Best Prenatal Vitamins & How To Pick One
Published: February 22, 2017
If you’re new to pregnancy and motherhood, congratulations – this is the beginning of many, many questions you’ll be asking yourself. As a woman with ADHD, the problem with knowing how to pick a prenatal vitamin isn’t lack of information, it’s how to make a decision when you’ve overwhelmed with literature and the well-meaning opinions of friends and family members.
As I soon learned, it all comes down to taking it all in, filtering out the noise and making a decision that you can feel good about. Sometimes it takes trial and error. Sometimes you won’t have a fully formed opinion and you’ll just do what you think is best at the time and adjust as needed. Here are a few things I considered when choosing my prenatals, including a list of top best-sellers (including the one I finally settled down with for the long haul).
What Is The Purpose of Prenatal Vitamins?
Even with the healthiest diet, it’s nearly impossible to guarantee growing babies are getting all the nutrients they need. That’s why benefits of prenatal vitamins are so important. Unless you’re in a controlled lab environment, how do you really know you got in every needed nutrient for the day? If you’re having morning sickness, it becomes even more difficult.
So what makes a good pre-natal vitamin? For one, it should contain all of the recommended essentials, especially folic acid, iron and calcium. For many mothers, it’s also important to find a pre-natal that’s easy on the stomach. Some also prefer that their pre-natal supplements are made only with naturally-occurring ingredients.
According to WebMD, be sure that your prenatal vitamin contains the following:
- 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid. – Helps lower the risk of birth defects
- 400 IU of vitamin D. – Reduces risk of complications.
- 200 to 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium – For strong bones and teeth.
- 70 mg of vitamin C – Needed for collagen production.
- 3 mg of thiamine – Helps converts carbohydrates to energy; improves nervous system, muscles and the heart.
- 2 mg of riboflavin – Promotes growth, good vision and healthy skin.
- 6 mcg of vitamin B12 – Helps prevent birth defects.
- 10 mg of vitamin E – General cell health.
- 15 mg of zinc – For cell and tissue growth.
- 17 mg of iron – For blood production and prevention of pre-term birth.
- 150 micrograms of iodine – For brain development.
Best Prenatal Vitamins for 2016
While your doctor may write a prescription for pre-natal vitamins, many mothers find them to be too costly (myself included). Never fear – here are some top over-the-counter brands to consider. Don’t forget to keep taking these while you’re still breastfeeding! All can be found on Amazon – add them to your registry!
Gentle and easy to digest, Megafood Baby and Me Herb Free is made with whole foods. Including 800 mcg of folate rather than folic acid, these supplements are soy- and gluten-free, include a gentle form of iron and are food-based. These are a great choice for those looking for something easy on the stomach, all-natural and easy-to-swallow.
Made with certified organic vegetables. New Chapter Prenatal Vitamins are herb- and GMO-free and suitable for the vegetarian, kosher and gluten-free diet. Contains fermented folate and organic superfood sprouts like kale, broccoli and cauliflower. Includes three different pills that you take daily. Don’t be surprised if you start feeling more energetic and better nourished after taking these!
One a Day Women’s Prenatal Includes one DHA/EPA soft gel in addition to a multivitamin tablet. These can be used at each stage, from trying to conceive to breastfeeding. Customers describe them as easy-to-swallow and easy on the stomach. The price can’t be beat and you may find your nails and hair growing faster and stronger! Side note: These are the ones I finally settled down with for the long haul, mainly for brand recognition, solid reviews and easy access at any store.
Guaranteed to be 100% natural Rainbow Light Prenatal One Vitamin are gentle on the stomach. Safe for vegetarian and vegan mothers, they are made with whole-food ingredients. They are a bit harder to swallow than most, but are generally considered easy on the stomach. These are the ones I currently use and once you get past the shock of the taste and smell, they really aren’t that bad. Just now going in they don’t have a sleek soft gel cover like many other mainstream prenatal supplements.
Hate swallowing tablets? Enjoy these yummy gummies, which pack as much Vitamin C as 10 tangerines! Includes folic acid, DHA and all the other greatest hits. For those avoiding iron because it upsets her stomach, Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins are a great choice. Chew two daily for optimum benefit and don’t double up even though they’re yummy! I’ll probably give these a shot once I run out of my Rainbow Lights.
Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA combines your multivitamin and DHA into a single soft gel and are free of preservatives and artificial flavors. I have used these personally and can vouch for how easy to swallow they are. I also like that you only have to swallow one pill. Do keep in mind that they are bigger in size, but because of the soft gel coating I didn’t think it was really that difficult to get down.
Prenatal Vitamin FAQs
When Do I Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?
Mommies-to-be are generally advised to start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as they know they will be trying to conceive. According to the Mayo Clinic, “the baby’s neural tube, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, develops during the first month of pregnancy — perhaps before you even know that you’re pregnant.” Having the proper nutrition in place even before conception ensures you are giving baby the best chance from the very start!
When Do I Take Prenatal Vitamins?
When it comes to when to take prenatal vitamins, follow the label. Typically, one tablet daily will do. You also may consider taking a DHA supplement if this brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acid isn’t already in your prenatal supplement.
Can You Take Prenatal Vitamins If You Are Not Pregnant?
The drawback to taking prenatal vitamins when you’re not pregnant is that you could be missing out on certain nutrients that you need while taking to much of other nutrients that you do not need.
Do Prenatal Vitamins Help Your Hair Grow?
There is little scientific evidence that proves that prenatal vitamins help your hair grow. While old wives tales credit prenatal vitamins to hair growth, it’s most likely that it’s pregnancy hormones to thank.
Pills, powder, gummies, prescription, over-the-counter — there are plenty of options when it comes to which to try. When in doubt, ask your doctor! In addition – remember: a prenatal vitamin isn’t meant to replace a healthy menu (sorry, you still have to do eat well.)
What’s your favorite prenatal vitamin and how did you make your final decision?
Categorised in: Baby Development