Ob-Gyns Recommend These Exact Prenatal Vitamins

Photo credit: Jewelyn Butron

Getting all the vitamins and minerals you need by eating only nutrient-dense foods can be difficult, especially if you’re currently pregnant or trying to conceive. Chances are, at this stage of life, you are very invested in supporting yourself and your baby. Of course, you can continue with your standard multivitamin, but doctors want you to seriously consider taking a prenatal vitamin.

Specially designed to fill in the gaps in your diet, ob-gyn Dr. G. Thomas RuizMD says that a good quality prenatal vitamin ensures that all the nutrients your baby needs to grow are in your system, especially those like magnesium, DHA, zinc, calcium, vitamins B and C and folic acid.

Check out some of the best doctor-recommended prenatal vitamins here:

And, no matter how healthy you are, it’s likely that your diet alone won’t provide you with all the vitamins needed for your baby’s growth and development, according to Dr. Tiffany Woodus, MD, obstetrician-gynecologist. “Most women are simply not getting enough of the essential nutrients that have been shown to give babies the best possible start in life.”

To supplement what you already get from your diet, see below for the best prenatal vitamins in 2022, according to doctors (gynecologists).

1. Best Prenatal Vitamin for Iron: Ritual Prenatal Vitamins

This vitamin does not contain calcium, which can help you better absorb the iron it does contain, which could be especially important if you are anemic. “Iron and calcium compete for absorption,” says Dr. Alyssa Dweck, MD, obstetrician-gynecologist. “I recommend getting iron from a vitamin and calcium in your diet,” she says, because it’s much easier to get calcium from food than iron. Dr. Dweck adds that these vegan vitamins have a minty flavor which is a nice and refreshing bonus for women with nausea and morning sickness.

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2. Best Prenatal Vitamin for Iodine: TheraNatal One Prenatal

This prenatal contains iodine, a mineral essential for hormone regulation, fetal growth and brain development, says Dr. Wright. She notes that ideally you want to get about 150 micrograms of iodine per day and appreciates that TheraNatal Vitamin is independently tested, making it a high quality brand.

The only major downside: these aren’t cheap. By far one of the more expensive OTC options on the list, you may be able to get these for less with your doctor’s prescription.

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3. Best prenatal vitamin for folic acid: Thorne Basic Prenatal

Ob-gyn Dr. Felice Gersh, MD likes this one because it contains even more folate (a full milligram more, in fact) than most vitamins, making it ideal for women who don’t consume enough leafy green vegetables in their diet. “It’s also high in vitamin D and provides a healthy mix of calcium citrate and malate, although it takes three capsules a day to get those amounts,” says Dr. Gersh.

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4. Best Affordable Prenatal Vitamin: Garden of Life Vitamin

As well as being a good source of vitamin D, this also offers a blend of vitamin A, which is known to benefit your eyes (and those of your fetus) according to the WHO. It even contains ginger to soothe nausea, probiotics that support a healthy immune system, and an organic blend of vegetables. “It’s a great choice for women looking for a very affordable option without unhealthy binders or fillers,” adds Dr. Gersh.

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5. Best Prenatal Prenatal Vitamin for Iron: OB Complete One

This prescription option recommended by Dr. McDonald stands out for its iron load (40 mg, to be exact), which is great because according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, your body needs more iron during pregnancy to help produce more blood that will carry oxygen to the fetus. She simply warns that you’ll want to be sure to avoid eating or drinking dairy products within 30 minutes of taking this vitamin, as calcium can interfere with iron absorption.

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6. Best Small Prenatal Vitamins: Prenate Mini

If even the word “vitamin” scares you (hello, huge horse pills), Dr. McDonald recommends Prenate Mini, a micro-sized pill that provides all the essential nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy. Of particular note is its large amount of DHA (350mg), which should save you from having to take a DHA supplement.

Quick reminder: DHA is a type of omega-3 fatty acid (you know, the brain-boosting fat commonly found in fish). According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in fetal brain development before and after birth, which is why supplementing with DHA is extremely important.

7. Best Gummy Prenatal Vitamin: Smarty Pants Prenatal Formula

Gummy vitamins aren’t just for kids. These contain 18 essential vitamins, all of which play a role in promoting fetal growth. Additionally, Dr. Woodus says iodine is essential for healthy brain development (the recommended daily allowance is 220 mcg), and these contain 290 mcg.

8. Best Prenatal Vitamin for Choline: MegaFood Baby & Me 2

“Choline is important for the development of the baby’s brain and spinal cord,” says Dr. Woodus. These prenatal vitamins from MegaFood contain 300 mg. The recommended daily amount is 450 mg, but Dr. Woodus says the nutrient can also be found in foods like milk, eggs, peanuts and soy products to fill you up daily.

9. Best Prenatal Vitamin with Fish Oil: Vitafusion Prenatal Gummies

This prenatal formula includes essential vitamins and minerals and provides an excellent source of folic acid along with 50 mg of omega-3 DHA, says Dr. Minkin. Plus, the included fish oil has been tested for mercury and PCBs, two things it says can be toxic and cause neurobehavioral issues.

She says DHA can help support your baby’s brain development, while folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects, and multivitamins with vitamin D support bone development, all in one easy gummy form. to take.

10. Best Prenatal Prenatal Vitamin for Nausea: Vitafol Prenatals

Vitafol is a must-have prescription for Dr. Sandy Dorcelus, DO, gynecologist at NYU Langone Hospital. Specifically, Dr. Dorcelus likes Vitafol pills to be small and easy to swallow. Plus, they’re enteric coated, which basically means they’re easy to digest. According to her, about a third of her pregnant patients complain of nausea from prenatal vitamins.

That said, if you are anemic, taking anti-epileptic drugs, or have ever had a birth with neural tube defects, Dr. Dorcelus recommends taking an extra iron supplement with this vitamin.

What are prenatal vitamins and why are they important?

Prenatal vitamins are a specially formulated multivitamin for someone who is pregnant or trying to have a baby, explains Dr. Katharine O’Connell White, MD. They contain specific nutrients and minerals that are safe and beneficial to your body whether you are currently pregnant or trying to be.

They are also more specific about the amount and dosage of certain vitamins you get. For example, Dr. White explains that certain vitamins, such as vitamin A, should be taken in lower doses during pregnancy because excessive consumption can harm the developing fetus.

In addition to supporting your baby’s growth, some supplements may reduce the risk of certain conditions for you and your baby. “Prenatal vitamins can help reduce your risk of nausea, birth defects, and premature labor. These benefits are maximized when prenatal vitamins are started before conception,” says Dr. Woodus.

What are the benefits of taking prenatal vitamins?

Folic acid is one of the most common and important ingredients in a prenatal vitamin, so you’ve probably heard of it before and (spoiler alert) will see a lot of it in this article. “We know that babies conceived while their mothers are taking folic acid are much less likely to suffer from a neural tube defect,” explains the obstetrician. Dr. Mary Jane MinkinMD.

She also explains that iron can be very important before conception since most women are anemic and will become more so during pregnancy. Bonus: iron also helps ward off fatigue during pregnancy.

And, getting enough vitamin D is above all important for BIPOC women because they are more likely to have a deficiency, says gynecologist doctor Lucky Sekhon, MD, an infertility specialist and reproductive endocrinologist. “Vitamin D is derived from sun exposure and skin absorption, which is limited in melanin-pigmented skin,” she says.

When should you start taking prenatal vitamins?

For your information, it is a myth that prenatal vitamins increase your fertilitybut Dr. Ruiz says ideally you should start taking a prenatal as soon as you start trying to conceive because your baby will benefit from the extra nutrients from the time of conception until the time you finish breastfeeding, she Explain.

However, if you’ve conceived unexpectedly and haven’t taken these prenatal vitamins before, don’t worry: three months before conception is the best case scenario, but it’s not a requirement to have a healthy pregnancy and baby, of course.

TLDR? Just start taking them as soon as you know you are pregnant or trying get pregnant, says gynecologist Dr Danielle JonesMD.

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Patricia J. Callender