Congratulations, you’ve got a bun in the oven! Up next, prepping for the baby. And that means taking prenatal vitamins. Ideally, you should have already been taking these when you were trying to get pregnant because your baby needs all those nutrients as soon as he or she is conceived. During the first month of pregnancy, your baby’s neural tube (which later becomes the brain and spine) will be developing. And folic acid is necessary to prevent brain and spinal birth defects. Since you can never be sure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need in the food you eat, taking prenatal vitamins will ensure you don’t fall short. Of course, browsing through all the prenatal vitamins on the shelves of your local drugstore or Amazon can be exhausting. Which is why we’ve done all the work for you. Below are all the best-selling and doctor-recommended prenatal vitamins in the market today.
New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins
The New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins is a huge favorite among moms all over because it contains most of the essential vitamins in the right dosage AND it doesn’t make you nauseous at all. It contains 540 mcg of folate which is more than recommended dosage. It has 1000 IU of vitamin D3 for better calcium absorption. It has the right amount of iron, calcium, iodine, and vitamin B6. Plus, it even includes an herbal blend. These vitamins are all derived from organic whole-food ingredients and comes with certifications to prove it – Certified Organic by the USDA and Non-GMO Project Verified. Plus, there’s no sugar added or any synthetic fillers. However, this prenatal vitamin does not contain any DHA. It is a bit expensive. And the amount of vitamin A is a bit high though it is 100% beta-carotene.
- Certified organic prenatal vitamins
- Right amount of iron and folate
- No sugar added
- No DHA
- High amount of vitamin A (beta-carotene)
Garden of Life Vitamin Code RAW Prenatal
The Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal is another great option for those who don’t want anything synthetic in their prenatal vitamins. All the nutrients in each capsule is derived from raw whole foods. It is gluten-free, vegetarian, and dairy-free. It doesn’t have any chemical-based binders or fillers. And it even includes a digestive comfort blend which consists of ginger and probiotics to keep morning sickness away. However, the pills are quite large and the smell can be hard to take, especially if you have an extra sensitive sense of smell during your pregnancy. And it doesn’t have enough calcium so you’ll have to supplement that too.
- Derived from raw whole foods
- Includes digestive comfort blend
- Vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free
- Large pills
- Strong smell
- Not enough calcium
The Vitafusion Prenatal is perfect for moms who have difficulty in drinking pills since this comes in gummy form. It even comes with assorted flavors to make it easier to consume. Plus, the formula contains a lot of vitamin C and DHA. Even better, these vitamins are quite affordable. However, each gummy contains sugar. Also, it does not contain iron and calcium so you’ll need to look for additional supplements. In addition, the gummies tend to stick together if the weather is too warm.
- gummy form
- assorted flavors
- contains DHA
- no iron or calcium
- contains sugar
- can get sticky
SmartyPants Prenatal Complete
SmartyPants offers another easy-to-swallow prenatal vitamin option. These gummy vitamins contain no synthetic flavors and colors. They are gluten-free and non-GMO. More importantly, these gummies contain the most important nutrients – folic acid, vitamins D and B12, and even DHA. Plus, it uses methylfolate which is more readily absorbed by the body compared to folic acid or folate. However, it contains 7g of sugar per serving. It doesn’t contain calcium and iron which means getting additional supplements. And it can be quite expensive, especially since you need to take 6 gummies a day.
- active form of folate – methylfolate
- contains DHA, vitamins D and B12
- gummy form
- contains sugar
- no calcium or iron
Mama Bird AM/PM Prenatal Multivitamin
The Mama Bird AM/PM Prenatal Multivitamin is the perfect choice for vegan mothers. It contains methylfolate (natural form of folic acid), natural B12, vitamin D from lichen, and organic herbs to soothe an upset stomach. It even contains probiotics and enzymes that will help digestion and the absorption of the nutrients. However, it does not contain enough calcium, vitamin D, and iron. They are expensive. And it can make you a bit nauseous if you take a pill on an empty stomach.
- contains methylfolate
- contains probiotics to aid digestion
- not enough calcium, vitamin D, and iron
- not to be taken on an empty stomach
Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA
Yes, Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA is not really a multivitamin like others on our list. It’s more of a supplement to your actual multivitamins if you want to up your intake of DHA. This contains 480mg of DHA per serving which is more than half the daily recommended dosage (800mg). As you already know, DHA is great for the baby’s brain development. This prenatal “vitamin” also contains 400 IU of vitamin D3 which is also essential to your baby’s skeletal development. And it doesn’t have a fishy taste which is a major plus. However, since this isn’t an all-around prenatal vitamin, you’ll have to get one that contains iron, folic acid, and all the other essential nutrients for a healthy mom and baby. Also, while it may not have a fishy taste, it does have a smell – something to take note of if you are sensitive to smell during your pregnancy.
- also contains D3
- no fishy taste
- lacks other essential nutrients
- smells a bit fishy
MegaFood Baby & Me
MegaFood Baby & Me comes with the NSF International’s seal of approval which means that the manufacture of these vitamins meet high quality and safety standards. But that’s not all. These pills are Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Kosher, Dairy and Soy Free, Gluten-free, Glyphosate Residue Free (tested by The Detox Project), and Vegetarian Seal. These prenatal vitamins contain 800mcg Folate from broccoli and 4mg Vitamin B6. What really makes moms love these pills is that you can easily take them even on an empty stomach. However, the amount of iron isn’t enough and these don’t contain DHA. Since you need to take 4 of these a day, adding more supplements will mean taking more pills which can be exhausting for a pregnant woman. In addition to that, the pills are a bit large which can make anyone’s gag reflex kick in.
- Non-GMO Project verified
- can be taken on an empty stomach
- no DHA
- not enough iron
- requires 4 pills a day
Garden of Life mykind Organics Prenatal Multivitamin
These prenatal vitamins from Garden of Life are certified organic by the USDA, derived from organic whole foods. These supplements are also third-party certified as Non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free. It has the right amount of folate, vitamin C, vitamin D3, and more than enough vitamin B6. Its vitamin A is beta-carotene. It also contains organic ginger and peppermint to help fight nausea. However, it does not have enough calcium, iron, and zinc which means you’ll have to add supplements or increase your food intake to get your recommended daily dosage right. The pills are fairly large and you’ll have to take 3 of them.
- certified organic
- does not upset the stomach
- can get quite hot with the cover on
- hard to put the cover on
Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin
best prenatal vitamins without constipation
The Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin is a popular favorite for many reasons. The biggest one being that you only need to take one pill a day unlike most of the others that require you to swallow anywhere from 2 to 6. This food-based multivitamin is vegan and gluten-free. Unlike several of our other picks, this one contains your daily recommended dosage of iron and folic acid, the two most important nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. It also contains enough Vitamin D2, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin A for promoting the development of bones, skin, eyes, and the immune system. Even better, it comes with superfood additions such as spirulina, red raspberry, and ginger as well as prebiotics and probiotics to enhance digestion. However, the pill is very big, even when cut in half. The amount of calcium is not enough. And some mothers reported feeling nauseous when taking this pill.
- only one pill a day
- contains daily recommended dosage of iron and folic acid
- pills are very large; hard to swallow
- not enough calcium content
- can make you feel nauseous
The Honest Company Prenatal Once Daily
The Prenatal Once Daily from The Honest Company is another great option for moms tired of taking more than one multivitamin pill a day. Like our previous pick, this one is also Non-GMO and does not contain yeast, soy, gluten, high fructose corn syrup, and anything artificial. It contains the right amounts of vitamins A, C, D, B6, iron, folate, iodine, and zinc. Each pill has a sweet vanilla coating to make it easier to take. However, it does not have enough calcium. And the pill is quite large. Also, the price per pill is quite expensive.
- once daily multivitamin
- right amounts of folic acid, iron, vitamins
- sweet vanilla coating
- very big pill
- not enough calcium
Prenatal Vitamins Buying Guide:
We all know that a healthy diet is essential if you want you and your baby to be healthy. However, you can never be sure that you’re getting all the key nutrients. Specially since the first few months of your pregnancy was probably spent hurling food out instead of taking it all in. This is where prenatal vitamins come in – to fill in the gaps in your nutrition. However, not all prenatal vitamins are made equal. Some will have extra nutrients included such as DHA while others are designed for women with sensitive stomachs. There are even some prenatal vitamins that are specifically designed for vegetarians or vegans. Before you actually get yourself some, there are a couple of things you’ll need to know about prenatal vitamins to ensure you make the right choice for you and your baby.
What exactly are prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins differ from regular adult multivitamins in two huge ways – a higher amount of folic acid and iron. These nutrients are essential to the baby’s development in different ways. Folic acid can help prevent neural tube defects. The neural tube is what will later become your baby’s brain and spinal cord so preventing serious abnormalities from forming is crucial, particularly during the first few months of pregnancy. Iron, on the other hand, supports the baby’s growth and development. It also increases the oxygen supply in your body for your baby and helps prevent anemia. Aside from these two, prenatal vitamins also contain zinc, calcium, vitamin B, Vitamin D, and Vitamin A. Some prenatal vitamins also include omega-3 fatty acids which research has indicated play an important role in the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system.
Prenatal Vitamin Ingredients:
As we’ve already mentioned, prenatal vitamins may have much of the same ingredients as your regular adult multivitamins. However, the quantities will be much different. Below, we’ll discuss the most important ones and the recommended daily dosage given by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Folic acid is quite possibly the most important ingredient of prenatal vitamins. This is because the lack of folic acid during the early months of pregnancy can cause neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. In case we haven’t emphasized it enough, the neural tube is the part of the embryo that will develop into your baby’s spine and brain. Because neural tube defects occur during the early stages of development, way before you finally realize that you’re pregnant, experts often recommend that you start taking folic acid as soon as you start trying to conceive. Some research indicates that folic acid may also be important in reducing the chances of other defects as well such as cleft palate, cleft lip, and some types of heart defects. For the mother, folic acid can help lower the risk of preeclampsia. The recommended daily dosage is 400 mcg. The New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins, which is our number one pick has 540 mcg of folate.
Iron is another important nutrient for you and your baby. It helps your body make extra hemoglobin (blood) that you and your baby need. It also ensures you have more than enough oxygen for you and your baby. Iron deficiency can cause anemia which isn’t great for you. But it can also cause premature birth, a low birth weight, and even infant mortality. The recommended daily dosage is 27 mg of iron.
We all know that calcium is good for your bones. In fact, experts recommend women between the ages of 19 and 50 to consume around 1,000 mg of calcium everyday. If you’re pregnant, you’re going to need much more – 1,200 to 1,400 mg a day. This is especially important when you’re in your third trimester because that’s the time when your baby’s skeleton is developing. In fact, studies have shown that babies whose mothers took calcium supplements during their pregnancy had 15 percent more bone mineral content compared to babies whose mothers did not. Also, research has shown that pregnant women who took around 1500 mg of calcium everyday had a reduced risk of preeclampsia.
Vitamin D is the perfect complement to calcium because it helps your body absorb more calcium (as well as phosphate). But that’s not all it can do. Research suggests that it can actually lower the risk of pregnancy-related complications such as gestational diabetes, pregnancy-related high blood pressure, and preeclampsia. Vitamin D is also believed to protect against immune system disorders. While the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends a daily dose of at least 600 IU of Vitamin D, you’ll find that a lot of prenatal vitamins contain only about 400 IU. You may need to supplement your vitamin D intake with foods that contain it such as fatty fish (salmon, sardines, etc.), fish liver oil, eggs, and milk fortified with vitamin D.
This vitamin is important to your baby in several ways. It helps in the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. It also helps your baby to metabolize protein and carbohydrates. For mom, vitamin B6 is great at relieving nausea and reducing morning sickness.The recommended daily dosage is 1.9 mg. The Garden of Life Vitamin Code RAW Prenatal has 2mg of Vitamin B6 per serving.
It is important that you know right off the bat that you should only choose vitamin A in beta-carotene form or even other carotenoids. Studies have shown that preformed or synthetic vitamin A can be dangerous to your and your baby, especially in large doses. Consuming more than 10,000 IU or 800 mcg of preformed vitamin A can lead to birth defects. That being said, vitamin A is essential in the formation of bones, teeth, and visual health. It also helps in the development of your baby’s kidneys, heart, and lungs. When choosing your prenatal vitamins, make sure to look at the kind of vitamin A it contains. The recommended daily dosage is 770 mcg.
Vitamin C, as we all know, is important in boosting your immune system. Well, it’s the same for your baby. It also can help your baby’s body absorb more iron. 85 mg of vitamin C per day is recommended. The Mama Bird AM/PM Prenatal Multivitamin contains 100mg of Vitamin C.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that’s commonly found in salmon and other fatty fish. DHA promotes brain development. The recommended daily dosage is 800 mg per day. However, not all prenatal vitamins contain DHA. You might need a separate supplement. More importantly, you will need to make sure that you get enough omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods in our diet. The Vitafusion Prenatal is one of the few on our list that contains DHA.
Iodine is essential for brain and thyroid development while zinc helps support the immune system. Zinc is also important for cell growth. Copper is another nutrient that is essential for pregnant women because it helps form red blood cells as well as your baby’s heart, blood vessels, and nervous system. The recommended daily dosage for these three are 150 mcg (iodine), 15mg (zinc), and 2mg (copper).
One last reminder:
While prenatal vitamins are important for the health of a pregnant woman and the development of a baby, it is not meant to take the place of a healthy diet. Always make sure that you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Stay away from sugar as much as you can. Your prenatal vitamins are supposed to be your backup, not the main course.