Getting all of your essential vitamins and nutrients is the best way to a well-balanced and healthy diet. However, being pregnant can make things a little more complicated. You’ll need some additional nutrients to help keep you healthy, and if your diet alone isn’t giving you everything you need, taking a prenatal vitamin can help. In fact, adding this extra step to your routine can help your baby develop and ensure you have a healthy pregnancy. Even before a parent-to-be starts showing noticeable changes during the first trimester, the bones, vital organs, limbs and eyes of the fetus are all forming. And during these dramatic changes, a prenatal vitamin will help make sure you’re getting enough key nutrients.
Most prenatal vitamins contain folic acid (also known as folate). Folic acid helps prevent major birth defects of the fetus’ brain and spine (called neural tube defects). Your body automatically directs minerals and other essential nutrients to help with development, so maintaining a healthy diet is key. Taking prenatal vitamins can also help ensure your body has all the building blocks and key nutrients it needs for a beautiful, healthy baby.
What prenatal vitamins do you need?
When growing a baby, there are few essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to ensure proper development and make sure your body is running optimally. There are many prenatal vitamins you can buy, but they should all include the same general ingredients:
- Folate or folic acid
- Vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D and E
Most prenatal vitamin formulas include all of the above and more, but make sure to check the ingredient label. Below are five of the best prenatal vitamins for every budget. We update this list periodically.
A good daily prenatal vitamin should contain the above nutrients, but it should also have at least 200 mg of DHA, an omega 3 fatty acid commonly found in fish. Some experts believe supplementing zinc and magnesium can reduce risks of complications during pregnancy. All of these ingredients can be found in Nature Made’s Prenatal Multi Plus DHA softgels, which you can buy at most grocery and drug stores at an affordable price.
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Rainbow Light’s Prenatal Daily Duo pack consists of two pills, the brand’s Prenatal One multivitamin and Prenatal DHA Smart Essentials capsules. One pack contains a month’s supply of each, though you can also buy the multivitamins and DHA supplement separately. One common complaint is that the vitamin can be hard to swallow due to its size, so it might not be a good fit if you dislike taking pills.
Garden of Life
This prenatal multivitamin is a great all-around dietary supplement, containing all the recommended vitamins and minerals sourced from natural ingredients. It also has the distinction of being gluten-free, non-GMO, Kosher, and vegetarian. But as such, it does not contain DHA. You can get that from the Garden of Life Oceans Mom Prenatal DHA, a fish oil supplement sold separately.
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If you have trouble swallowing pills, a gummy prenatal vitamin might be a good option for you. Smarty Pants’ prenatal gummy vitamin comes in four flavors, including lemon, strawberry, orange, and banana, and has most of the recommended vitamins and minerals, though in smaller amounts. This gummy multivitamin contains vitamin C, vitamin D3, zinc, folate, and omega-3 fish oil (DHA/EPA).
You’ll need to chew four gummies a day to get a full dose, which is why a bottle has 120 gummies, or enough doses for 30 days. Smarty Pants prenatal gummies have a small amount of DHA but no iron or calcium, so plan on getting those minerals elsewhere in your diet.
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At the upper end of the price spectrum is the MegaFood Baby & Me 2 Prenatal Multi. This prenatal supplement uses ingredients derived from natural sources, a fact that MegaFood claims makes it easier for the body to digest.
Like the Garden of Life multivitamin, the MegaFood Baby & Me 2 is a good option for those with dietary restrictions as it’s gluten-, soy- and dairy-free. It’s also vegetarian, non-GMO and Kosher. There’s no DHA in this one, but it can be paired with the MegaFood Baby & Me 2 Prenatal DHA and Choline supplement, sold separately.
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More for people who are expecting
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.