While there’s no substitute for a healthy diet, even the most health conscious expectant moms that regularly eat fortified foods don’t get enough pregnancy–related vitamins and minerals. Eating well all the time is not easy. Keeping your kitchen pantry stocked with clean superfoods is great, but during pregnancy, morning sickness can affect your appetite. Ironically, this is the time the recommended nutrient intake for pregnant women increases.
What are Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are nutritional supplements containing a concentrated blend of minerals and vitamins needed before, during and even after pregnancy if you plan on breast feeding. They can be in form of a pill, a capsule made of soft gel or gummies that you can chew.
Normal multivitamins won’t cut it when you’re pregnant. Prenatal Vitamins fill in any nutritional gaps and ensure there is plenty of all vital nutrients your baby needs to grow. They are like a nutritional safety net both for you and your developing baby.
Prenatal vitamins are packed with all-important nutrients including Calcium and Vitamin D, Zinc, Magnesium, Folate, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Iodine, Vitamins A, B-6 and B-12, and the list goes on.
When Should I Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?
You should start using them as soon as you start trying to conceive, and continue taking them throughout your pregnancy and afterward. Research has proven that women who take supplemental folic acid before pregnancy can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects that occur very early after conception.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), start taking a vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of Folic Acid before pregnancy, 600 during pregnancy, and 500 mcg when breastfeeding. Also consider options that will help you meet the daily recommended 1000-1300 mg of Calcium, 220 mcg of Iodine, 11 mg of Zinc, 400-600 IUs of Vitamin D and at least 27mg of Iron.
With the exception of Iron, you don’t need to worry about OD’ing most of these vitamins. They are water soluble, and you will just pee out any excess. Iron in large doses can be toxic.
Best Prenatal Vitamins of 2020
Sifting through pharmacy store shelves can be super daunting. With the many prenatal supplements on the market, the options can start to sound alike.
Here are the top 5 doctor-approved prenatal vitamins on Amazon to add to your cart:
Nature Made Prenatal Multi +DHA 200 mg Multivitamin
- For a limited time, you may receive either bottle while we update our packaging. Both have the same great product inside. Based on new FDA regulations, you may also notice a change in the unit of measure and/or daily value for certain products.
- Contains a 90-day supply of Nature Made Prenatal Vitamin + DHA Softgels, 90 softgels per bottle
- Specially formulated to support the development of baby's brain, nervous system, bones and eyes. Clinically proven absorption.**
- Adults, take 1 softgel daily with water and a meal for optimal absorption.
- These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
If you are looking for a low-priced prenatal supplement with a large dose of DHA, look no further than Nature Made Prenatal + DHA. The Omega-3 Fatty Acid DHA found in certain fish like cod and salmon is crucial to fetal brain and eyes development. This well-rounded supplement comes with 90 soft gels per bottle. A day’s dosage gives you 200 mg of DHA – the recommended daily intake, as well a full Vitamin profile including vitamin C, fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K) and all 8 B vitamins in impressive amounts. Made from carefully-selected ingredients under strict manufacturing processes, this prenatal multivitamin is proven to be absorbed optimally. If you’re the type to pass up a seafood dinner, this soft-gel supplement will gives you all the DHA you need.
Rainbow Light Prenatal Petite Mini-Tab Multivitamin
- PETITE MINI TABS: Complete nutrition in small, easy to swallow tablets
- GENTLE PRENATAL BLEND: Magnesium and potassium to ease discomfort, plus high potency vitamin B complex for energy, cell growth, stress and immune support
- FOLIC ACID: Provides 800 micrograms, which promotes healthy brain and spinal development
- SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING: 100% Post-Consumer recycled and recyclable bottles that are BPA-free, we take a stand for more ocean, less plastic
- PURITY SAFEGUARD: Gluten and Dairy Free made with natural, purity tested ingredients and NO artificial preservatives, colors, flavors or sweeteners
They may come in tablet form, but they are small and easy to swallow. If you get queasy when swallowing larger tablets, you should definitely give them a try. The prenatal blend contains a gentle mix of purity-tested ingredients that won’t upset your stomach. As small as the tablets are, they contain 800 micrograms of Folic Acid, which promotes healthy brain and spine development. You also get a healthy dose of Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Probiotics, Vitamin B Complex and more. The formula is sugar, gluten, wheat, lactose and wheat free. If you want a natural product that incorporates superfoods and many plant extracts, try Rainbow Light Prenatal. This prenatal doesn’t come with DHA, so consider using an additional DHA supplement.
One A Day Prenatal 1 Multivitamin
- A complete Prenatal multivitamin that provides nutritional support for women before, during, and after pregnancy
- With key nutrients, like Folic Acid, DHA, Iron and Calcium all in one single soft gel
- Provides 100% of the Daily Value of folic acid; Gluten Free
- The #1 OBGYN Recommended Prenatal Brand
- FREE OF: artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, wheat, dairy
As one of the most recommended prenatal vitamins on the market, One A Day Women’s Prenatal 1 Multivitamin has an affordable price tag, making it a solid choice. The brand contains all the essential nutrients (Folic Acid, vitamin D, Iron), plus a few important extras, like B6 and Omega-3 DHA. It is designed to help before, during and after a pregnancy. Using it as recommended will ensure optimal health for both lives even after the baby is born. The formula is free of : artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, dairy and wheat.
Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal Multivitamin
- PRENATAL MULTIVITAMIN: Specially formulated women's multivitamin made from nutritious RAW whole foods
- MOM TO BE: Our prenatal vitamin for women is designed for BOTH mom and baby during pregnancy and lactation
- PRENATAL MULTI: These prenatal includes probiotics, ginger, vitamin D and zinc for digestive support
- MULTIVITAMIN WITH IRON: This vitamin supports blood and heart health with iron, vitamin C, E, and B Complex plus Folate for healthy neural tube development
- RAW MULTIVITAMIN: Vegetarian, gluten free, and dairy free whole food multivitamin, with NO binders or fillers
This supplement draws the ‘raw’ in its name from its list of ingredients. Instead of synthetic components, you get the benefits of natural fruits and vegetables. Most women don’t get enough Folate in their diet. Also known as Vitamin B9, Folate is essential for a healthy baby. It helps prevent neural tube defects, which why folate supplements are recommended by many doctors. Garden of Life Vitamin Code raw Prenatal contains 200 percent of your daily folate needs (800 mcg). To get this, you have to take the recommended 3 tablets/day. The formula is made entirely from whole foods and boast an impressive list of nutrients. For digestive support, the supplement is formulated with zinc, ginger and probiotics. No more stomach upsets.
New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins
- COMPLETE PRENATAL VITAMIN with non constipating fermented Iron for natural energy during pregnancy
- EASY TO TAKE ANYTIME: Gentle on an empty stomach. Eases morning sickness with Ginger
- 3 NUTRIENT PACKED TABLETS: Sustains 100 percent complete prenatal nutrition throughout your day including 100 percent Daily Value of Folate & Iron, plus B Vitamins, Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, A & Zinc
- METHYLFOLATE: Complete Prenatal Vitamin with Methylfolate (the most active form of folate) for baby's healthy brain & spinal cord development as recommended by OB/GYNS
- 1st PRENATAL VITAMIN to be made with Certified Organic Vegetables & Herbs, Non GMO Project Verified, 100 percent Vegetarian, Certified Kosher, Certified Gluten Free by NSF, No Added Sugar, No Synthetic Fillers, No Artificial Colors or Flavors, No Animal Gelatin (added to some prenatal gummy vitamins)
New Chapter is another premium brand that any mom-to-be should give a try. The company has a mission to be transparent with their ingredients. They believe that goodness comes from fermenting the right nutrients and herbs like lac resin, silica oil, sunflower oil, gum acacia and carnauba wax. They give you B vitamins, Vitamins C and D3, Zinc, Iron and Folate. All ingredients are digestible and claims to have no nausea side effects. It’s also certified gluten free, non-GMO, organic, vegetarian and Certified Kosher. A bottle has 270 capsules, meaning 3 tablets a day can last you for 3 months.
It’s no secret that we should take care of our bodies, and this holds true for soon-to-be moms and for the benefit of the developing fetuses. Even if you eat the cleanest foods, they may not have the right balance of vitamins needed. Prenatal vitamins are intended to supplement where a healthy diet falls short. They’re filled with the same, good-for-you and good-for-baby stuff.
Prenatal vitamins are readily available over the counter. Dietary supplements are not regulated in the United States, to it’s advisable to go for a brand that has been analyzed for quality and purity by a third party. Check the label for a stamp of certification from NSF International or United States Pharmacopeia (USP).