A Brief Guide to the Best Prenatal Vitamins

Best Prenatal Vitamins – Good nutrition is a lifelong requirement but it becomes especially indispensable at the time of pregnancy. Regardless of the level of nutrients in your body, the growing one in your womb will take all the required nutrients. Thus, it is necessary to ensure that your body is getting sufficient nutrients both for you and your small one.

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There are pregnancy super-foods such as dates and avocados, which are ideal for fetching several essential nutrients. However, due to washed-out soils and mechanized food system, it is becoming tough to obtain all that we require from food alone. Further, it is unfortunate to have several moms starting their pregnancy with a deficiency in some vitamins or minerals. Thus, it is important to go for the best prenatal vitamins.

When Should You Start Consuming a Prenatal Vitamin?

The right time to start these supplements is prior to conceiving. Usually, the neural tube of a baby grows into both the spinal cord and brain during the first month. However, it can even occur prior to your realization of pregnancy. For those who are not already eating that daily pill, it is best to begin consuming a prenatal supplement the moment you start expecting.

Why Have the Best Prenatal Vitamins?

Consuming a healthy diet may not necessarily give you all the nutrients in sufficient quantities. This is where a prenatal vitamin comes into the picture to fill those gaps. At the same time, it also aids in supporting the baby’s overall growth and development. Following are some motivating reasons to take a prenatal vitamin:

  • Minimal Risk of Birth Defects: This one is the major reason to take a prenatal vitamin. The underlying cause for this is the contained folic acid or folate. Sufficient folic acid in the initial pregnancy stages and even prior to the union of sperm and egg is likely to minimize neural tube defects and even the risk of anemia.
  • More Efficient Growth: The best prenatal supplement not only gives a healthier baby but also increases the chances of making her growth in the womb faster.
  • Curbed Nausea/Morning Sickness: Nausea is common during pregnancy. However, vitamin B6 aids in reducing it.

Which are the Best Prenatal Vitamins?

Your doctor is likely to suggest which prenatal vitamin you need. In case of complications or other health issues, a prescription prenatal is recommended or else over-the-counter ones are just fine. Although there are many options, the best prenatal vitamins shall have the best combination of all the required ones. Here are some common nutrients in them:

  • Vitamin A: For brain, eye, and respiratory development.
  • Vitamin C: Iron absorption and stress protection.
  • Vitamin D: Strengthening bones and teeth of the baby.
  • Vitamin E: Minimizing the risk of miscarriage and improving metabolism.
  • Vitamin K: For healthy healing and bone formation.
  • Vitamin B1: For brain and nervous system development.
  • Vitamin B2: Healthy skin and eyes.
  • Vitamin B3: For better digestion and less nausea.
  • Vitamin B5: Generating hormones and reducing leg cramps.
  • Vitamin B6: Reducing morning sickness and generating red blood cells.
  • Vitamin B7: For releasing energy from food.
  • Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid): Keeping birth defects away.
  • Vitamin B12: For blood formation and birth defect prevention.
  • Calcium: For bone development.
  • Iron: Carrying oxygen through blood.
  • Copper: For iron accumulation and better blood health.
  • Zinc: For fluid and copper balance, and better nerve and muscle functions.
  • Magnesium: Controlled blood pressure and fit birth weight.
  • Iodine: For better thyroid function, hearing, and fetal growth.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: For brain development pre and post birth.

How to Choose the Best Prenatal Vitamins

So, how do you choose the best when there are many prenatal vitamin supplements available in the market? Your individual requirements are likely to differ due to which it is ideal to ask your doctor to come up with this answer. However, here are some guidelines:

1. Get the Right Type

You need to choose between prescription and Over-The-Counter (OTC) options. While both have almost the same essential ingredients, the prescription ones often come with additional nutrients, such as more iron or omega-3s.

An OTC whole food option is ideal for most pregnant women. Additional supplementation is prudent on an individual basis. This is because each woman has some distinct needs.

2. Get the Right Nutrients

While the doses can differ from one woman to another, the key nutrients usually do not! The best prenatal vitamins are the ones that have the essential vitamins and minerals in right amounts, which are as follows:

  • Folic acid or vitamin B9 around 400-600 mcg, 4 mg for those with a family history of neural tube defects.
  • Calcium around 250 mg and around 950g from milk or other calcium-rich foods.
  • Iron around 30 mg for acting as the building block for cells of the little one and to avoid anemia
  • Iodine around 150 mcg as per the recommendation of American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  • Vitamin B6 of 2 mg.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids around 8 to 12 ounces (not from the fish as it may not be safe during pregnancy) or 200-300 mg of DHA.
  • Copper around 2 mg.
  • Vitamin A not exceeding 800 mcg, the best source being beta carotene.
  • Zinc around 15 mg.
  • Vitamin D around 400 IU minimum.
  • Vitamin C around 85 mg and below 2000 mg.

3. Check the Approval Status

It is wise to choose a vitamin product that comes with a seal of approval. Many groups individually check prenatal vitamins by considering strict criteria. For those who need assurance for fulfilling high standards, a seal from Consumer Lab, NSF International, or United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is reliable.

Nevertheless, such an approval is not mandatory. Thus, if there is no such seal, it does not mean that the product is not good. In case of any suspicion, it is best to consult your doctor.

4. Check the Level of Stomach Comfortability

In simple terms, it means to find out if your stomach can digest it well or not. At times, a prenatal vitamin can end up in making your stomach face a hard time. In case the issue lies in swallowing, it is wise to choose a product having a slicker coating. You can even try a liquid or chewable form although you may need to try it for ensuring a suitable taste.

In case of nausea, consider consuming the pill with some snacks or a meal, or prior to going to bed. If the issue persists, tell your doctor to suggest another brand. In case of gas, constipation, or diarrhea, get rid of a pill with additional iron and have plenty of liquids, fibers, and exercises.

The 7 Best Prenatal Vitamins

1. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal

best prenatal vitamins - garden of live vegetarian

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This one is a dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian multivitamin for both mother and baby even during lactation. It has no fillers and binders but only beneficial nutrients such as probiotics, vitamin D, zinc, iron, B complex, vitamins C and E, ginger, and zinc. It is made from raw whole foods. There is more of D3 but less of vitamin K.

2. Zahler Prenatal +DHA

best prenatal vitamins - Zahler Prenatal DHA

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This one is another complete supplement with 25 nutrients including DHA (300 gm), all mixed in the right quantities for metabolism and safety. It is ideal for pregnancy with easily assimilated methylated folate. However, some black dots may occur due to a reaction between vitamin C and iron.

3. New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin

best prenatal vitamins - New Chapter Perfect Prenatal

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This one is ideal for those who are looking for organic, herbal option. It is the first of its kind to be made with non-GMO, sugar-free, gluten-free ingredients for supporting preconception. There is also no animal gelatin or synthetic fillers. It comes with 100% daily iron intake amount, probiotics, and sprouts. Moreover, the product is gentle on an empty stomach and triggers no nausea. However, there is soy in it, which can be allergic.

4. Rainbow Light Prenatal One

best prenatal vitamins - Rainbow Light Vitamins Prenatal One

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This one seems to be the most affordable one. It is a food-based option having no animal products, gluten, colors, sweeteners, preservatives, or flavors. There is plenty of folic acid (800 mcg), vitamin B complex, iron, vitamin A and C, plant-source enzymes, ginger, raspberry, spirulina, probiotics, and even vitamin D2, all of which supports overall development. It is also easy on the stomach.

5. Nordic Naturals – Prenatal DHA

best prenatal vitamins - Nordic Naturals - Prenatal DHA

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This is a non-flavored option and is mostly DHA, which is a vital omega-3 acid required during pregnancy. It is required in precise eye, cognitive, and nervous system development. The pills are around 500 mg in size and are tasteless due to which they are easy to swallow.

6. MegaFood – Baby & Me, Prenatal & Postnatal

best prenatal vitamins - MegaFood - Baby & Me

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This one is reliable for its high-quality standards namely, fresh food ingredients, no chemicals, and non-GMO nutrients. It contains an ideal cross-spectrum of essentials and is higher in vitamin D, has ample of vitamin B complexes, and holds vitamin K too. It is also a good holder of zinc, iron, and iodine, which are vital during pregnancy.

7. Rainbow Light Prenatal Petite

best prenatal vitamins - Rainbow Light - Prenatal Petite

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As the name suggests, this prenatal vitamin product has small, easy to digest pills. It has all the features of its big brother – Rainbow Light– but is more suitable to those having a delicate stomach. Unlike the latter, it comes with magnesium and potassium to relieve discomfort.


Regardless of the best prenatal vitamins you choose, ensure that you do so with the help of your doctor. Further, do not replace your healthy diet with it. It is only a supplement, not a substitute.