Best Prenatal Vitamins of 2020

Prenatal vitamins are an essential part of a healthy pregnancy.

Have you just found out you’re pregnant? Some women take time to get their heads around the whole idea while others kick into mommy-gear almost instantly. But whether you’re still in shock or simply excited beyond belief, you need to start thinking for two (or more!).

Getting proper nutrition early on in your pregnancy is critical for a baby’s healthy growth. Us moms have to start caring for our little ones right from day one, well before they’re born, and part of that is creating the best environment for them to grow and thrive.

However, finding the best prenatal vitamins isn’t easy when there are so many things to consider. Exactly how much folic acid do you need? Are prenatal vitamins all that different from regular vitamins?

In this article we will explain exactly what you should be looking for in a good prenatal vitamin, and which are our favorites currently on the market.

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The Different Types of Prenatal Vitamins

Building a baby is hard work. When you consider that your growing child is relying exclusively on you to support them as they grow, you can appreciate how important it is to take in enough of the right nutrients. Though a healthy diet will go a long way, most of us will need a little help from a supplement to make sure we’re ticking all the boxes.

Your healthcare provider may prescribe a prenatal vitamin, particularly if you have unique nutritional requirements. But if you’re in good health and more focused on just covering your nutritional bases, you can easily buy vitamins over the counter without a prescription.

Broadly, there are two main types:

Synthetic vitamins

Mama Bird Prenatal Multi+, Methylfolate (Folic Acid), Methylcobalamin (B12),...
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You’ll have probably seen these for sale at drugstores or supermarkets. These are an excellent, affordable choice for the woman who doesn’t want to get a chemistry degree just to choose a vitamin. These can also have an impressive ingredients list but beware: not all prenatal vitamins are created equal.

Synthetic vitamins are isolated, single nutrients manufactured artificially, and come in pill, powder, capsule or liquid form. The cheaper brands may be of variable quality. A high quantity of a certain vitamin on the label is less impressive if you know your body never absorbs half of it.

  • Usually one pill a day, so it’s easy to take.
  • Inexpensive, and no extra cost if you were already taking an OTC vitamin. Simply switch to the prenatal one.
  • Comprehensive vitamin intake all in one pill.
  • Popular and readily available.
  • Some brands will have higher standards and quality control than others.
  • Synthetics are generally less biologically active than real food and may be harder to digest, absorb and retain.

Food-based vitamins

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal Multivitamin, Whole Food Prenatal...
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Understandably, many moms are dedicated to going as natural as possible during those all-important early months of pregnancy. It can feel strange to follow a healthy, whole-food diet every day but then pop a pill that was synthesized in a lab. Though synthetic vitamins are chemically identical to ones found naturally in the diet, our bodies don’t always react to them the same way.

This is because when you eat real food, you also take in a whole symphony of vitamins, as well as enzymes, minerals and cofactors that support proper absorption. Food-based supplements try to mimic this. Though it depends on which vitamin you’re talking about, most are better absorbed when they’re part of a whole-food diet or a food-based supplement.

  • Easier on digestion.
  • A less risky alternative than synthetics, some of which can be dangerous in higher doses.
  • Are probably manufactured to a more rigorous standard.
  • More likely to include the essential nutrients not found in synthetic OTC pills.
  • More expensive than synthetics.
  • The research is still ongoing as to whether food-based vitamins are always a benefit, or always better than synthetics.

What to Look For In The Best Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins contain many vitamins and essential nutrients, but there are 4 key components that pregnant women need to look for. If your vitamin doesn’t contain one of these nutrients, you’ll want to keep searching until you find one or supplement with a second vitamin that specifically addresses that need.

The essential components of a prenatal vitamin and their recommended dosages are:

  • Folic acid – 500mcg: One of the first nutrients you’ll want in your vitamin is folic acid, because it’s non-negotiable when it comes to preventing birth defects.
  • Iron – 17mg: You’ll need to ramp up your iron consumption during pregnancy (1). For one thing, you’ll need more iron for your baby, but you’ll also have more blood in your body while you’re pregnant, and you’ll need the extra iron to make hemoglobin.
  • Calcium – 200 to 300mg: Your baby needs calcium to grow their bones from scratch, but if you don’t have enough in your system, your bones will suffer the deficit (2).
  • Iodine – 150mcg: Your baby needs iodine for brain and nervous system development. Every prenatal vitamin should have iodine in it (3).

Other important vitamins and minerals to look for are:

  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – 3mg: Helps prevent fatigue and is responsible for eye, brain and respiratory fetal development.
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – 2mg: Responsible for healthy skin and eye development in your baby.
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) – 20mg: Helps ease pregnancy nausea and maintain healthy digestion.
  • Vitamin B12 – 6mcg: Promotes healthy neurological fetal development and lowers the risk of neural tube defects, intrauterine growth retardation, and early miscarriage.
  • Vitamin C – 70mg: Being pregnant will put your body under more stress than usual. Vitamin C protects against stress, and helps you better absorb iron (4).
  • Vitamin D – 400iu: If you’re pregnant during the winter, or you don’t spend any time in the sun, supplementing vitamin D will help strengthen you and your baby’s teeth and bones, as well as help your body use calcium and phosphorus.
  • Vitamin E – 10mg: It can reduce the risk of miscarriages (5).
  • Zinc – 15mg: Helps support nerve and muscle function while maintaining a healthy fluid balance in your body.

Best Prenatal Vitamin Reviews of 2020

Choosing a good brand is a little thing that makes a big difference. Pregnancy can change your appetite and eating habits in bizarre ways. Or maybe you’re one of those women who can’t keep much food down for weeks at a time during their pregnancy.

But whatever weird cravings or aversions your pregnancy surprises you with, you can relax and know that you’re covering your bases and getting the nutrition you need.

1. Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin

Best Once-a-Day Prenatal Vitamin

Rainbow Light Prenatal One Prenatal Vitamins + Superfoods, Probiotics, Non-GMO,...
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There are dozens of micronutrients to think about when contemplating your perfect, balanced diet. But reading those complicated labels can quickly get overwhelming. Once-a-day style vitamins are all about getting what you need quickly and all in one go, so you can get to worrying about other things.

Moms-to-be who have a hard time remembering to take pills will like that this one only has to be taken once a day. Rainbow Light Prenatal uses superfood extracts as a base for its nutrients, and has high standards of manufacture.

For moms who struggle with unpleasant side effects from iron supplements, this one uses an iron source called iron amino acid chelate, which is meant to be gentler and non-constipating.

In addition to folic acid and iron, this supplement also contains a broad spectrum of other vitamins, including a citrus bioflavonoid complex, choline, inositol, and boron.

Moms who struggle with allergies will be happy to know that this vitamin doesn’t contain wheat, gluten, sugar, dairy or lactose, nuts, soy, shellfish or yeast. It also doesn’t contain any animal ingredients and has no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, additives or preservatives.

Additional Specs

Nutrition Label

Folic Acid800 mcg.
Iron27 mg.
Calcium50 mg.
Iodine290 mcg.
  • You only have to take one pill a day.
  • Affordable.
  • Well-rounded nutrition.
  • Doesn’t contain DHA.
  • It doesn’t contain enough calcium, so you’ll need to make sure to get it elsewhere.
  • The pills are quite large and may be difficult to swallow.

2. New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins

Best Organic Prenatal Vitamin

New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins, 96ct, Organic Prenatal Vitamins, Non-GMO...
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Just because you have to take a prenatal vitamin, it doesn’t mean you have to settle for the first one you see. If organic ingredients are important to you, don’t compromise on your principles. You’ll be able to find several quality organic options to choose from.

These vitamins are pricier than some other brands, but they have some features that may make them worth the money to health-conscious women.

Because of the way these vitamins are prepared and fermented, they’re a lot more digestible, and you could even take them on an empty stomach. They’re made with organic ingredients and a broad range of whole-food, non-GMO vitamins to support you and your growing baby.

For women who are worried about allergens, this vitamin does contain fermented wheat and fermented soy. But they’re gluten-free, sugar-free, appropriate for vegetarians, and they don’t contain animal gelatin.

Additional Specs

Nutrition Label

Folic Acid600 mcg.
Iron27 mg.
Calcium75 mg.
Iodine150 mcg.
  • Made from quality ingredients.
  • Won’t upset your stomach and non-constipating.
  • Low on synthetics.
  • Also an excellent vitamin for those trying to conceive.
  • Pricey.
  • They don’t contain DHA, or enough calcium or iodine, so you’ll need an additional supplement for those.
  • You have to take them three times a day.
  • The new formula contains folic acid and not the superior folate.

3. Megafood Prenatal and Postnatal Supplement

Best Whole Food Prenatal Vitamin

MegaFood, Baby & Me, Prenatal and Postnatal Vitamin with Folic Acid, Iron,...
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It's almost impossible to get a supplement that contains no synthetic elements at all, but if you're concerned about getting nutrition that's not artificial or corrupted from its natural state, you'll want a multivitamin that relies primarily on whole food sources. A good whole food supplement will usually also contain herbs or a mix of fruit and vegetable antioxidants for an extra boost.

Megafood is a company that goes out of its way to provide supplements that are as close to eating natural food as possible. They contain a full vitamin profile, all from whole plant sources, and minerals bound to brewer’s yeast. They also contain organic ginger to ease that morning nausea gently.

This company is part of a growing trend of vitamin manufacturers who really care about the bigger picture. They’re a “certified B corporation,” which means they’re committed to business practices that are socially and environmentally sound.

Additional Specs

Nutrition Label

Folic Acid600 mcg.
Iron18 mg.
Calcium75 mg.
Iodine150 mcg.
  • It contains naturally occurring folate instead of folic acid.
  • Kosher, non-GMO and gluten-free.
  • Tested for pesticide residues.
  • Pills are very large and need to be taken 4 times a day.
  • Requires refrigeration.
  • It contains herbal ingredients (like raspberry leaf and chamomile) which you may want to avoid.

4. Nature's Way Alive! Prenatal Gummy Vitamins

Best Gummy Prenatal Vitamin

Nature's Way Alive! Prenatal Premium Gummy Multivitamin with DHA, Full B Vitamin...
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Chewable vitamins are not just for kids! If swallowing giant pills isn’t your cup of tea, gummy vitamins may be the best choice for you. These taste delicious — almost like gummy bears — and work just as well as the kind you swallow. Just make sure to chew them fully and stick to the dosage, as tempting as it may be to eat a few more.

These vitamins are an affordable option for moms-to-be. For women who are adamant about having DHA in their vitamin, Nature’s Way has it – a full 75 mg in each serving. The omega-3 fatty acids are derived from algae, which could be a plus if you’re worried about the harmful effects of lower-quality fish oil supplements.

They come in assorted flavors for moms who like a little variety, and the gummies are a good choice for those who have problems swallowing giant pills whole. Included is an “orchard fruits and garden veggies power blend” rich in antioxidants, and fruit pectin rather than gelatin.

Moms who are on the lookout for allergen information will be glad to know that there are no artificial flavors, dairy products, eggs, gluten, peanuts, preservatives, wheat, or yeast, making them allergy-friendly for virtually everyone.

Additional Specs

Nutrition Label

Folic Acid800 mcg.
Iodine150 mcg.
  • Contains DHA.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Easy on the stomach.
  • Doesn’t contain any iron or calcium.
  • You have to eat three gummies a day.
  • The taste might not be to everyone’s liking.

5. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Prenatal Vitamin

Best Prenatal Vitamin With Probiotics

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal Multivitamin, Whole Food Prenatal...
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Doctors are learning more about the benefits of probiotics every year. But your probiotic intake doesn’t have to be confined to eating container after container of yogurt. You can also get some in your prenatal vitamin and that should benefit both you and your baby.

This product is made from raw whole foods and designed for both pregnancy and lactation. They contain a broad spectrum of vitamins, plus ginger, which may help with morning sickness and may be soothing for digestive issues.

The probiotics in these vitamins are great not only for baby’s development but to support your gut health, too. Garden of Life Vitamin Code also contains 23 organic fruits and vegetables and all the antioxidants and vitamins contained in them.

There are no synthetic binders, fillers, flavors, colors, additives or sweeteners, plus the manufacturing process doesn’t use high heat that could denature any active enzymes. The iron used in this product comes from all-natural food sources which should help cut down on nausea or constipation, plus everything is GMO-free.

Additional Specs

Nutrition Label

Folic Acid800 mcg.
Iron18 mg.
Calcium125 mg.
Iodine150 mcg.
  • Can be taken on an empty stomach.
  • Contains naturally occurring folate, rather than synthetic folic acid.
  • It’s a good choice for moms who are worried about clean ingredients.
  • A little pricey compared to some other brands.
  • You have to take these three times a day.
  • Contains no DHA, and not enough calcium.

6. DEVA Prenatal Vitamins One Daily

Best Vegan Prenatal Vitamin

Deva Vegan Vitamins Prenatal Multivitamins, 90 Coated Tabs Bottle
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If you’re not willing to compromise on your principles just because you're pregnant, you’ll be happy to know there are some great cruelty-free alternatives out there. These can help you give your baby the nutritional start they need without feeling guilty about the cost to animals or the environment.

This product is inexpensive, very easy on the stomach and contains 90 vitamins all derived from plant sources. The ingredients list also makes it a godsend for those women with allergies to soy, gelatin or fish.

These don’t use artificial colors or preservatives, and they’re gluten-free. They contain a full complement of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin D and B vitamins, which are essential for maintaining energy levels. High amounts of B12 are great for mom and baby, and the tablets don’t have any strong taste or smell.

Additional Specs

Nutrition Label

Folic Acid550 mcg
Iron21 mg.
Calcium100 mg.
Iodine150 mcg.
  • Very inexpensive.
  • Unlike many other brands, they contain DHA.
  • You only have to take them once a day.
  • Vegan-friendly.
  • Some people have complained of black spots forming on the pills after some time.
  • Can cause nausea.
  • Contains chamomile flower, which may be unsafe for pregnancy.

7. Mama Bird Prenatal Vitamin

Best Vegan Prenatal Vitamin with Natural B12

Mama Bird Prenatal Multi+, Methylfolate (Folic Acid), Methylcobalamin (B12),...
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If you're avoiding animal products you already know the importance of supplementing with B12. However, two common sources of supplemental B12 (methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin) are not quite the same. Cyanocobalamin is the cheaper, more stable synthetic form that absorbs quickly. However, it has some drawbacks, and if you're avoiding it, you'll want a prenatal supplement that contains only methylcobalamin.

Methylcobalamin is the natural form of B12 your body uses from the diet, and though it’s absorbed less thoroughly than the synthetic kind, more of it tends to stay in the body. Research is unresolved on which is the best kind, but if you’re a vegan/vegetarian and want to play it safe, Mama Bird makes their product with natural B12.

These vitamins also contain probiotics and digestive enzymes, so even though they don’t have DHA or much calcium, they’re still an excellent all-round vitamin with high-quality ingredients. Even if you’re not a vegan or vegetarian, you might enjoy that every ingredient in these vitamins has been carefully sourced from high-quality synthetics or whole foods where possible.

Additional Specs

Nutrition Label

Folic Acid800 mcg.
Iron18 mg.
Calcium100 mg.
Iodine150 mcg.
  • A high amount of natural folate.
  • Vegan.
  • Whole food sources.
  • No DHA.
  • Not enough calcium.
  • The tablets are quite large.

8. Spectrum Essentials Prenatal DHA

Best DHA Prenatal Supplement

Spectrum Essentials Prenatal DHA, 200 mg, 60 Softgels
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If you've already settled on the best prenatal multivitamin for you, then the next question is how you plan to get all the DHA you need. Traditionally women took fish oil but if you're pregnant, you might want to avoid the risks associated with this and opt for a pregnancy-safe prenatal DHA.

This supplement from Spectrum is exclusively designed to fill the biggest gap you’d get from taking an ordinary prenatal vitamin: your DHA. It’s not a multivitamin so it doesn’t contain any of the other essential vitamins and minerals; you’ll need to take a broad-spectrum multivitamin for that.

Nobody would argue about the health benefits of eating oily fish or taking fish oil supplements, but the sad truth is that you can often end up consuming more than just Omega 3s when you eat fish or fish oil today. Heavy metals such as mercury and other ocean contaminants can accumulate in fish, making lower quality fish oils a potential risk for you or your baby.

A non-fish oil source of DHA is the safer option. These vitamins give you a good portion of DHA plus 240 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are both vital for brain and eye development in your baby (6).

Additional Specs

Nutrition Label

Omega-3 fatty acids240 mg.
DHA200 mg.
  • No dreaded “fish burps.”
  • Truly complete nutrition.
  • Affordable.
  • Some women have complained that the company frequently ships soon-to-expire products.
  • It can cause nausea.
  • The smell may be off-putting.

9. The Honest Company Whole Food Prenatal Vitamins

Best Prenatal Vitamin with Digestive Enzymes

The Honest Company Whole-Food Based Prenatal Vitamins | Non-GMO | Gentle on...
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Let's be honest: pregnancy can do some outrageous things to your digestion; even women with easy pregnancies can experience the occasional stomach upset or constipation. If your gut is a little on the sensitive side, you won't want to worsen the problem with a hard-to-digest prenatal vitamin. Instead look for one that comes with built-in digestive enzymes that will be gentler on your system.

The Honest Company is big on being gentle, which is good news when you’re pregnant and feeling a little more susceptible to nausea, bloating or stomach trouble.

The formula contains a full spectrum of vitamins, as well as a blend of whole food fruits and vegetables, such as papaya, pineapple and kiwi. These contain naturally-derived enzymes to not only make the tablets easier to digest, but to boost your overall gut health.

This brand is a great option for women who are struggling with nausea, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn or bloating. Plus, its high iron content can be attractive to those moms who have difficulty with anemia or who are avoiding animal products.

Additional Specs

Nutrition Label

Folic Acid650 mcg.
Iron27 mg.
Calcium150 mg.
Iodine150 mcg.
  • It contains more calcium than most brands on the list.
  • Non-constipating.
  • High quality, whole-food ingredients.
  • No DHA.
  • Quite expensive.
  • Higher in iron than most vitamins, which may be a problem for some women.

10. Enfamil Expecta Prenatal Vitamins

Best Prenatal Vitamin with DHA

Enfamil Expecta Prenatal Multivitamin and DHA Dietary Supplement, 60 tablets (30...
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You may have noticed how uncommon it is for prenatal vitamins to contain any DHA, a vital nutrient for any pregnancy. Because of the way that vitamin pills are manufactured, it can be hard to make a true all-in-one, and women are usually advised to get a multivitamin and a separate DHA supplement. But for extra convenience, consider getting a 'kit' that contains both pills in one pack.

This pack from Enfamil was made with this very issue in mind. It’s easy to purchase one box and know that you’re getting everything you need, even if not exactly in the same pill.

These vitamins are very high in both iron and calcium and provide a hefty dose of folic acid. They also contain an impressive amount of vitamin D and essential choline. If you’re not interested in deciphering vitamin bottle labels and taking a handful of giant pills every morning, this prenatal duo covers all your bases with one simple purchase.

Additional Specs

Nutrition Label

Folic Acid800 mcg.
Iron28 mg.
Calcium300 mg.
Iodine150 mcg.
  • No dreaded “fish burps.”
  • Truly complete nutrition.
  • Affordable.
  • Some women have complained that the company frequently ships soon-to-expire products.
  • Can cause nausea.
  • The smell may be off-putting.

When Should I Start Taking a Prenatal Vitamin?

Ideally, you want to start taking one long before you try to conceive your baby. Why so early? Prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, which can help prevent birth defects like spina bifida (7).

But for them to give your baby all the protection he needs, you’ll need to have folic acid in your system during conception. Babies grow at a rapid rate in the first few weeks – long before you even know you’re pregnant.

What Time of Day Should I Take Them?

Take your multivitamin at whatever time you want as long as you can remember to take it consistently daily (8). If you suffer from morning sickness, you might want to take it later in the day or with a meal. If it’s easiest for you to take it right before bed, you can do that as well.

When I was pregnant, I made sure to take mine with something to eat. If I didn’t and I took it on an empty stomach, I felt nauseous for a couple of hours afterward.

Do Prenatal Vitamins Have Side Effects?

Just because something is good for you doesn’t mean you can take it without any side effects. Your system may be a little more delicate when you’re pregnant, and this could mean that certain ingredients in a multivitamin don’t agree with you. However, almost all side effects are not dangerous, so much as uncomfortable.

Try to push through any discomfort for a few days but don’t feel bad about switching if a pill isn’t working for you. If one brand of vitamin doesn’t suit you, another one will.

Some of the more common side effects are:

  • Constipation: Pregnant women often struggle with constipation – it’s just one item on a laundry list of complaints women have about pregnancy (9). The iron in your vitamin may be making things much worse in this department.
  • Weird colored poop: Once again, iron proves to be a double-edged sword. Yes, you need it to remain healthy throughout your pregnancy, but it can also cause some issues. Luckily, changes in poop color are nothing to worry about, and if you see green or extremely dark stool, know that iron is to blame and that nothing is wrong (10)!
  • Nausea: A lot of things can make pregnant women feel nauseous, including smells, food, and even prenatal vitamins (11). If you are struggling with a sick feeling when you take your vitamin, you might want to switch brands to one that doesn’t contain quite as much iron or try taking your vitamin with food to see if that helps.
  • Loss of appetite: Pregnant women may not be as hungry as usual in the first trimester of pregnancy because of morning sickness. But your lack of hunger might be caused by your vitamin as well (12). Prenatal vitamins can cause your appetite to take a nosedive, especially if accompanied by nausea.

What About Other Side Effects?

When taking prenatal vitamins, many women report experiencing trouble with:

Could the vitamins be to blame for these nasty side effects?

It’s important to remember that prenatal vitamins are much like ordinary vitamins, only with some key additions to make them more suited to a pregnant woman’s needs (13). They have high folic acid and iron, but typically less vitamin A, for example. So, any side effects will likely be related to their high content of the nutrients pregnant women need, for example, iron.

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Though you may start noticing some unwanted side effects when you begin taking one, you can’t be sure if these effects are from the vitamins or from merely being pregnant. Your body is undergoing massive changes. Experiencing acne, fatigue, anxiety or changes in appetite are all quite common as your body adjusts to its new hormonal state.

If your side effects are bothering you, switch vitamins and see if things improve. If your symptoms persist, it’s time to consult your doctor, as it’s likely not your vitamins that are the cause.

Who Should Not Take Prenatal Vitamins?

Certain brands aren’t right for every woman. There are instances when women shouldn’t take one or should talk to their doctor about finding an alternative.

Don’t take one (unless your doctor approves them) if you:

  • Have had an allergic reaction in the past to any ingredient in the brand you select.
  • Have iron-related problems. Some women have high iron levels and it could be dangerous to take any additional iron (14).
  • If any medication you’re currently taking interacts with any of the vitamins or nutrients in your brand.

How Do I Know Which Vitamin I Need the Most?

During pregnancy, all nutrients are important for your health and the health of your growing baby. The most important ones are iodine, iron, folic acid, DHA, calcium and vitamin D.

If you’re generally in good health, a quality over-the-counter vitamin will be more than enough to make sure you don’t develop any dangerous deficiencies during pregnancy. However, you might like to pay special attention if you have any known deficiencies to begin with or have unique nutritional needs.

Women with absorption problems, digestive difficulties or those following diet restrictions might like to check with their doctors if there are any extra supplements they can take. If necessary, your doctor will prescribe a vitamin unique to your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are prenatal vitamins covered by FSA?

Yes, they are generally FSA eligible, because they are a recognized way to address any potential deficiencies in expectant mothers and reduce the incidence of birth defects (15).

If you’re prescribed a particular vitamin to address a more urgent nutritional need, you will likely need a letter of medical necessity (LMN) from your doctor if you want reimbursement from FSA. This should be no problem, however, as these supplements are understood to “treat, cure, mitigate or prevent” a disease.

Are prenatal vitamins regulated by the FDA?


No. Essentially, vitamins and supplements are not regulated by the FDA. The FDA has classified nutritional supplements as a class of food and not as medicine, and so they are not held to the same standards. 

While the FDA has not given its seal of approval to dietary supplements, it doesn’t mean that the vitamins on the market are not OK to take. It does mean, however, that you’ll have to do a little research on your own to determine whether a pill is safe for you to take.

It’s true that less rigorous standards mean that some companies can make dubious claims about their products, or else include ineffective or even harmful ingredients in their vitamins. But there’s no need to get paranoid about poison in your pills or assume that everything made in China contains lead. Take your time researching a new product, and if in any doubt, visit your doctor.

When do I stop taking prenatal vitamins?

Although they are “pre” natal vitamins,  there are a few good reasons to keep taking them even after you’ve given birth. You may not be growing a baby inside you anymore, but if you’re breastfeeding, you’re growing a baby outside you!

Keep taking your prenatal vitamin if you’re breastfeeding. The extra nutrition will go straight to supplying milk for your baby, and you may “top up” on any depleted stores you incurred throughout your pregnancy.

If you’re done breastfeeding, it’s recommended to stop taking them and switch back to a normal vitamin (16). It may seem like a good idea to give yourself a little extra, but the high vitamin content could actually do more harm than good, or lead to toxicity.

One exception is if you’re actively trying to conceive another baby. Check with your doctor, but if you intend to get pregnant again, you can usually keep going with your vitamin schedule into your next pregnancy.

Can prenatal vitamins help with hair growth?

The rumor is that being so rich in nutrients, they can be used as a kind of beauty hack to give you glowing skin and thick, shiny hair. Is it true, though?

Well, in the short term, yes. Particularly for women who may be a little deficient in iron or calcium anyway, a prenatal vitamin can give a “boost.” But the truth is that this boost is nothing that can’t be achieved without a regular iron or calcium supplement.

For women who aren’t pregnant or trying to conceive, and who don’t have any nutritional deficiencies, they can cause more harm than good. Think constipation, fatigue, iron toxicity, nausea, and diarrhea. Not pretty!

Taking a prenatal once in a while won’t cause any problems, but they don’t belong in your permanent beauty routine. You’ll get more benefit in the long run from taking a vitamin designed for non-pregnant women.

The Bottom Line

While every mom is looking for something, we think the best prenatal vitamin is Rainbow Light’s Prenatal One.

They’re an affordable choice at a time when many moms are strapped for cash because of all the extra costs associated with pregnancy. They also contain all the recommended essential vitamins moms need during pregnancy.

However, women who are looking for a vitamin that has DHA included may want to seek out a different brand such a DEVA or Nature’s Way, or add on another vitamin that supplies just DHA.

Not all women are the same, so if you are having issues finding a brand that works for you, keep searching. What about you? Which brand is your favorite? We’d love to hear any tips or tricks you have when it comes to prenatal nutrition, so please share or comment below!

Headshot of Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Reviewed by

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN is an oncology nurse navigator and freelance medical writer. Mary has 4 years of experience as an officer in the Navy Nurse Corps. including emergency/trauma, post-anesthesia, and deployment medicine.
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