15 Best Prenatal Vitamins For 2021
Written by: Co-Founder Amanda Capriglione, RDN, CDN
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Palmer, DO
Inside this article
These are the 15 best prenatal vitamins for 2021
Let’s be real, does anyone really eat only nutritious food and take vitamins daily?
Kudos to you if you do! Many people (like myself) are on the go and barely look at the nutritional facts on the back of snacks and food items. Sometimes everyday life just gets in the way, especially for mothers and soon to be moms, who need all the nutrition and vitamins during pregnancy (and/or trying to conceive). As soon as we feel hungry, we just grab the closest food to munch on and continue with our day without worrying about getting our daily intake of Vitamin A, B, or C. So what’s the best way to get all your vitamins and nutrients?
This is where Prenatal Vitamins come to the rescue!
What exactly are prenatal vitamins?
Your developing baby is completely dependent on you for nutrients and vitamins, which is why pregnant women are advised to take a daily prenatal vitamin and follow a healthy diet. Most food regimes usually aren’t enough to provide you with all the key vitamins that nurture your baby’s growth and development. Don’t you want to give your baby the best possible start in a healthy new life?
Prenatal vitamins contain concentrated amounts of vitamins and minerals that help ensure you’re well-equipped with the essential nutrients for the healthy development of your baby. A soon-to-be mom’s daily intake requires key nutrients such as methylfolate (folate), iron, calcium, DHA (omega-3 fatty acid), and much more. These nutrients are necessary for the proper embryonic development, fetal growth, and overall health of you and your developing baby.
What are the benefits of daily prenatal vitamins?
Think of prenatal vitamins as an insurance policy to ensure your health throughout pregnancy and the development of your baby. Not only do they aid your baby’s growth and development, but they’re also known for lowering the risk of defects and complications during pregnancy and delivery.
Vitamins like Niacinamide (vitamin B3) and Pyridoxine HCI (vitamin B6) can help decrease your risk of nausea and vomiting. (Source) Likewise, Methylfolate (folate) is crucial during pregnancy and it’s known to help reduce your developing baby’s risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida, which involves the baby’s brain, spine, and nervous system. It is also essential for the rapid cell growth of your placenta and the production of red blood cells. (Source) To optimize these benefits, you should start taking prenatal vitamins prior to conception.
When should I start taking prenatal vitamins and for how long?
Having a healthy pregnancy is one of the best ways to promote a healthy birth. While most assume once they’re pregnant is when to start a daily prenatal vitamin, it is ideal to start before trying to conceive. A well-nurtured body is essential for you and your developing baby from the moment of conception and throughout pregnancy.
The added benefits of taking a daily prenatal vitamin after the 40 weeks of pregnancy period are essential for the lactating mother, as the productions of milk deplete her body of many nurturing vitamins including Iron and Calcium. Additionally, they support and regulate hormones during your fourth-trimester aka postpartum, and help your body heal and return to your pre-pregnancy self again. (Source)
What side effects do prenatal vitamins have that I should know about?
Most women experience little or no side effects from taking daily prenatal vitamins. The most common side effect is constipation due to Iron. Check out our blog on natural solutions to help with this side effect.
Most vitamins and nutrients you find in your daily prenatal vitamin are water-soluble. This means any excess will turn your urine neon yellow, so don’t be alarmed! Please take note that additional supplementation may only be taken with prenatal vitamins when directed by your doctor, OB, or Midwife.
What should I look for in a prenatal vitamin?
Shopping for a prenatal vitamin at your local drugstore and/or online can be extremely overwhelming. Many may seem similar when comparing daily recommended amounts, but in reality, they aren’t.
THESE ARE THE KEY VITAMINS AND NUTRIENTS RECOMMENDED DURING PREGNANCY ACCORDING TO ACOG
Calcium - (1,000 milligrams) - Builds strong bones and teeth
Iron (27 milligrams)- Helps red blood cells deliver oxygen to your fetus
Iodine (220 micrograms) - Essential for healthy brain development
Choline (450 milligrams) - Important for the development of your fetus’s brain and spinal cord
Vitamin A (770 micrograms) - Forms healthy skin and eyesight & helps with bone growth
Vitamin C (85 milligrams) - Promotes healthy gums, teeth, and bones
Vitamin D (600 international units) - Builds your fetus’s bones and teeth; Helps promote healthy eyesight and skin
Vitamin B6 (1.9 milligrams) - Helps form red blood cells; Helps the body use protein, fat, and carbohydrates
Vitamin B12 (2.6 micrograms) - Maintains nervous system; Helps form red blood cells
Methlyfolate (600 micrograms) - Helps prevent birth defects of the brain and spine; Supports the general growth and development of the fetus and placenta
YOU SHOULD ALSO LOOK FOR PRENATAL VITAMINS WITH THE FOLLOWING INGREDIENTS
Selenium (60-70mcg) - An antioxidant important in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, and DNA synthesis (Source)
DHA (200 milligrams) - Helps your baby’s brain and eyes develop (Source)
Besides folate, iron, and biotin, your prenatal should contain both vitamin D and calcium which work together to help promote the development of the baby's teeth and bones. “Vitamin D now has extensive research supporting its role in immune function, healthy cell division, and bone health. Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus.”(Source). Also important are vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, B vitamins, zinc, and iodine to help support mom's immune system.
Remember, deficiencies in any nutrients and vitamins may lead to low birth weight, premature labor, neural tube defects, pre-eclampsia, neonatal hypocalcemia, bone fragility, etc. (Source)
What food contains the nutrients found in prenatal vitamins?
The best natural sources of vitamins and nutrients are found in food. While this is ideal, the amount of food required to meet the daily nutritional value necessary for optimal health would be a full-time job planning meals. You should still know what foods to eat more of to support your growing baby.
HERE’S WHICH FOODS CONTAIN THE MOST VITAMINS AND NUTRIENTS RECOMMENDED DURING PREGNANCY ACCORDING TO ACOG:
Calcium - Milk, cheese, yogurt, sardines, dark green leafy vegetables.
Iron - Lean red meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, iron-fortified cereals, prune juice.
Iodine - Iodized table salt, dairy products, seafood, meat, some bread, eggs.
Choline - Milk, beef liver, eggs, peanuts, soy products.
Vitamin A - Carrots, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes.
Vitamin C - Citrus fruit, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries.
Vitamin D - Sunlight, fortified milk, fatty fish such as salmon and sardines.
Vitamin B6- Beef, liver, pork, ham, whole-grain cereals, bananas.
Vitamin B12 - Meat, fish, poultry, milk (vegetarians should take a supplement).
Folate - Fortified cereal, enriched bread, and pasta, peanuts, dark green leafy vegetables, orange juice, beans. Also, take a daily prenatal vitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid.
Selenium - Pork, beef, turkey, chicken, fish, shellfish, and eggs. Some beans and nuts, especially Brazil nuts, contain selenium.
DHA - Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines
★This is why a good prenatal vitamin with natural DHA will smell a little fishy.
Always remember that prenatal vitamins are a supplement to a healthy diet for a soon to be mom, not a replacement.
Why gummy vitamins are not on our list.
After hours and hours of research, we discovered many studies done on how effective is the potency of vitamins in the gummy form. Gummy vitamins lack certain essential vitamins and minerals and can contain unreliable amounts than what is reported on their supplement facts label.
As stated by a Times.com article, “It’s a lot harder to make a good gummy than it is to make a tablet or capsule,” says Dr. Tod Cooperman, president of ConsumerLab.com, a private company that conducts safety and quality testing of consumer products. In a 2017 supplement analysis, ConsumerLab.com found that four out of five gummy products contained more or less than their listed amounts of ingredients. Gummies were the most likely kind of supplement to fail testing, the analysis found. “Many companies seem to have trouble controlling the amounts of ingredients in each gummy,” Cooperman says. To solve this problem, he says some gummy makers spray vitamins and nutrients onto the outside of the finished candy—like a coating. There are also “stability problems,” meaning the gummies can lose potency over time. “This leads some manufacturers to put in a lot more of certain vitamins than labeled to ensure the product provides at least 100% of the labeled amounts throughout its shelf life,” he explains.”
THESE ARE THE 15 BEST PRENATAL VITAMINS FOR 2021
1. Feed Mom & Me Complete Prenatal with DHA
The best thing about this prenatal vitamin is that it is formulated by an OBGYN & Registered Dietitian and contains 22 key natural nutrients to provide immune support for your baby and nutrition for mom. Contains Folate (methylfolate form), DHA, Iron, Calcium, Choline, Biotin, Zinc, Magnesium, and Selenium. This vegetarian formula is free of artificial colors or flavors, chemicals, preservatives, dairy, soy, or gluten, and non-GMO.
They use organic agave inulin, which supports digestive health and promotes normal bowel function. It also supports bone health by increasing the body’s absorption of calcium and magnesium. Each of their capsules contains B6, Organic Ginger, and Peppermint Powder, which can help alleviate morning sickness and any nausea.
One of the MAJOR perks of these small and easy to swallow pills is that each nutrient is 3rd party certified for purity & potency and manufactured in an FDA registered facility. This powder-form capsule can be opened and added to a smoothie for those who have a hard time swallowing pills.
Adding to that it is a women-owned company. Who better than a female would understand pregnancy!
2. Zahler Prenatal DHA -
Zahler Prenatal DHA is a complete prenatal multivitamin that includes 25 vitamins and nutrients plus 300mg of DHA. We love this large dose of DHA, which is crucial for the development of your baby’s brain.
Their formula is sourced directly from nature containing pure ingredients.
3. NATURELO Prenatal Multivitamin with DHA
We love that Naturelo has all the vitamins and nutrients recommended by the ACOG. They are Non-GMO, Soy Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian, Vegan(Without Animal By-products), made free of Preservatives, Coloring, or Flavoring.
It is also made with DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid crucial to your baby’s brain development. Many prenatal vitamins on the market are missing this key ingredient.
4. Actif Organic Prenatal Vitamin
This prenatal vitamin is 100% organic-sourced, non-GMO vitamins, and is allergen-free. It includes 100% Natural Methyl Folate, choline, iron, calcium, DHA, EPA which are Omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Vitamin IQ Whole Food Prenatal Vitamin
We love that this prenatal vitamin is backed by an OB and is made with natural folate(methylfolate) over synthetic folic acid. Your body has to convert folic acid into dihydrofolate(DHF) and then into the end form of folate, tetrahydrofolate (THF) before utilizing it for many key functions.
Vitamin IQ is also Non-GMO and free of soy, gluten, yeast, gelatin, dairy, sugar, preservatives, coloring, or flavoring.
6. Best Nest Wellness Mama Bird AM/PM Prenatal Multi+
Mama Bird AM/PM Prenatal Multivitamin is free of soy, yeast, fish/shellfish, sugar, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, nuts, GMOs, or dairy/lactose. They only use ingredients that are time-tested, never trendy, and Vegan.
This multivitamin is made with organic herbs, probiotics, a digestive enzyme blend, methylated vitamins, and minerals, PLUS 300 mg of choline.
7. Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin
We love that Rainbow Light promotes immune health with a high potency source of zinc. A mom with a strong immune system is a healthy mom.
Vegetarian and gluten-free, these prenatal multivitamins contain a digestive support blend and plant-sourced enzymes and are gentle enough to be taken on an empty stomach. Their formula contains no artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, or sweeteners. No gluten, wheat, milk, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, fish, or shellfish.
8. The Honest Company Prenatal Once Daily
The Honest Company Prenatal Once Daily vitamin is non-GMO and helps support a healthy pregnancy and fetal development. They offer a balanced combination of vitamins and minerals to support moms’ growing nutritional needs during pregnancy. It includes key nutrients like folate and iron, which support babies’ healthy growth and development, along with vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, choline, and B vitamins.
9. MegaFood, Baby & Me 2 Prenatal Multi
One of the many perks of this prenatal is that it’s doctor-formulated. Megafoods Prenatal Multivitamin is formulated with brewers yeast, the same yeast used to make bread and beer, which is naturally high in B-Vitamins and Selenium.
These pills are Non-GMO Project Verified, vegetarian, tested for 125+ herbicides & pesticides, certified gluten, dairy, and soy-free. They’re also Certified Kosher!
10. Thorne Research - Basic Prenatal
Thorne product is made without gluten or other major allergens (eggs, tree nuts, peanuts). This product also contains no soy, dairy, yeast, shellfish, or fish. Contains the key nutrients that support a healthy pregnancy, including vitamins A, B12, and folate, and the minerals magnesium, iron, and iodine.
Formulated to be gentle and effective and to reduce nausea.
11. Pink Stork
Pink Stork delivers a doctor-formulated prenatal vitamin made without gluten, wheat, dairy, sugars/sweeteners, soy, genetically modified ingredients. Includes real folate, vegetarian DHA (from algae), B-vitamins, iron.
Their founder and chief executive officer is a woman and 82% of employees are women. Their mission statement is “To bring Glory to God by supporting our customers and their families, our employees, and our partners. To provide hope and positively impact everyone who comes into contact with Pink Stork..”
12. New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins
New Chapters Perfect Prenatal Vitamin delivers 100% Daily Value of Iron, Folate, B Vitamins, Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, A & Zinc. Gentle on an empty stomach, eases morning sickness with a dose of Organic Ginger.
Made with Certified Organic Vegetables & Herbs, Non-GMO Project Verified, 100% Vegetarian, Certified Kosher, Certified Gluten-Free by NSF, No Added Sugar, No Animal Gelatin (added to some prenatal gummy vitamins).
13. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal
This Whole Food Multi is made from nutritious, organically grown, raw fruits & vegetables, which naturally add supporting antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients. Includes a blend of probiotics and enzymes to support healthy digestion.
This Whole Food Multivitamin is Third-Party Certified Non-GMO Project Verified, NSF Gluten-Free, and Kosher—it's also RAW, which means no high heat, synthetic binders, fillers, artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, or additives.
14. Premama Prenatal Vitamin
A tiny, easy-to-swallow prenatal multivitamin with all the good stuff. Take one of these non-GMO prenatal vitamins per day and you’ll get your full quota of premium ingredients including Folate, gentle Iron, vegan DHA, plus all additional essential vitamins and nutrients you need.
15. Ritual Buy
We love that they’re transparent with their 12 traceable ingredients. They’re vegan friendly, gluten and major allergen-free formula are Non-GMO Project Verified and contain no artificial colorants or synthetic fillers.
There is a citrus tab in every bottle that keeps things fresh, so taking your vitamins daily is a more enjoyable experience.