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What Vitamins Are In Prenatal Pills

When Do I Need To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins

Why should a woman take a prenatal vitamin rather than a multivitamin?

Start taking folic acid at least 1 month before you start trying to get pregnant. The first few weeks of pregnancy are a really important time for fetal health and development. Taking folic acid and other prenatal vitamins can help reduce the risk of some birth defects. Keep taking prenatal vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy.

How We Chose The Best Prenatal Vitamins

We started with the ingredients outlined above and found prenatal supplements that contain most of the nutrients you need. From there, we checked which of these options were also tested and recommended by members of our What to Expect community, OB/GYNs or editors.

Here are our top picks.

See registry advice and a custom baby gear checklist

Prenatal Vitamins Not Just For Women Who Are Already Pregnant

Prenatal vitamins are not exclusive to the nine months of pregnancy. It is prudent to begin taking prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant so that you and your baby receive maximum nutrition during the first few weeks of pregnancy when fetal development is at its most active, which is often before many women are even aware that they are pregnant. Your health care provider may also recommend that you continue taking prenatal vitamins for several months after the baby is born, especially if you are breastfeeding.

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Prenatal Vitamins: A Small Introduction To A Big Pill

Lets play a game of word association. I say, prenatal vitamins, and some of you may say let me guess, horse pills? Yes, prenatal vitamins may be large, but theyre packed with an abundance of nutrients that are essential for prenatal health. And its important to start taking them even before you get pregnant.

Prenatal vitamins were introduced in the 1970s, when some supplement companies began to add folic acid to their vitamins. The idea caught on, especially by the 1980s, when research looked at the correlation between folic acid and a developing fetus. While many women have given birth to healthy babies without prenatal vitamins, research shows that taking a prenatal vitamin daily greatly decreases the chance of having a baby with birth defects and/or developmental delays.

What are prenatal vitamins?

Prenatal vitamins are supercharged with daily vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids to aid in fulfilling the dietary requirements of a pregnant woman and her growing baby.

In comparison to a typical multivitamin, prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, iron and other key nutrients in higher amounts, all of which aid in a babys development and growth. Folic acid, a key ingredient, helps in the prevention of major birth defects of brain and spine development, known as neural tube defects.

Whats in a prenatal vitamin?

Here is a basic rundown of some important ingredients in prenatal vitamins:

When should you begin taking a prenatal vitamin?

Full Circle Prenatal Multivitamin

One A Day Prenatal Multivitamin Prenatal Gummy Vitamins, 120 Count ...

If you choose to continue taking a prenatal vitamin after you deliver, these Full Circle Prenatal capsules are a high-quality option. The company promises a pure, potent product thats gentle on the stomach and easy to absorb. The capsules contain choline, nonsynthetic folate, and glycine along with several key nutrients that enhance your overall well-being.

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How To Choose A Prenatal Vitamin

Choosing which prenatal vitamin to take can feel like an overwhelming task, but the most important thing to remember is simply that you should take one. Prenatals are an essential part of a healthy pregnancy and there are lots of options to discuss with your doctor are having trouble deciding which is best for you.

Below are the recommended guidelines for key vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists.

What Are The Side Effects Of Prenatal Vitamins

In general, women who take a prenatal vitamin as directed experience little to no side effects. Some women, however, do experience nausea or constipation from their prenatal vitamin.

Every woman is different, and every pregnancy is different, so you may have to try a few different brands before you find one that works well for you. If you are having difficulty tolerating your prenatal vitamin, you should talk to your doctor or visit a dietitian, who can recommend brands that might ease your side effects.

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Nature Made Prenatal Multi + Dha

Made with key vitamins and minerals to support you and your baby, these soft gels from Nature Made are a good choice. The once-daily formula offers nutritional support without the use of gluten or artificial fillers. However, many reviewers report a strong fishy taste, so keep that in mind if you have a sensitive palate. Additionally, this formula does not include choline.

What Are The Benefits Of Prenatal Vitamins

Are prenatal vitamins necessary?

Prenatal vitamins offer benefits for both mom and baby, including:

  • Reduce risk of birth defects. Perhaps the most important reason to take a prenatal vitamin is for the folic acid it contains. Studies show that getting enough folic acid and B12 before sperm meets egg and in the early stages of pregnancy can dramatically reduce the risk of neural tube defects along with congenital heart defects in your developing baby.
  • Cut back on nausea. Vitamin B6 helps to reduce nausea and research has shown that women who take a daily multivitamin containing at least 10 mcg of B6 before conception and/or during the first few weeks of pregnancy experience less nausea during the first trimester.
  • May reduce the risk of autism. Several studies have shown that babies of moms who regularly took prenatal vitamins before and during pregnancy may be less likely to have autism spectrum disorder.
  • Help prevent preterm birth. Taking a prenatal vitamin throughout pregnancy has been linked to lower risk of preterm birth. That’s perhaps especially due to the vitamin B12 they contain, since B12 deficiency is associated with lower birth weight and preterm birth.

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What Are Prenatal Vitamins And Why Are They So Beneficial

In an ideal world, a pregnant mother would get all of her nutrients from food. But as Sakara cofounder Danielle DuBoise, who developed the wellness brands new The Foundation: Prenatal while pregnant, underlines, thats not realistic. No one eats perfectly 100% of the time, says DuBoise, citing research that the average American is lacking essential nutrients in their daily diet. So for most people, supplementation is critical.

According to Manhattan-based nutritionist , prenatal supplements can fill in any nutrient gaps caused by our modern, hectic lifestyles, or particular tastes, which result in consuming less than an adequate amount of the nutrients we need on a daily basis. Think of it as an insurance policy that youre getting enough of the nutrients you need to support a healthy pregnancy, for baby and mom alike, she says. Similarly, Shepherd encourages her expectant patients to consider taking a prenatal vitamin as building up a reserve. Because the baby gets all the nutrients it needs directly from mama, its easy to become deficient in vitamins she explains. A well-rounded balance of vitamins and nutrients during pregnancy will help mom provide the nutrients needed, as well as help the baby do things, such as form vital organs and body systems.

What Do I Need To Tell My Doctor Before I Take Prenatal Vitamin

All products:

  • If you are allergic to prenatal vitamin any part of prenatal vitamin or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
  • If you have too much iron in your body.
  • If you are taking mineral oil.
  • If you are taking acitretin.

Products with omega-3 fatty acids:

  • If you are taking a blood thinner.
  • If you have bleeding problems.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with prenatal vitamin.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take prenatal vitamin with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

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Best For Morning Sickness: New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins

Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are common occurrences experienced by a large number of women. Ginger has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy for numerous ailments, including digestive issues such as nausea.

A systematic review examined the use of ginger for the treatment of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and found that ginger significantly improved the symptoms of nausea when compared to a placebo. New Chapters Perfect Prenatal vitamin includes organic ginger in each dose to help ease nausea. This supplement is vegetarian, certified non-GMO, and gluten- and synthetic filler-free.

Prenatal Vitamin Side Effects

One A Day Women

Some prenatal vitamins can cause nausea in an already nauseated pregnant woman. If that happens to you, talk to your health care provider. They may be able to prescribe a different kind of prenatal vitamin that you dont have to swallow whole. Options include:

  • Chewables
  • Liquids

The iron in prenatal vitamins may also make you constipated. If youre constipated it can help to:

  • Eat a high-fiber diet
  • Exercise if your doctor says its safe for you
  • Take a stool softener with your doctors OK

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When Should I Start Taking A Prenatal Vitamin

The best time to begin taking prenatal vitamins is before you conceive. The folate in a prenatal vitamin taken before conception significantly reduces the chances of neural tube irregularities like spina bifida.

A babys neural tube, which will develop into both the brain and spinal cord, develops during the first month of pregnancy. That could happen before you even realize youre pregnant.

If you arent already taking a daily prenatal vitamin, start taking one as soon as you find out youre expecting. Youll continue taking your prenatal vitamin every day during your pregnancy.

Your doctor might also recommend you continue to take prenatal vitamins after delivery, especially if you decide to breastfeed.

If you have pregnancy complications or other health concerns, your doctor might recommend a prescription prenatal supplement. Otherwise, over-the-counter vitamins are available at the pharmacy or online.

While there are many brands available, youll want to choose a prenatal vitamin that includes:

Most pregnant people dont get enough choline, so its important to include choline-rich foods like egg yolks in your diet or take a supplement that contains this vital nutrient.

Choline is important for your health and is essential for fetal brain development and placental function.

Some supplements also contain DHA, which is important for your babys brain tissue growth and function especially during the third trimester.

How Do I Choose Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are readily available over the counter and a prescription is generally unnecessary.

If youre concerned about which to choose, dont be. Theres not much difference between over the counter and prescription prenatals, and both are adequate, assures Dr. Nwankwo.

Sometimes prescription prenatals may have special formulationsfor example, they may have a stool softener added to help with constipation, or they may have additional iron. The pills may also be smaller and easier to take. But its not necessary, she says. It also doesnt matter whether you take a tablet or a gummy, just make sure it has the right amount of vitamins you need.

Every vitamin can differ in the types and amounts of nutrients it contains because specific vitamin ingredients arent regulated by the FDA. If the vitamin you choose doesnt contain the full recommended daily amount of a nutrient, be sure to eat foods that are high in that vitamin or mineral.

When shopping for prenatal vitamins look for these four primary nutrients that are especially important during pregnancy, per Dr. Nwankwo and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists):

  • Folic acid: 600 mcg
  • Iron: 27 mg
  • Calcium: 1,000 mg
  • Vitamin D: 600 IU

The following vitamins are also essential during pregnancy, and you may not get enough of them through diet alone. Having these in your prenatals are helpful too:

  • Vitamin A: 770 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 85 mg
  • Vitamin B12: 2.6 mcg
  • Choline: 450 mg

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What Should I Avoid While Taking Prenatal Multivitamins

Avoid taking any other multivitamin product within 2 hours before or after you take prenatal multivitamins. Taking similar vitamin products together at the same time can result in a vitamin overdose or serious side effects.

Avoid the regular use of potassium supplements or salt substitutes if your prenatal multivitamin contains potassium.

Avoid taking prenatal multivitamins with milk other dairy products, calcium supplements, or antacids that contain calcium.

Considering A Boutique Prenatal 4 Common Questions Answered

The Importance of Prenatal Vitamins

Many of the newer supplement brands bill themselves as better than whats already out therebetter ingredients, better formulations or better at providing exactly what you need during each stage of pregnancy. Its only natural that this would strike a chord, Dr. Bachmann says. Parents always want the best for their growing baby.

Its also natural to have questions about these claims. Here are some of the most common ones, answered by trusted experts.

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Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal Chewable

This supplement from Seeking Health is gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, tree-nut-free, egg-free, and vegetarian, so its a great option for people with food allergies. Additionally it offers all the recommended nutrients for pregnant and lactating people, including a unique blend of amino acids. With ginger in the mix, Seeking Health aims to make this supplement easy on the stomach.

Always check with your doctor before beginning any supplement.

Why Trust Verywell Family

As a Registered Dietitian, Sydney Greene takes supplement recommendations seriously. Every product has been researched and vetted by her against clinical research, product reviews, and third-party testing websites. These are products she would not only feel comfortable recommending to her clients but she would take them herself if needed.

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What Are Prenatal Vitamins Exactly And Why Do They Matter

Prenatal vitamins are a multivitamin specifically formulated for someone who is pregnant or trying to have a baby, explains Katharine O’Connell White, MD, an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Boston University and the author of Your Guide to Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss. They have specific amounts of nutrients and minerals that are safe for pregnant people. For example, certain ones need to be taken in lower doses when pregnant because consuming too much can harm the developing fetus, Dr. White explains.

On the other hand, sometimes prenatals will have more of certain nutrients, such as folic acid, which prevents some birth defects, or iron, which prevents anemia, a common symptom during pregnancy.

Family Planning: Prenatal Care And Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal Gummy Vitamins with DHA + Folic Acid + Choline, Clinically ...


Prenatal care is essential to your health and, more importantly, to the health of your unborn baby. Good prenatal care includes establishing good nutritional and health habits before and during pregnancy as well as having routine prenatal exams performed by your doctor. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, babies born to mothers who do not get prenatal care are 3 times more likely to be born with a low birth weight. This agency also states that before becoming pregnant, women can take several important steps, such as:

  • Taking at least 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid daily at least 3 months before conception in order to decrease the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine
  • If you have a pre-existing medical condition, discussing with your doctor your plan to become pregnant
  • Stopping use of alcohol and tobacco
  • Avoiding contact with toxic or harmful chemicals and materials
  • Discussing your current medication profile with your doctor to determine whether any medications or herbal supplements should be discontinued to prevent adverse effects
  • Making sure your vaccinations are up-to-date

The Importance of Prenatal Vitamins

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is the ideal way to get the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay healthy. However, if you are planning to become pregnant, or are already pregnant or breast-feeding, higher amounts of certain nutrients are essential for the health of both mother and baby.

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Do You Need Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are important before and during pregnancy to help your body meet the demands of pregnancy and aid in your babys development, says Dr. Nwankwo. Your balanced diet should be the foundation of your nutritional vitamins. Your body is able to absorb more from your diet than from supplements. However, your prenatal will help fill in the gaps.

A run-of-the-mill multivitamin wont cut it when youre pregnant. Prenatal vitamins are specially designed multivitamins that deliver the extra amounts of nutrients needed during various stages of your babys development. For example, they contain folic acid, which is important for babys brain development in the earliest stages. And many have vitamin D and calcium to build strong bones and teeth during the third trimester of pregnancy.

Plus, prenatal vitamins help make sure you have enough nutrients such as iron, to not only provide to your baby but so your own body doesnt become depleted.

What Are Some Side Effects That I Need To Call My Doctor About Right Away

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash hives itching red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever wheezing tightness in the chest or throat trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking unusual hoarseness or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Black, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Fever.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at

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