Ten Tips On How To Choose The Right Prenatal Vitamin For You
Written by: Co-Founder Maria Davi
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Palmer, DO
In this article
★ HERE ARE 10 TIPS ON WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PRENATAL VITAMIN
Planning your pregnancy (or finding out you’re pregnant) is one of the most exciting moments of your life. Many women dream about this moment and naturally want to give their baby the best life possible. There isn’t a better time to start taking care of your baby than now, before conception.
A daily prenatal vitamin is one of the easiest and most effective way you can get a head start. Think of this daily pill as your new birth control pill, ensuring your body is plenished with the essential vitamins your body needs to conceive and nourish you and your soon-to-be baby through a healthy pregnancy.
★ WHY ARE PRENATAL VITAMINS IMPORTANT BEFORE, DURING & AFTER PREGNANCY?
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.
Your soon-to-be 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 regimens usually aren’t enough to provide all key vitamins that nurture you and your baby’s growth and development. After all, your main focus becomes wanting to give your baby the best possible start in a healthy new life.
The benefits of prenatal vitamins are that they contain concentrated amounts of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help ensure you’re well-equipped 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.
★ HERE ARE 10 TIPS ON WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PRENATAL VITAMIN:
Choosing the best prenatal vitamin shouldn’t be stressful. Here’s an excellent guide to help you choose the right one for you!
1. START EARLY, START NOW
According to the ACOG, “You should take a daily prenatal vitamin before pregnancy and continue taking it after you get pregnant. Prenatal vitamins contain all of the recommended daily vitamins and minerals you will need before and during your pregnancy, including folate and iron. Prenatal vitamins also may help reduce nausea and vomiting if you start taking them before you get pregnant.”
While most assume once they’re pregnant is when to start a daily prenatal vitamin, it is ideal to start three months (or more) prior to conception. They help nourish and support you and your body for healthy development and growth for your baby. A well-nurtured body is essential from the moment of conception and throughout pregnancy.
2. CONSIDER YOUR PERSONAL ALLERGIES, PREFERENCES, OR MEDICAL NEEDS
Always listen to your body when taking vitamin supplements. There is a variety of vitamins on the market, so if your daily prenatal isn’t sitting well with you, try a different brand. If you have allergies, look for one without that ingredient. There are even smaller capsule prenatal vitamins available, if that’s one of your preferences.
3. OBSERVE THE DAILY SERVING SIZE.
Consuming the daily serving size listed on the bottle is ideally how your body and baby get the nutrients listed on the nutritional facts. The serving size can vary depending on which brand you choose.
Always keep in mind; taking less than the daily recommended serving may cause deficiencies and may increase the risk of birth defects. You may think you may benefit by taking more than the daily recommended serving, but this isn’t true. You may think it is beneficial to take more than the daily recommended servings, but this can actually be harmful to you and your baby.
4. MORE ISN’T NECESSARILY BETTER
As we just mentioned, taking more than the daily recommendation can be harmful for both you and your baby. There are two different types of vitamins, fat-soluble and water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are readily absorbed into your body tissue, and any excess is quickly excreted through your urine. Fat-soluble vitamins are dissolved into your body’s fat, and excess is stored in the body’s liver and fatty tissues. Making fat-soluble vitamins toxic if consuming more then your daily recommended amount.
Prenatal vitamins should enhance your intake of nutrients and vitamins along with your everyday food intake. Always remember vitamin supplements aren’t meant to replace real food but instead add additional nutritional benefits.
5. AVOID GUMMIES
After hours and hours of research, we discovered many studies on how effective the potency of vitamins is in the gummy form. Gummy vitamins lack specific essential vitamins and minerals and may 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.”
6. PAY ATTENTION TO THESE KEY NUTRIENTS:
Look for a daily prenatal vitamin with these key nutrients.
Folate helps to prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord like spina-bifida. During the first trimester, the baby’s nervous system begins to develop; therefore a sufficient amount of folate is vital. Pregnant women need 600 mcg of folate daily.
DHA is an active form of omega-3 fatty, which is vitally essential for your developing baby’s brain & retina during pregnancy. It is the critical component of the cell membrane in the brain, eyes, and nervous system. It also supports the development of the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brain stem. Pregnant women need at least 200 mg of DHA.
Try choosing a daily complete prenatal with DHA multivitamin.
Vitamin D may be needed to help maintain egg quality. Also, vitamin D deficiencies are linked with infertility. Women with high vitamin D levels are more likely to conceive than women with a vitamin D deficiency. The vitamin D receptor is present in many organs, such as the ovaries and uterus. When bound to its receptor, vitamin D has control over the genes involved in making estrogen. Estrogen is a hormone needed for reproduction. Pregnant women need 200 mcg of Vitamin D daily.
Choline is necessary for early brain development and the communication between cells and gene expression. It also helps produce the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which is essential for memory, mood, muscle control, and other. Pregnant women need 450 mg of choline daily. Pregnant women need 450 mg of choline daily.
Iron is needed to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues. Pregnant women’s iron needs double because they need to make more blood to supply oxygen to the baby. Iron deficiency during pregnancy can result in fatigue and increases moms’ risk for premature birth, low birth weight baby, and even postpartum depression. Pregnant women need 27 mg of iron daily.
Calcium helps build the baby’s bones and teeth by working together to help ensure bone development. By week 20, your little babe’s bones are visible in the ultrasound. Calcium also helps mom’s circulatory, muscular, and nervous system run normally. Pregnant women need 1,000 mg of calcium daily.
Vitamin B6 is involved in brain development during pregnancy, as well as immune function. It can also help ease nausea and morning sickness. Pregnant women need 1.9 mg of vitamin B6 daily.
7. KEEP IT TAKING THEM AFTER BIRTH
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 and minerals 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.
8. PAY ATTENTION TO OTHER/INACTIVE INGREDIENTS
When choosing any supplement vitamin, pay attention to what is listed under other and/or inactive ingredients. This is where companies list additives and other unwanted ingredients that aren’t the best for you and your developing baby. These additives are meant to give a more pleasant appearance and may be used as preservatives to ensure the drug lasts longer.
Here is an example of some additives we found in a brand of prenatal vitamins recommended by doctors. We are shocked to see acrylic resin!
9. FIGURE OUT IF YOU CAN STOMACH IT
Every prenatal vitamin is made differently and might be tough on your stomach. Some may make you feel nauseous, while others may make you constipated.
If your prenatal vitamin makes you feel nauseous, we recommend taking your daily supplement with a snack or meal or before bed. If that doesn’t help, you should consider a different brand. Try consuming one with vitamin b6, which can help with nausea and morning sickness.
Iron in your prenatal vitamin can make you constipated or gassy. We recommend drinking plenty of fluids, eating fiber-rich foods like dried apricots, and daily exercises to help bowel movements. If that doesn’t help, you should consider a supplement with less iron. Iron is one of the critical fundamentals nutrients your body needs to develop a healthy baby. If you decide to take a prenatal without iron, make sure you’re naturally consuming your daily iron intake through food.
10. CHOOSE WISELY
Not all prenatal vitamins are created equally nor tested for safety for pregnant women. You should always choose a prenatal vitamin that covers all your daily nutrients needs and has been tested for purities and potency. We know it is hard to consume all your daily nutrients needs naturally through food. That’s why it is ideal for taking a daily prenatal vitamin to help reassure you get your daily nutritional needs. Just remember, a daily prenatal supplement won’t make up for eating poorly.