The 14 Best Prenatal Vitamins for 2022: Medically Vetted Picks

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Two pink lines!! Time to celebrate, get out your stretchy pants, and get serious about fueling your body.

Nutrition is a huge part of prenatal care, so you’ll want to consult with a medical professional to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to grow a human being.

One of the very first things on the checklist for parents-to-be is to start taking a daily prenatal vitamin. But… So. Many. Choices.

These vitamins will be part of your preggo routine for the next several months (and possibly beyond), so it’s important to choose one wisely. After all, they’re providing all the nutrients that you and your baby need to thrive that you aren’t able to get from your diet. BFD status!

In this article, we’ll cover all the basics you need to find the right prenatal supplement, whether you want to a version that’s organic, vegan, iron-free, or even subscription-based.

Here are our favorite, dietitian-approved prenatal vitamins for 2022.

Prenatal vitamins are specifically designed to support the increased nutritional demands of pregnancy on a person’s body, and to make sure that there’s an adequate supply of key nutrients available during fetal development to optimize the baby’s health as well.

One example of this is folate. Folate needs increase during pregnancy, and the babies born from people who don’t get enough are at increased risk of debilitating spinal cord abnormalities like spina bifida.

You can start taking prenatals as soon as you decide that you’re ready to start trying to have a baby. In fact, lots of people choose to take prenatals as their multivitamins all throughout their child-bearing years, just because they provide a good balance of nutrients to support fertility, pregnancy, postpartum needs, and optimal health.

We spoke with Lizzy Swick, MS, RDN, a private practice dietitian specializing in women’s health, about what to look for in a prenatal. “Oh boy! I could write a book on this,” she begins. Here are her recs, along with some other things we looked for in prenatals:

Bioavailability over buzzwords

“Don’t take a whole foods-based prenatal automatically assuming it’s better,” she says, “Some of the highest, medical-grade professional prenatals I advocate for are synthetic, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

She offers the example of methylcobalamin, the active form of vitamin B12, and pyridoxal 5′-phosphate, the active form of B6. These are the most efficient forms, but may not always be the ones included in a supplement.

Another example she cites is provitamin A (beta carotene from plant foods that can be transformed into vitamin A by the body) versus preformed retinol (active vitamin A) — she recommends a mixture of the two. “It’s not what you eat,” she explains, “but what you absorb that matters most.”

Designed with baby AND birthing parent in mind

“If a prenatal doesn’t have key micronutrients for fertility and pregnancy like zinc, copper, choline, K2, inositol, or vitamin E, keep shopping,” she says. “You want to ensure the proper doses are met, not just for baby, but for [the birthing parent].”

She explains that prenatals aren’t just for baby’s wellness, but for the birthing parent’s wellness too. “Her recovery and ability to successfully nurse, as well as lower her risk of autoimmune conditions,” she says, “relies on sound intake of a diet based on real foods and rounded out with key nutrients she may not be getting in her diet.”

The key nutrients for pregnancy

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it’s really important for pregnant people to get enough of the following:

Your prenatal should contain at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid, preferably in an active form — like 5-methyltetrahydrafolate (5-MTF). It doesn’t necessarily HAVE to contain all of the other nutrients (many prenatals don’t contain calcium), but make sure you talk with your healthcare professional about any possible gaps in your diet, and choose a prenatal that covers those gaps.

Finally, a note for our vegan friends: Vegan prenatals will typically always provide 100 percent of their vitamin A from beta carotene because active vitamin A is animal-based. Likewise, many vegan prenatals don’t contain choline.

High quality products

All of the products we’ve included on this list are either third-party tested to ensure their quality and purity, or — at minimum — manufactured in certified Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) compliant facilities. This means that the facilities meet the requirements of the FDA for pharmaceutical and supplement production, which we think is a MUST for any dietary supplement.

Best overall prenatal vitamin

Ritual Essential for Women Prenatal Multivitamin

  • Price: $$
  • Ingredients: vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO
  • Type: capsule
  • Dose: 2 capsules
  • Certifications: N/A
  • Pros: highly bioavailable nutrient forms
  • Cons: no vitamin A or B6

These prenatals are full of easy-to-absorb nutrients for you and your little one. While they don’t contain vitamin A or vitamin B6, these vitamins might be otherwise ideal — with a time-release capsule and ingredients that are easy to absorb. The products are third-party tested to ensure they’re free of contaminants, too.

Reviewers love the fresh citrus scent that helps combat nausea, but one reviewer says they seem to have a weird aftertaste.

Top-rated prenatal vitamin

Thorne Basic Prenatal

  • Price: $$
  • Ingredients: non-GMO, gluten-free
  • Type: capsule
  • Dose: 3 capsules
  • Certifications: N/A
  • Pros: contains calcium and provitamin A, bioavailable nutrient forms
  • Cons: 3 capsules per serving

This prenatal is one of only a handful that meet all of Swick’s recommendations, and it’s pretty well-loved by consumers — with more than 3,000 reviews and a 4.6-star rating on Amazon. It’s got both beta carotene and vitamin A, along with calcium. Thorne is a brand that’s used and recommended by many healthcare pros as well.

However, some reviewers say that the pills smell bad. Also, the B12 content in these is very high — especially for people with normal B12 status.

Best prenatal vitamin with whole-food ingredients

Ancient Nutrition Ancient Multi Prenatal

  • Price: $$
  • Ingredients: gluten-free
  • Type: capsule
  • Dose: 3 capsules
  • Certifications: N/A
  • Pros: bioavailable nutrient forms, contains calcium and provitamin A
  • Cons: no retinol, 3 pills per dose

This prenatal from Ancient Nutrition may be the best of both worlds — made from whole-food ingredients with highly bioavailable forms of the included nutrients. It also includes herbs to support chestfeeding and sleep, and even ginger to help with nausea.

Reviewers love this prenatal, and it’s got great reviews — although the daily dose consists of 3 fairly large capsules. Note: It can sell out regularly, so check their website on the reg to see if it’s up.

Best third-party certified prenatal vitamin

NatureMade Prenatal Multi+DHA

  • Price: $
  • Ingredients: gluten-free
  • Type: capsule
  • Dose: 1 capsule
  • Certifications: USP-verified
  • Pros: inexpensive, USP verification
  • Cons: nutrient forms aren’t highly bioavailable, no retinol

USP, short for United States Pharmacopeia, is a third-party certification org that grants their seal of approval to brands who meet their strict quality standards. These prenatals are USP-verified, AND they’re extremely inexpensive too — one of the least expensive options on this list. Double-win!

One thing to note, though, is that this supplement doesn’t include the most bioavailable version of certain nutrients, like folate.

Best organic prenatal vitamin

Garden of Life mykind Organics Prenatal Multi Organic Fruit + Vitamin Chews

  • Price: $$
  • Ingredients: organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free
  • Type: gummy
  • Dose: 4 gummies
  • Certifications: N/A
  • Pros: bioavailable nutrients
  • Cons: no choline

Prefer gummies? These gummies are immaculately sourced with organic whole-food ingredients, and the equivalent of nine whole fruits in each bottle. However, a full dose is 4 gummies — which may get old after 9 months, but could be more than worth it if you have a difficult time with giant prenatal pills.

Reviewers love these gummies too, and say that the taste is great. But be careful with shipping: Like any gummy, they may melt if shipped in hot weather.

Prenatal vitamin with most transparent ingredients

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal Capsules

  • Price: $$$
  • Ingredients: non-GMO, gluten-free
  • Type: capsule
  • Dose: 3 capsules
  • Certifications: N/A
  • Pros: contains vitamin K2, contains digestive enzymes
  • Cons: no preformed vitamin A

While the packaging just screams EXTRA to us, the Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal (also from Garden of Life) has a huge following. Just call it the premier-natal (with a premium-natal price tag). It’s made with whole-food ingredients (and tells you on the label exactly what each ingredient is sourced from), and also contains digestive enzymes to help your body break down the vitamins and minerals and absorb them more fully.

Among the many positive reviews, the only major complaint was regarding the number of pills. One dose is 3 pills daily, but they should be spread throughout the day to maximize absorption — so you really can’t check “take prenatal” off your to-do list until that third pill of the day.

Best prenatal vitamin that grows with you and baby

Perelel Prenatal Packs

  • Price: $$$
  • Ingredients: gluten-free, non-GMO
  • Type: assorted pills
  • Dose: 1 pack (5 pills/day)
  • Certifications: N/A
  • Pros: bioavailable forms, contains copper and choline, progressive subscription
  • Cons: expensive, 5 pills/day

Perelel is a really cool vitamin subscription service that offers specially-formulated vitamins that grow with you and your wee one based on your due date. They offer the Conception Support Pack, 1st Trimester Prenatal Pack, 2nd Trimester Prenatal Pack, 3rd Trimester Prenatal Pack, and the Mom Multi Support Pack.

Reviews, just like the pregnant people taking the vitamins, are GLOWING, but note that this is not a one pill a day situation — the packs contain up to 5 pills daily that should be taken with food.

Professional recommended prenatal vitamin

Klaire Labs Prenatal and Nursing Formula

  • Price: $$
  • Ingredients: gluten-free
  • Type: capsules
  • Dose: 3 capsules
  • Certifications: N/A
  • Pros: bioavailable forms, active vitamin A
  • Cons: 3 pills

Klaire Labs is a favorite brand among dietitians and other healthcare professionals who recommend supplements on the reg. These vitamins undergo stringent third-party testing, as well as in-house testing, so you can trust that the bottle contains exactly what the label states.

Many reviewers love these prenatals, but some say that they smell bad. Which is fair enough — what doesn’t smell bad when you’re pregnant??

Best iron-free prenatal vitamin

Best Nest Wellness Mama Bird Prenatal Multi+ Iodine and Iron Free

  • Price: $$
  • Ingredients: vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free
  • Type: caplet
  • Dose: 1 caplet
  • Certifications: N/A
  • Pros: bioavailable nutrient forms, contains active vitamin A
  • Cons: expensive

According to Swick, iron is not a necessity — especially if your iron status is fine after a blood test. Additionally, some people with thyroid health concerns need a prenatal that’s free of added iodine. This one is free of iodine and iron, but still made with high quality methylated nutrients that are easy for your body to absorb.

The price is not cheap, but the reviews are spectacular. Parents-to-be love these vites!

Best prenatal vitamin for sensitive stomachs

Mary Ruth’s Prenatal & Postnatal Liquid Multivitamin

  • Price: $$
  • Ingredients: non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free
  • Type: liquid
  • Dose: 1 fluid ounce (fl. oz.)
  • Certifications: N/A
  • Pros: suitable for most dietary needs, contains choline
  • Cons: expensive, thick consistency

Another liquid option, this one is great for the vegans out there. It’s also a rare vegan formulation that contains choline, which is definitely a plus. For first-tri (or beyond) nausea and morning sickness, it also contains stomach-soothing organic ginger root extract.

Reviewers like it waaay more than pills, but say that the consistency is surprisingly thick. It’s also a bit more expensive than other liquid prenatals.

Best fermented prenatal vitamin

New Chapter Advanced Perfect Prenatal

  • Price: $$
  • Ingredients: non-GMO, gluten-free
  • Type: tablet
  • Dose: 3 tablets
  • Certifications: N/A
  • Pros: contains vitamin K2 and copper
  • Cons: no retinol

Fermented? Yes, fermented. This supposedly helps your body absorb the nutrients better, and means that there are also healthy, pregnancy-safe probiotics chillin in each of these little tablets too. But don’t get any funny ideas about putting your current prenatal vitamins in a fermenting jar — just buy these pre-fermented ones and reap the benefits.

Reviewers love these vitamins, and it seems like New Chapter is really open to customer feedback — after a few complaints about the use of folic acid, the folate in these vitamins now comes from both methylfolate and fermented folic acid.

Easiest to swallow prenatal vitamin

Advanced Nutrition by Zahler Mighty Mini Prenatal

  • Price: $
  • Ingredients: gluten-free, non-GMO
  • Type: softgel
  • Dose: 1 softgel
  • Certifications: N/A
  • Pros: small size, bioavailable nutrient forms, contains vitamin A, copper, and K2
  • Cons: doesn’t contain choline

Is taking your prenatal yet another chore you just want to be able to breeze through with minimal interruption to your day? Can’t blame you there, and we’ve got the perfect pre for you! Mighty Mini, or MM for short, contains everything you and baby need in one tiny, easy-to-swallow softgel. Bonus: It even contains active vitamin A! One and done.

While reviewers love the convenient size, some complain that they can cause the dreaded fish burps.

Best subscription prenatal vitamin

Care/of Prenatal

  • Price: $
  • Ingredients: non-GMO, gluten-free
  • Type: tablet
  • Dose: 3 tablets
  • Certifications: N/A
  • Pros: active nutrient forms, inexpensive
  • Cons: no active vitamin A

Care/of, a popular supplement subscription service, offers an inexpensive prenatal in their lineup. It’s made to be easy on the stomach, but does require 3 pills daily for a full dose. Regardless, it boasts nearly everything a pregnant person needs — the only thing it’s missing is active vitamin A (and a massage).

With the prenatal, you may also be recommended a calcium pill, a probiotic, and an omega-3 pill. However, you can mix and match your supplements however you want in each monthly shipment.

Best vegan prenatal vitamin

Persona Prenatal

  • Price: $$
  • Ingredients: vegan, gluten-free
  • Type: capsule
  • Dose: 1 capsule
  • Certifications: N/A
  • Pros: contains vitamin E and copper
  • Cons: no choline

Persona is also a monthly vitamin subscription service. For pregnant people, they offer a vegan prenatal in an easy, once-daily dose. It’s also got a touch of ginger to help with nausea and morning sickness.

The packaging is lovely, the but the full prenatal pack may add some additional vitamins — increasing your daily pill count up to 6 daily. (However, you can edit your cart any way you want — so if you want just the prenatal pill itself, that’s totally possible.)

Look for highly absorbable forms of nutrients (that are easy for you to take, too)

Like Swick mentioned above, look for formulations designed to be highly bioavailable and easy to use and absorb. AND, don’t buy the most high quality, bioavailable, hockey puck-sized prenatal if you HATE swallowing pills.

Consider what you like and what you’re able to tolerate during your pregnancy, keeping in mind that there are tons of gummy and liquid options available now.

Don’t put all your irons in the fire

According to Swick, iron is NOT a necessity for every single pregnant person. “Each woman should have her practitioner run and review a complete iron panel,” she explains, continuing, “If she needs iron, look for an iron bisglycinate to better tolerate and absorb it.” But if your iron status is OK, you’ll be fine with an iron-free pre.

Be aware of pricing

Remember, you’ll need to shell out enough moolah for *at least* a 9-month supply of these vites. If budget is a concern, know that even the less expensive prenatal options will still provide the nutrients you and your baby need.

Here are some of the benefits of taking prenatals:

  • Provides nutrients despite your appetite (or lack thereof). The first tri is always a doozy. When we weren’t constantly nauseous, the only things we could stomach were carbs, carbs, and more carbs. Give us all the french fries, plz — but actually don’t, because if we see that much food at one time, we’re gonna vom. So, despite the roller coaster that is your appetite during pregnancy, your prenatal provides a consistent and reliable source of nutrients.
  • Helps prevent health concerns in baby. We’ve already talked about folate and developmental issues for a fetus, but there are other health concerns caused by a lack of nutrients too — although their cause may be a bit harder to pinpoint in some cases, after the baby is born. Regardless, it provides what your baby needs to keep them growing.
  • Keeps your body healthy while baby grows. Growing a baby is demanding, and when the placenta finds itself a little short of something, it will just straight up take that from the birthing parent’s body to make sure the little one gets what it needs. A prenatal helps ensure that you’ve got what you need and baby‘s got what they need. “Optimizing the mother’s nutritional status with key micronutrients is critical to ensuring her body is resilient during and after pregnancy,” Swick explains.

Do I need to take a prenatal vitamin?

If you’re pregnant, definitely. Pregnancy puts a lot of demands on your body, including increased needs of certain vitamins and minerals. Prenatals are specifically designed with this in mind, and may even help to reduce your baby’s risk of developmental issues for a fetus or health concerns.

Additionally, prenatals are perf for pre- and post-pregnancy support.

When is the best time to take a prenatal vitamin?

This one really depends. If your prenatal contains iron, it may cause tummy woes — esp if you take it on an empty stomach. Generally, taking a vitamin with food is best — regardless of which meal that is for you. When in doubt, follow the instructions on the product packaging or ask your OB-GYN during your next visit.

Are there any side effects of taking prenatal vitamins?

There can be. Nausea and digestive upset is one of the main ones, and typically iron is the culprit. It can be pretty hard on the stomach.

Additionally, if your prenatal contains DHA from fish oil, you may get a case of the fishy burps every once in a while. NBD, just a little gross — just like almost everything else when you’re pregnant (speaking from experience, here).

Can I get the same nutrients from my diet?

Technically, yes — but that would require a lot of planning and, TBH, a lot of salads and animal protein. (Two things that we absolutely despised during our pregnancies.)

Don’t get us wrong, you absolutely should strive for a balanced and healthy diet for you and your tater tot, but it’s still a good idea to take a prenatal to ensure all of your nutritional bases are covered.

Can I take prenatal vitamins if I’m vegetarian or vegan?

Definitely. In fact, many prenatals are at least vegetarian, if not vegan-friendly. To remove all doubt, look for one that’s certified vegan — somewhere on the label, it will have a “V” inside of a circle.

Some nonvegan ingredients to watch out for include fish oil, as well as softgel capsules — sometimes they’re made from bovine collagen instead of plant-based ingredients.

Can I take a prenatal vitamin if I’m not pregnant?

For sure. In fact, Swick recommends starting a good prenatal to support your fertility even in the planning stages. (You know, the fun part *wink*)

Prenatals also provide a good nutritional foundation for postpartum recovery, so your OB-GYN or other healthcare professional might advise you to at least “finish the bottle” after baby is born.

Finally, some people swear up and down that prenatals are the absolute best vitamins for hair, skin, and nail health. While your hair and nails tend to be pretty fab during pregnancy due to the power of hormones, you’ll have to see for yourself if prenatals help the trend continue.

Your prenatal is there to cover all the gaps in your diet for both your and your baby’s optimal health. Choose one that’s priced affordably for you and that considers your pregnancy and postpartum needs, in addition to baby’s health. And, make sure the one you pick has the nutrients you need (including 400 mcg of folic acid) in highly bioavailable forms that you can actually stand to swallow.

Patricia J. Callender