a better option, but these may be missing some of the above essential nutrients,” says Dr. Purdie. It is important to read the labels to see if you would need to take an additional supplement.
- Prescription: Some women who experience side effects with their prenatals may want a prescription. “Both prescription and over-the-counter vitamins will have all the necessary nutrients, however, the formulation may be different the prescription vitamin may have iron that causes less constipation, or it may include a stool softener to help with constipation or vitamin B6 to help with nausea, says Dr. Purdie. But assuming you can tolerate the OTC versions, there’s no reason to go running to the doctor. “In general it’s easier, more convenient and maybe even less expensive to stick with an over-the-counter vitamin,” Dr. Rankins adds.
Eyntk About Pregnancy And Postnatal Vitamins
In a nutshell: an expert pharmacist from Boots, Bina Mehta, and pro registered nutritionist, Kirsten Oddy, explain the best vitamins to take whilst pregnant, including:
When it comes to health, even if youre eating the rainbow and regularly scoring a 10 when it comes to getting your 5 a day, there are still times that your body might need a helping hand in getting the full and proper nutrients in especially if youre pregnant.
During such an exciting life stage, and at a time where theres so much change going on in your body , its hardly surprising that you might need a little extra helping hand. But what are the best prenatal vitamins to take when youre pregnant? And whats the deal with folic acid ?
To answer all these questions and more, we asked Boots expert pharmacist Bina Mehta
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What Are Prenatal Vitamins And When Should I Start Taking Them
Prenatal vitamins are specially formulated supplements designed for pregnancy, and most contain a similar balance of key nutrients to support the health of mom and baby. “These all help with either development in the baby, or they help mom maintain her levels of certain vitamins and minerals,” says Nicole Rankins, M.D., an OB/GYN and site director of the OB Hospitalist Group in Norfolk, Virginia.
Dr. Rankins suggests ideally starting prenatal vitamins three months before you hope to conceive. That’s because women who take supplemental folic acid a key component of good prenatal vitamins before they get pregnant can reduce the risk of neural tube defects .
However, given that many pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned or mistimed making preemptive vitamin-taking challenging! give yourself some grace if you didnt start taking prenatals early. “Don’t beat yourself up, just take them as soon as possible,” says Dr. Rankins. Make sure to also ask your healthcare provider about continuing to take a prenatal after you give birth and finish breastfeeding .
Create Your Own Prenatal Vitamins
You can also create your own prenatal vitamins based on your particular biological needs.
Some moms do blood and/or hair tissue mineral analysis to see specifically which nutrients they may need more of and which minerals they dont need to supplement with. Obviously, not everyone can afford or access this 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. Its 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 help colonize your baby with the best bacteria possible, which can affect her health for the rest of her life.
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Best Overall: Innate Response Baby & Me Multivitamin
Tested for 125+ herbicides and pesticides
Designed to be taken whenever and without food
Vitamins derived from whole food sources
No DHA included
What do buyers say? 87% of 300+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars.
A whole foods-based supplement that’s free from endocrine-disrupting herbicides and pesticides? Sign us up! The Baby & Me supplement is a complete prenatal that can be used after birth as wellit’s designed to support a healthy pregnancy and developing child with methylated B vitamins, iron, and more.
Reviewers loved that they could actually see and feel the effects of taking these vitamins, whether that be their mood improving or the hair and nails growing. Many also noted that the brand was recommended by their doctor or nutritionist, so you know that it has an expert seal of approval.
However, this supplement doesn’t include DHA, so additional supplementation might be necessary.
Type: tablet | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 2 tablets/day | Certified: Glyphosate residue free, non-GMO, kosher, B-corporation
Important Nutrients In A Prenatal Vitamin
When shopping for a prenatal, there are a few things that you should look for.
A well-rounded prenatal should include a variety of nutrients that are in high demand during pregnancy, such as:
- B vitamins: Your body needs eight different B vitamins. During pregnancy, your needs for these nutrients increase. Most prenatal supplements include all eight B vitamins, but some include only a few. At a minimum, a prenatal should include B12, folate, and B6 (
These are just some of the nutrients that are in higher demand during pregnancy. A well-rounded prenatal will provide the additional nutrients your body needs during pregnancy, but it should be used as a supplement to, rather than a replacement for, a balanced diet.
In addition to taking a prenatal supplement, following a nutrient-rich diet that provides the appropriate amount of calories and micronutrients that are in high demand during pregnancy can support your health and decrease the risk of certain pregnancy-related complications.
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Best Prenatal Vitamin For Folic Acid: Thorne Basic Prenatal
Ob-gyn Dr. Felice Gersh, MD likes this one because it contains even more folate than most vitamins out there, which makes it ideal for women who dont get enough leafy green vegetables in their diet. “This is also high in vitamin D and provides a healthy blend of calcium citrate and malate, though it does take three capsules daily to get these amounts, says Dr. Gersh.
- Contains more folate than other options
- Great option for women who don’t get enough leafy greens
Are There Any Side Effects To Prenatals
Generally, prenatal vitamins are considered safe when taken as directed. However, certain specific vitamins or nutrients can cause mild side effects, primarily related to digestion. Heres an overview:
- Constipation: “The pregnancy hormone progesterone can cause constipation, and then if you add an iron supplement, it can be tough,” says Dr. Rankins. Drink plenty of water and make sure you’re getting enough fiber in your diet. You can also ask your doctor about a stool softener to help keep things moving.
- Nausea and vomiting: Iron can also make people feel queasy. Dr. Rankins suggests taking prenatals with “easily digestible” foods such as crackers or applesauce. You may also need to take your vitamin at bedtime, switch brands or even experiment with different formulas.
- Bright yellow urine: Large doses of B vitamins like riboflavin may give your pee a more colorful hue thats typically harmless, but always check with your doctor if you’re concerned.
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