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Which Prenatal Vitamins Are Best For Pregnancy

How We Chose The Products On This List

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We personally tested many brands of different prenatal vitamins throughout various stages of conception and pregnancy. We also drew on past personal experiences with issues such as nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and investigated common concerns and complaints with prenatal vitamins among pregnant women, like bad taste and smell.

We read the current scientific literature and consulted with medical professionals as well. The doctors quoted throughout this piece include three different OB-GYNs as well as a registered dietitian who reviewed product selections and consulted with us on what to look for, as well as what to avoid, in prenatal vitamins.

When considering various options, we looked for:

Dont Stop Taking Your Prenatal Vitamins

Sometimes people experience discomfort when taking prenatal vitamins. Queasiness and constipation are common complaints, and some people struggle with swallowing large pills. It might be tempting to quit but it is very important that you keep taking a daily prenatal vitamin as advised through your pregnancy. Tell your doctor about any difficulties you are experiencing and they will help devise solutions for taking your prenatal vitamins without the unpleasant side effects.

Do: Consume Appropriate Amounts Of Vitamin E

As mentioned above, you don’t want to take too much vitamin E, but it is a vital vitamin that you should consume during pregnancy. Vitamin E contains several antioxidants, and one of the primary functions of the vitamin is to protect cell membranes.

It does this by neutralizing any free radicals within the body. If left to roam, these radicals will harm the membranes of your cells.

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Why Do You Need To Take A Prenatal Vitamin

In an ideal world, it is easy to have access to quality food from quality sources all year long. The reality is that modern agriculture has depleted the soil and global warming has affected our growing times. Our bodies are further stressed by busy lifestyles, jobs, social injustice, pandemics, and medications like birth control. This means many people enter pregnancy already nutrient-depletedand then there is the natural increase of nutrients needed for pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Of course, food should always be our first source of nutrition whenever possible. Eating a healthy,colorful, and diversediet will help you getmost ofthe vitamins and minerals you need. Of course, prenatal vitamins do not take the place of a healthy diet in creating a strong nutrition foundation for you and your baby. But they do offer a buffer, an extra insurance policy, to help bridge the gaps in whats missing in your diet.

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Folic acid is by far the most important vitamin to take during pregnancy. Folic acid can help prevent birth defects, known as neural tube defects, including spina bifida and anencephaly .

Prenatal vitamins can help to boost your overall health, but these should not be a substitute for a healthy diet.

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Great Prenatal Vitamins For Anyone Whos Pregnant Or Trying To Be

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

When youre pregnant, there is a lot to think about. Your mind cartwheel from best prenatal vitamins to child-proof furniture to can I seriously not eat soft cheese anymore? As exciting as this time can be, it can also be stressful when you want to give your future child the best but you dont know what that is. Especially when it comes to that whole prenatal vitamins thing.

Prenatal vitamins are supplements containing vitamins and minerals that help to support pregnant people by preventing common nutritional deficiencies that can arise during pregnancy. Most pregnant people use thema 2017 survey from the March of Dimes found that 97% of U.S. women between the ages of 18 and 45 who have been pregnant or who were pregnant at the time of the survey reported taking prenatal vitamins or multivitamins during their pregnancy. This is a good thing, as vitamins play a pretty important role in pregnancy health.

Amber Samuel, M.D., a maternal fetal medicine specialist at HCA Gulf Coast Division Hospitals in Houston, tells SELF that prenatal vitamins can help promote fetal development and maternal health and decrease the risk of birth defects. But are all prenatal vitamins created equal? How do you know which is the best one for you? Read on to find out.

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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Essential Nutrients To Look For

With a nutritious diet, you should already be getting a lot of the vitamins and minerals necessary during pregnancywhich means that you shouldnt have to depend on your prenatal vitamin to provide 100 percent of the daily recommended allowance for these nutrients. Prenatal vitamins also arent legally required to provide a minimum level of those nutrients either, since they arent regulated by the FDA. The doses may vary, but the key ingredients wont vary drastically, Twogood says.

So what should the best prenatal vitamins include? The most important nutrient in a prenatal vitamin, according to Twogood, is folic acid, which has been shown to dramatically decrease the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida. Make sure the label includes folic acid as well as these other key nutrients. Aim for the minimum levels listed here, but if your vitamin falls short, get the rest from your diet.

Folic acid: Look for a minimum of 400 micrograms, though Twogood recommends a slightly higher dose of 800 micrograms or 1 milligram for overweight or obese patients.

Iron: Iron helps carry oxygen to your organs and tissues, and during pregnancy you need an extra dose for a total of 27 milligrams a day, which is present in most prenatal vitamins, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists .

Look For Highly Absorbable Forms Of Nutrients

BEST Prenatal Vitamins (What to LOOK for)

Like Swick mentioned above, look for formulations designed to be highly bioavailable and easy to use and absorb. AND, dont buy the most high quality, bioavailable, hockey puck-sized prenatal if you HATE swallowing pills.

Consider what you like and what youre able to tolerate during your pregnancy, keeping in mind that there are tons of gummy and liquid options available now.

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Tips For Choosing The Best Prenatal Vitamin

There are plenty of prenatal vitamin supplements on the market so how do you pick the best one? Your individual needs may differ, so its best to work directly with your doctor when deciding on the right prenatal vitamin for you.

In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you choose the best prenatal vitamin:

Mama Bird Prenatal Vitamin

These vitamins contain “methylated folate,” a buzzy word in this area. Folate is one of the most important vitamins in prenatal pills, but some women have a genetic condition that makes it hard for their bodies to convert the folic acid in most prenatals to the active form the body can use, Wright explains.

But there’s a catch: You won’t know if you have the condition unless you have genetic testing done. So, if you want to be super safe and cover all your bases, then a methylated version of folate might be worth the money. Still, she emphasizes that for the majority of women, the regular variety is just fine.

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Vitamins That Help You Get Pregnant Faster

Can the taking of any type of vitamin or supplement actually help you conceive a child faster than those who dont take vitamins? Can vitamins actually increase your fertility? The answer is yes if you ask experts at the Texas Fertility Center. According to fertility specialists, you need a good nutritional status in order to help your body conceive a child. This seems to hold true of both men and women.

For women, it may mean just taking a good prenatal vitamin. Research has indicated that taking a prenatal vitamin can not only decrease your chances of having a preterm birth and decrease your chances of pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, but it can maximize your fertility.

In one recent study, women who were trying to get pregnant through fertility treatments got pregnant faster than women who didnt take prenatal vitamins. In fact, the participants who took prenatal vitamins had a doubling of their chances of becoming pregnant when compared to participants who just took folic acid prior to conceiving.

What this means is that it is possible to get pregnant faster if you take a prenatal vitamin, although research hasnt been done on women who arent undergoing fertility treatments and who take a prenatal vitamin. Prenatal vitamins can be purchased over the counter and cant hurt you, even if you take them while not pregnant.

These particular vitamins have the ability to enhance your fertility. You can take them alone or as a part of the total prenatal pill package:

Do Prenatal Vitamins Have Side Effects

One A Day Women

A lot of people wonder about about prenatal vitamins side effects. Some people get nauseated or constipated from taking prenatal vitamins. If this happens to you, talk with your doctor about changing brands or the types of vitamins youre taking.

Prenatal vitamins come in tablets or capsules, so finding the kind that works best with your body can help ease side effects. Your doctor or midwife can help you find a prenatal vitamin that will work best for your body.

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Look For An Independent Seal Of Approval

Several groups independently verify dietary supplements using rigorous criteria. If youd like extra reassurance that your supplement meets high standards, look for seals from the following organizations:

However, keep in mind that getting approval from one of these groups is a voluntary, not required, step for manufacturers. So if your prenatal vitamin isnt marked with one of these seals, it doesnt necessarily mean its not good. Bottom line: If youre at all concerned about the quality of the supplement youre taking, talk to your doctor.

One A Day Women’s Prenatal 1 Multivitamin

This is the most popular brand of prenatal vitamins on the market, and it’s a solid choice, says Hillary Wright, MEd, RD, the director of nutrition counseling at Boston IVF and an expert in prenatal nutrition.

It’s not necessarily fancy, but it gets the job done for a reasonable price and, best of all, it’s been verified by an independent lab so its contents are as advertised, she adds.

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Choosing Whats Best For You

Once we know the quality is there, the decision of which to take becomes a matter of your personal preference and tolerance dose, cost, form, and a little bit of trial and error to find what works all come into play. What one person loves, another may get nauseated at the smell of. If you have trouble taking a prenatal, youre not alone- so consider different options like a gummy or take them in the middle of lunch instead of the first thing in the morning.

Remember to always speak with your health care team prior to starting any supplements.

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What Is A Prenatal Vitamin

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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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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.

Vitamin D In Pregnancy

You need 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day and should consider taking a supplement containing this amount between September and March.

Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to summer sunlight .

It’s not known exactly how much time is needed in the sun to make enough vitamin D to meet the body’s needs, but if you’re in the sun take care to cover up or protect your skin with sunscreen before you start to turn red or burn.

Vitamin D is also in some foods, including:

  • oily fish
  • eggs
  • red meat

Vitamin D is added to some breakfast cereals, fat spreads and non-dairy milk alternatives. The amounts added to these products can vary and might only be small.

Because vitamin D is only found in a small number of foods, whether naturally or added, it is difficult to get enough from foods alone.

Do not take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful.

You can get vitamin supplements containing vitamin D free of charge if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.

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Designed With Baby And Birthing Parent In Mind

If a prenatal doesnt have key micronutrients for fertility and pregnancy like zinc, copper, choline, K2, inositol, or vitamin E, keep shopping, she says. You want to ensure the proper doses are met, not just for baby, but for .

She explains that prenatals arent just for babys wellness, but for the birthing parents wellness too. Her recovery and ability to successfully nurse, as well as lower her risk of autoimmune conditions, she says, relies on sound intake of a diet based on real foods and rounded out with key nutrients she may not be getting in her diet.

Is It Necessary To Take A Prescription Prenatal Vitamin

Nature Made Multi Vitamin Prenatal Tablets For Pregnant And Lactating ...

Prescription prenatals typically contain more folic acid than the over-the-counter varieties, says Wright. But not all moms need the extra dose. One caveat: If youve already given birth to a baby with neural tube defects, your doctor will likely start you on a prescription supplement of folic acid, says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor in the department of OB/GYN at the Yale School of Medicine.

In general, over-the-counter prenatals are more than able to cover your nutritional bases just talk to your doctor about which formula is right for you.

One other note here: If cost is a concern to you and you have a good drug plan with your insurance company, you may actually want to ask your doctor about prescription prenatals they may actually be cheaper than OTC options.

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Natures Bounty Prenatal Gummies

Containing two types of omega-3s, DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid , these berry-flavored gummies may reduce the risk of neural tube abnormalities and support early development.

The vitamins provide 100% DV of folic acid and iodine for pregnant people, with 51 mg of DHA and EPA per two gummies. The company also list 13 key nutrients among the ingredients.

Some online reviewers praise the gummies flavor, while others question the high levels of vitamin A.

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that can help the development of the brain and eyes. Not all prenatal vitamins contain it, so it is a good idea to check the ingredients lists carefully.

New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Whole

These contain nonconstipating iron that is fermented for absorption, the makers say. The vitamins also provide 100% DV of folate and iron, plus zinc and vitamins B, D3, C, and A.

The company highlight that their product is made with certified organic vegetables and herbs and is gluten-free, with no added sugar, artificial colors or flavors, or animal gelatin. The vitamins contain ginger to help ease morning sickness.

Online, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Some reviews report side effects, however, or question the makeup of the synthetic compounds.

There are many varieties of vegan prenatal vitamins.

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