Frequently Asked Questionsexpand All
Folic acid, also known as folate, is a B vitamin that is important for pregnant women. Folic acid may help prevent major birth defects of the fetuss brain and spine called neural tube defects .
When you are pregnant you need 600 micrograms of folic acid each day. Because its hard to get this much folic acid from food alone, you should take a daily prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms starting at least 1 month before pregnancy and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Women who have had a child with an NTD should take 4 milligrams of folic acid each day as a separate supplement at least 3 months before pregnancy and for the first 3 months of pregnancy. You and your ob-gyn or other obstetric care provider can discuss whether you need to supplement with more than 400 micrograms daily.
Iron is used by your body to make the extra blood that you and your fetus need during pregnancy. Women who are not pregnant need 18 mg of iron per day. Pregnant women need more, 27 mg per day. This increased amount is found in most prenatal vitamins.
Calcium is a mineral that builds your fetuss bones and teeth. Women who are age 18 or younger need 1,300 mg of calcium per day. Women who are 19 or older need 1,000 mg per day.
Give you energy
Supply energy for your fetuss development
Promote good vision
A Pregnancy Game Changer
Originally, I heard about Ritual vitamins in a moms group where they all swore by them. But to be honest with you, what attracted me the most to them was how the pill capsule was designed.
The capsules for Ritual vitamins are made with a double layer thats designed in such a way that it wont fully dissolve until its in your small intestine.
This is meant to reduce nausea and help your body absorb the most nutrients two super important considerations when youre growing a little one.
My third pregnancy was more of a surprise pregnancy, so I didnt start taking Ritual prenatal vitamins until after I discovered I was pregnant .
Once I started taking them each morning, however, I began to feel better within a few days. I had more energy, less pain, and the ability to sleep easier in the evenings.
My nausea lessened, and my energy increased which was exactly what I needed, since I had two preschoolers that I had to keep up with.
The purpose of a prenatal vitamin is to help fuel our bodies with all of the essential nutrients that we need in order to function while growing another human body.
But they also help prevent you from feeling depleted and run down by keeping up your nutrient stores. Otherwise, all the good stuff goes toward building a healthy baby, leaving you with whatevers left.
Which Prenatal Vitamin Is Best
Your doctor or midwife may suggest a specific prenatal vitamin or leave the choice up to you either way, you can find them over-the-counter at most drugstores. Look for a prenatal vitamin that includes:
- Folic acid about 400 micrograms . It helps prevent neural tube birth defects, which can affect babys brain and spinal cord.
- Calcium 200 to 300 milligrams . Prevents you from losing bone density as your baby uses your calcium for his or her bone growth.
- Iron about 17 milligrams . It helps the blood carry oxygen for both of you.
- Iodine about 150 microgram . It aids healthy thyroid functioning during pregnancy.
- Vitamin D about 400 IU. Supports bone strength – for you and baby and helps the body absorb calcium.
Its important to talk to your doctor or midwife about your unique needs. He or she may suggest taking higher doses of specific nutrients depending on your circumstances. For instance, if you dont eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, they may suggest taking a supplement.
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Ranking The Best Prenatal Vitamins Of 2021
If youre pregnant and worried about your babys health, taking a prenatal vitamin might be something you want to think about to ensure youre getting all the vitamins and minerals your baby needs to develop properly.
Here are the best prenatal vitamins on the market, ranked. Afterwards, well look in more detail about how a prenatal vitamin can help you.
Ritual designed Essential Prenatal to be the only prenatal you need.
Rituals developed a cult-like following for its simplicity, traceability and ingredients that work best in the body. It has completely traceable and transparent ingredients you can see all of the suppliers and their sources on their website so you know exactly what youre putting in your body.
The average prenatal contains 20+ ingredients, and most of those are things women already get enough of in their diets.
Plus, not all ingredient forms are created equal: most multis use forms that dont work well in the body. Rituals team of in-house scientists identified the essential nutrients women actually need and put them in a single non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, patent-pending capsule without any synthetic fillers or colorants.
Then they created a capsule that actually absorbs the vitamins better:
Vitamins of the future.
Theyve received praise from Wired and The New York Times for their no-nonsense approach and transparency in the shady vitamin industry.
One of the better daily habits any women can have.
Should All Pregnant Women Take Prenatal Vitamins
Proper nutrition is important for your babys health, and your baby depends on you for all of his or her nutritional needs, which includes important vitamins, supplements, and minerals that are necessary for embryonic and fetal development. Ideally, if you eat a healthy diet it should provide all of your growing babys nutritional needs however, doctors recommend taking prenatal vitamins if you are planning to conceive or are already pregnant, for your babys health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends multivitamin supplements for pregnant women who do not consume an adequate diet. However, your doctor or midwife may still recommend taking them unless your doctor refers you to a nutritionist for a nutritional assessment.
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What Happens If You Dont Take Prenatal Vitamins
Taking prenatal vitamins before pregnancy can help prevent miscarriages, defects, and preterm labor. If youre not taking prenatal vitamins, neural tube defects can appear:
- Anencephaly: This occurs when the babys skull and brain doesnt form correctly. Babies that are born with anencephaly dont survive.
- Spina bifida: This occurs when the spine does not form correctly and the baby may have physical disabilities.
Now that we have addressed one of the most asked questions, What happens if you dont take prenatal vitamins?, we can move on to the next section: When to take prenatal vitamins.
Benefits Of Prenatal Vitamins
Even the healthiest among us rarely get all the nutrients we need from diet alone. This gets even more difficult during pregnancy when you need to consume many vitamins and minerals in larger doses to support your growing baby. Adding prenatal vitamins is an easy way to get these extra nutrients without having to radically alter your diet.
The most important reason for taking prenatal vitamins is that they can help to prevent birth defects that might result from too little of a certain nutrient during pregnancy. Other studies have suggested that prenatal vitamins can help in preventing preterm births and reduce morning sickness.
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What Are The Best Prenatal Vitamins
You can get prenatal vitamins over the counter in the pharmacy, but you can also ask your healthcare provider to recommend the best brand for you. Prenatal vitamins typically contain
Folic acid. This helps prevent neural tube defects, which are serious abnormalities of the spinal cord and the brain. Know more about why folic acid is essential in pregnancy diet plan.
Iron. This helps support the development and growth of your baby, and it can also help prevent anemia, which is a low number of healthy red blood cells.
Calcium. Calcium helps your baby build strong teeth and bones. Have a look at how much calcium is essential during pregnancy for a healthy diet.
Vitamin D. This vitamin works together with calcium to help your baby develop her bones and teeth, but it’s also important for you, too, as vitamin D deficiency is common among pregnant women.
You may benefit from a prenatal vitamin that also contains
You may wish to choose a prenatal vitamin with DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids that can help promote your babyâs brain development, especially if you donât eat fish or other foods rich in this substance.
Discuss taking prenatal vitamins with your healthcare provider, and always check with your doctor before taking any new kind of supplement.
Whats In Your Prenatal Vitamin
Doctors recommend them before, during and even after a pregnancy. But regulation is spotty and finding the right pill can be hard.
- Read in app
When I told my doctor that I was thinking of getting pregnant a few years ago, she advised me to start taking a prenatal vitamin right away. So I stopped by the grocery store on my way home and made for the supplement aisle. As I studied the array of options before me, I quickly grew overwhelmed.
I noticed that different brands contained slightly different concoctions of ingredients, with wildly different amounts in each. Each multivitamin extolled its benefits, but also bore the familiar disclaimer that its claims had not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, which I found unsettling. Who, I wondered, was looking out for pregnant people?
The answer turns out to be complicated. Like other dietary supplements in the United States, over-the-counter prenatal vitamins are not regulated like drugs and do not require F.D.A. approval before hitting shelves. As a result, their content and quality can vary, and whats on the label doesnt always match whats in the bottle. Some prenatal vitamins, I later learned, even contain levels of contaminants that many experts find troubling.
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Organic & Vegan Vitamins
Vitamins are commonly derived from animal sources. As such, if youre in the market for a vegan prenatal vitamin, youll want to ensure the nutrients contained within are all plant-based. There are also vitamins that are certified to be made from organic sources.
Many organic/vegan prenatal vitamins will be made available in tablet-form rather than capsules, as capsules are usually made from gelatin, which is derived from animal ingredients.
Keep in mind there are pros and cons to each type of vitamin. Some disadvantages associated with vitamins in tablet form include:
- Limited protection for sensitive ingredients
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Potentially poor breakdown and absorption in the GI tract
- Potential sensitivities to tablet coating
Due to these disadvantages associated with tablets, it may be more suitable to find an organic/vegan prenatal vitamin that utilizes veggie capsules.
With some vitamins, you will have the choice of animal or plant-based sources, such as with vitamin D. If you are vegan, vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, is the plant-based version you would choose. However, the animal counterpart, vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol, has been said to be better absorbed and declines in action slower than D2 . Therefore, it is important to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages when choosing a vegan supplement.
Deva Vegan Prenatal Multivitamin
If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, it can be especially hard to make sure you are getting the right amount of the essentials for having a healthy baby.
Deva Vegan also includes a number of herbal extracts. Among these are cinnamon, apple pectin, alfalfa leaf, chamomile, rose hips, and acerola extract.
Usually you can assume herbal extracts at least do no harm, but in the case of prenatal vitamins, you should be extra vigilantmany herbal extracts are poorly understood and not well-studied, so their effects on your babys health are unknown.
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Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins
The company also say that these vitamins contain no high-fructose corn syrup, gluten, synthetic dyes, or artificial sweeteners and that they provide 100% of the Daily Value of folic acid and 50 mg of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that can support the development of the brain and eyes.
These vitamins are formulated for intake before, during, and after pregnancy. Online reviews are generally positive, with concerns about a lack of folic acid and too much vitamin A.
Though this vitamin 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.
What Nutrients Are Included In A Prenatal Vitamin
The nutrients provided by a prenatal vitamin vary. When developing our ranking, the Forbes Health editorial team evaluated prenatal vitamins on their inclusion of:
- Vitamin A
When comparing ingredient lists, talk to your doctor or midwife about which prenatal vitamin is a good fit for you. Generally speaking, folic acid is a key nutrient. Many prenatal vitamins contain around 800 micrograms of folic acid, and OB-GYNs typically recommend taking a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms.
DHAan omega-3 fatty acidis also often recommended, as it may help with fetal brain development. Many prenatal vitamins include DHA. You can add a separate DHA supplement to your routine, too.
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Natures Plus Source Of Life Multivitamin
|Buy on LuckyVitamin|
Ingredients: Packed with vitamins A, C, D, E and B, folate, biotin and more, the Nature’s Plus Source of Life multivitamin is designed to support a womans health during pregnancy.
What we like: These vitamins are designed to support eye development and cell development in the womb and offer benefits for moms, including healthy teeth and gums and brain support. The Natures Plus Source of Life multivitamins are highly rated by LuckyVitamin customers.
What to consider: These vitamin tablets are on the larger size and do require two per serving. Some consumers noted that they can be hard to swallow. A few reviewers wrote that the warning label made them reconsider their purchase, so be sure to read the label before deciding.
Nature Made Prenatal Multivitamin
|Buy on LuckyVitamin|
Ingredients: The Nature Made Prenatal contains essential vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, calcium, iron and vitamin D. These vitamins provide 200 milligrams of DHA to support fetal brain and eye development, making them ideal for pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant.
What we like: Nature Made Prenatal multivitamins are free of preservatives, synthetic dyes and gluten, and the company states its Prenatal Multi + DHA multivitamin is clinically proven for absorption into the body.
What to consider: While these prenatal vitamins offer complete prenatal multivitamin support, they do have a strong smell that many LuckyVitamin reviewers found unpleasant or fishy.
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Why Do I Need Prenatal Vitamins
Pregnancy increases the requirement of all nutrients. Prenatal vitamins help to cover any nutritional gaps that are not met by the diet.
Pregnant women will hear advice throughout their pregnancy about diet, exercise and getting enough sleep. They will likely be recommended to take prenatal vitamins that will help the fetus developing in her womb.
Pregnancy increases the requirement of all nutrients. Prenatal vitamins help to cover any nutritional gaps that are not met by the diet. They contain many micronutrients of which folic acid, iron and calcium are especially important.
Folic acid helps in the development of the nervous system which includes the brain and spinal cord. Deficiency of this vitamin results in faulty development of the nervous system results in neural tube defects. These happen during the early stages of pregnancy even before many women know they are pregnant. Because about half of the pregnancies are unplanned, it is recommended that all women of child bearing age take 400 microgram or 0.4mg of folic acid daily. They can also eat foods that contain folic acid like green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits. However, a prenatal vitamin with 400mcg of folic acid is a good back up.
Calcium helps to prevent the mother from losing her own bone density as the baby uses the calcium from the mother for its own bone development and growth.
What Is A Prenatal Vitamin
A prenatal vitamin is a supplement designed to provide nutrients and minerals needed for a healthy pregnancy. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists notes taking a prenatal vitamin and eating nutritious foods should provide a person with all the vitamins and minerals they need during pregnancy.
A prenatal vitamin is important for pregnant people, as the growing fetus requires certain nutrients that can be hard to get through diet alone.
Fetal development is rapid and requires a lot of metabolismits dependent on the proper amount of amino acids and nutrients, says James Grifo, M.D., the program director at NYU Langone Fertility Center in New York City and chief executive physician at Inception Fertility.
ACOG recommends pregnant people consume certain amounts of calcium to help build strong bones and teeth, iron to help red blood cells deliver oxygen to the fetus, iodine and choline to aid in brain development, and folic acid to help prevent birth defects. Additionally, it recommends vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D, which provide benefits that range from promoting healthy skin and eyesight to the formation of red blood cells. While much of these nutrients can be obtained through a healthy diet, a prenatal vitamin provides the extra assurance your daily nutrition needs are met, no matter whats on the menu.
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