What’s in your prenatal vitamin?

Erin Smid, the main plaintiff in the national case, had taken the vitamins for almost two years – before conceiving until the birth of her twins. It was only later that she heard the allegations that her pills contained lead. “I felt like I had been cheated,” said Smid, 37, a former lawyer and full-time parent in Lake Forest, Ill. (She received her paycheck for $ 3,000 the last fall.)

To be clear, lawyers have not claimed that the amount of lead found in Rainbow Light’s products exceeds California limits. In a statement, company representatives said that a daily dose of their prenatal vitamins contains less lead than what you would get with a standard serving of spinach. But the case highlighted a disturbing irony: Rainbow Light has only come under scrutiny because of potential false advertising, but consumers know even less about other companies that don’t. do not make such bold statements.

Doctors and industry representatives, including Mister, have recommended choosing vitamins certified by trusted third-party groups. Organizations like NSF International and American Pharmacopoeia Grant seals of approval after performing audits to ensure that supplement manufacturers comply with CGMPs and that their products meet established specifications. ConsumerLab.com also offers certifications and provides product reviews to subscribers. (In 2019, CVS announced that it would only sell products that have been tested by a third party.)

Some newer testing companies offer more specific data. Labdoor provides detailed reports on vitamin composition and Pure market assesses purity, but does not give exact numbers, making ratings difficult to judge.

Dr Nathaniel DeNicola, a physician at Johns Hopkins Medicine and environmental health expert for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said women should begin their vitamin search by asking their health care providers for recommendations and advice. help to answer other regulations and scientific questions. He recommended using third-party testing as “a final consideration among otherwise similar products”.

But that doesn’t mean the process will be easy. By the time my research was done, I had given up on finding the best prenatal vitamin and was ready to settle for pretty good. So I chose “Prenatal Once Daily” from The Honest Co., which got a “C-” from Labdoor (an intermediate rating) but advertised itself as tested, certified and “ultra pure”. While researching this article, however, I found that the pill had obtained an F from Pure Market. (The Honest Co. did not respond to questions about its scores or certification process.)

On top of that, I learned that medical authorities in Europe do not recommend prenatal multivitamins at all. Instead, patients are informed take pre-conception folic acid until the first trimester of pregnancy; and consider supplementing with vitamin D in the third trimester. “In most countries, that’s it,” said Jacky Nizard, president of the European Council and the College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “There are no guidelines for anything else.”

Patricia J. Callender