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Prenatal vitamins contain essential nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. The best prenatal vitamins to take during pregnancy depend on individual needs.

Below, we review the best prenatal vitamins.

The following table compares the prenatal vitamins above:

PriceQuantityFormDaily dosePrice per dose
MegaFood$36.99/$67.9930/60tablets2 tablets$0.49/ $0.46
Ritual$3960capsules2 capsules$0.70
tablets3 tablets$0.57
SmartyPants$26.87120gummies4 gummies$0.90
Nordic Naturals$28.9590softgels2 softgels$0.58
Nature Made$27.4960softgels1 softgels$0.46
Garden of Life$39.95 30tablets1 tablet$1.33

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: MNTchooses products that are clearly labeled and contain safe and high quality ingredients. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: MNTchooses products that clearly state the supplement dosage.
  • Serving size: MNTselects products in which manufacturers recommend a safe dosage.
  • Third-party testing: MNTchooses products that must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available certificate of analysis:MNTchooses companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) following receipt of its third-party lab results.

Medical News Todayfollows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

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Nutrient Comparison

Comparing the nutrients in each product can be a useful way of deciding which prenatal vitamins best suits a person’s needs.

According to one review, folic acid and iron are two of the most important nutrients that help promote healthy pregnancy.

% DV of vitamin B12% DV of calcium% DV of folate% of DV of iron% DV of vitamin C% DV of vitamin D
Smarty Pants168%0%100%0%40%200%
Nordic Naturals 0%0%0%0%0%67%
Nature Made186%86%222%100%71%167%
Garden of Life107%0%100%67%100%125%

A person can look for the following when purchasing a prenatal vitamin:

  • Nutrient ingredients: A person needs to take care to look at the nutrients within a product’s ingredient list. They should also discuss with their doctor provider which supplements they should be getting more of during pregnancy. Some key nutrients for prenatal vitamins may include iron, iodine, and folic acid.
  • Amounts of nutrients: A person needs to pay attention to the amounts of nutrients in a single dose. They need to be careful not to take more than the daily recommended dose for any nutrient while also ensuring they are receiving enough.
  • Third-party testing: Most legitimate vitamin brands will subject their products to third-party testing to help ensure quality and safety.
  • Dietary needs or preferences: If a person follows a specific diet, such as vegan or gluten-free, they need to check that the chosen supplement is suitable for this diet.

People may also wish to consider cost and type. For example, if a person has difficulty swallowing pills, they may wish to investigate prenatal gummy vitamins.

A person who is pregnant may benefit from taking prenatal vitamins. This is because nutritional requirements during pregnancy differ significantly from when someone is not pregnant.

Individuals need to start taking prenatal vitamins around 3 months before pregnancy if they are planning to get pregnant. Alternatively, a person should start taking prenatal vitamins as early as possible during pregnancy.

Prenatal vitamins can help ensure the body receives the necessary vitamins and minerals to support a healthy pregnancy. They assist the fetal growth and development and help prevent nutritional deficiencies in the fetus and the pregnant person.

Many prenatal vitamins provide a combination of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin B12: This vitamin plays a vital role in preventing neural tube abnormalities (NTAs), such as:
    • spina bifida, in which the spine does not develop properly
    • anencephaly, in which the baby is born without parts of its brain and skull
    • encephalocele, in which the membrane containing part of the brain protrudes from a hole in the skull
  • Vitamin B9 or ’folic acid’: This vitamin also helps to prevent NTAs. Medical experts recommend taking a daily dose of 400 micrograms of folic acid before pregnancy and at least during the first trimester. A 2019 study shows a possible link between continued folic acid supplementation during pregnancy and healthy infant cognitive development.
  • Iron: This mineral is important for helping to prevent fatigue and anemia during pregnancy. A doctor may prescribe iron supplements for pregnant people who are anemic or expecting twins.
  • Calcium: This mineral is important for developing healthy bones and teeth.
  • Vitamin D: This vitamin regulates levels of calcium and phosphate, ensuring healthy teeth, bones, and muscles.
  • Vitamin C: This vitamin helps to protect body cells from damage.

Learn more about what to look for in a prenatal vitamin.

A person may wish to receive professional advice before buying prenatal vitamins. According to research from 2020, over-the-counter prenatal vitamins provide an inadequate amount of choline and vitamin D. The same research says, on the whole, these vitamins provided too much folate and unknown amounts of iodine.

A person needs to speak with a doctor if they experience side effects while taking a supplement. A common side effect of some prenatal supplements is constipation. Some prenatal vitamins contain non-constipating iron to counteract this.

Other potential side effects of supplements include:

The following are common questions and answers about prenatal vitamins:

The best brand of prenatal vitamins depends on the individual’s needs. A person with existing health conditions or a restricted diet may have specific dietary requirements.

A person should be able to take their vitamins easily. Gummies and soft gels might be easier for those with trouble swallowing large pills.

A pregnant person may ask a healthcare professional to recommend appropriate choices.

It is common for doctors to recommend taking a prenatal vitamin, but not a specific brand of prenatal vitamin, unless the person has specific nutritional needs.

Most prenatal vitamins contain three vital nutrients — iron, iodine, and folic acid — but different prenatal vitamins will have various amounts of other nutrients. Variations in nutrient content make different brands of prenatal vitamins more suitable for some people than others.

A doctor can recommend a specific type of prenatal vitamin based on individual needs.

Generally, doctors do not recommend specific brands of pregnancy vitamins. However, important nutrients include:

  • vitamin C

  • vitamin D

  • vitamin K

  • thiamine (vitamin B1)

  • vitamin B6

  • folate (vitamin B9)

According to older research, taking any vitamins before or during pregnancy does not decrease the risk of pregnancy loss. However, there is evidence that multivitamins with iron and folate can decrease the risk of stillbirth.

In addition, the researchers of a 2023 study conclude folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements may help to improve pregnancy outcomes in those with recurrent pregnancy loss.

A person can choose a prenatal vitamin by checking the nutrients and amount of nutrients included within a product. They can consider consulting a doctor to determine which nutrients they should be getting more of so they can plan accordingly.

However, a person should check they will not be taking more than the recommended daily dose of any nutrient, especially if they are taking other vitamin products.

They may also wish to consider cost and type, particularly if they do not wish to swallow pills and would rather chew a gummy.

Seven weeks is not too late to begin taking prenatal vitamins. A person can aim to start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as they know they are pregnant.

Prenatal vitamins may support a healthy pregnancy and fetal development. A person could ask their doctor about options that suit their needs.

When choosing a supplement, a person could consider various factors, including pregnancy symptoms, dietary preferences, and food allergies or sensitivities. Individuals may also consider whether they would prefer to take vitamins in the form of gummies, soft gels, or tablets.

Anyone who experiences side effects while taking prenatal vitamins needs to notify their doctor immediately.