conceiving, getting pregnant, healthy pregnancy, pregnancy, prenatal supplements, vegan pregnancy, vegetarian, vitamins, Women's Health

Share with:

Best Over The Counter Prenatal Vitamins. Which Is Right For You?

If you’re trying to conceive or have just received a positive pregnancy test, you’re probably starting to research about prenatal vitamins. How do you know which ones are good quality? Should different women take different supplements?

In this post, we’ll outline what to look for and consider when shopping for a vitamin. You’ll also learn what nutrients you need in addition to a supplement. We finish off by suggesting 7 of the best over the counter prenatal vitamins.

What are Prenatal Supplements?

Prenatal supplements are a combination of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that should be taken before and during pregnancy and to aid in postnatal lactation.

What to Look for in a Prenatal Vitamin

To figure out which prenatal vitamins are good options, we first need to know how much of each nutrient we’re aiming for. According to WebMD, you should look for the nutrients below in a prenatal vitamin.

  • Folic acid: 400 mcg
  • Vitamin D: 400 IU
  • Calcium: 200-300 mg
  • Iodine: 150 mcg
  • Iron: 17 mg
  • Vitamin C: 70 mg
  • Niacin: 20 mg
  • Zinc: 15 mg
  • Vitamin E 10 mg
  • Vitamin B12 6 mcg
  • Thiamine: 3 mg
  • Riboflavin: 2 mg

Note: These amounts are not necessarily your daily requirements. These are simply guidelines on what to look for in a prenatal supplement. To figure out your daily requirements, click here.

Supplements Aren’t Enough

Most prenatal vitamins don’t contain your daily requirement for every nutrient. For example:

  • Most prenatal vitamins contain 400 IU of vitamin D when the recommended amount is at least 600 IU and up to 4,000 IU.
  • Most prenatal supplements don’t include DHA (a type of Omega-3), so you’ll need a separate supplement. Fish oil supplements are a good choice because they’re mercury-free.
  • Some prenatal vitamins don’t contain enough calcium. This is because adding too much to a supplement can make it unstable. In this case, you’ll either need to get a separate supplement or get calcium from your diet.
  • Many prenatal vitamins don’t contain enough iodine. However, you should be able to get the remainder from your diet since most table salts contain iodine.

Even though you’re taking a vitamin, it’s still important to pay attention to what you eat. First, know what percentage of your daily value your chosen supplement contains. Next, aim to fill what’s missing through your diet or additional supplementation.

Make an effort to know what nutrients are in your food and make smart choices. If you’re not sure how many nutrients you’re currently getting, our Essential Vitamins for Pregnancy post is a good place to start. The guide is a handy reference of nutrients you need, how much and what foods they’re found in.

What to Consider When Choosing a Prenatal Vitamin

The best prenatal vitamin is specific to your needs. To figure out which one you should purchase, you should consider a few things.

Prescription. Sometimes doctors will prescribe a woman a prenatal vitamin. If this is the case, take the vitamin you’re prescribed instead of an over the counter one.

Nausea. If you suffer from morning sickness, you may find that prenatal vitamins increase your nausea. If this is the case, you have other options. You may find chewable or liquid vitamins easier to stomach. There are also prenatal supplements made specifically for those who experience nausea or digestive issues.

Vegan or vegetarian. Many prenatal supplements contain animal byproducts. For example, if you purchase a vitamin containing iron, it may be made with heme iron (which comes from animals). Choose brands that are labelled “vegan prenatal vitamins” or “vegetarian” if you don’t want to compromise your diet.

Quality. Not all vitamins and minerals are created equal. Ensure that the prenatal supplement you choose has the quality versions of nutrients (for example, vitamin D3 instead of vitamin D). You may also choose to purchase a supplement with no additives such as artificial flavors or colors. To help assess quality, research the brand.

The label. When comparing brands, read both labels to see what daily value is provided for each nutrient. If you have any questions, bring the supplement into your doctor (or show them a picture of the label). Your doctor can help you figure out where the supplement falls short and how to meet all of your requirements.

Prenatal vitamins without iron. Common side effects of iron supplements include upset stomach and constipation. If you’ve taken iron before and have experienced this, you may want to consider prenatal supplements without iron and instead get the mineral from an easier-to-stomach source. Here are some options if you purchase a prenatal supplement without iron:

  • Purchase a more expensive and high-quality iron supplement designed to go easy on the stomach. Ask which one your doctor recommends.
  • Try blending your tablet or opening up the capsule and adding the contents into a smoothie. This may make it easier to digest.
  • Some people find that liquid iron is less likely to cause constipation. These brands can be found in health food stores.

Delivery method. How many times do you need to take the supplement a day? If you need to take it 4 times daily and you know you won’t commit to that, choose one you only need to take once daily.

Best Over The Counter Prenatal Vitamins

If your doctor doesn’t prescribe you a prenatal vitamin, you’ll need to compare a few brands to see which is the best for you. Below are a few of the best over the counter prenatal vitamins you can order online.

BrainStrong Prenatal 

BrainStrong prenatal contains all of the prenatal nutrients you need plus 350 mg of DHA—an omega-3 with numerous health benefits for you and your baby. Many prenatal supplements don’t contain DHA, giving this supplement an edge up.

Since the DHA is plant-derived, it doesn’t leave a fishy taste in your mouth. Some online reviewers say it’s a good choice for their sensitive stomachs. People who forget to take vitamins may also choose BrainStrong since you only need to take one capsule daily.

Vitamin type: Tablet

Number of vitamins in a bottle: 30

How many vitamins per day: 1

Price: $18.99 USD

Twinlab Pre-Natal Care Multi-Vitamin

This supplement contains 22 nutrients for you and your baby’s health. Two capsules will deliver your daily value (and more!) for most vitamins and minerals. Online reviewers say the supplement is easy on the stomach as long as you take it with a meal.

Vitamin type: Capsule

Number of vitamins in a bottle: 120

How many vitamins per day: 2

Price: $19.95 USD

Rainbow Light Certified Organics Prenatal Multivitamin

This organic prenatal vitamin is a great option for those who prefer to eat vegetarian. It doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, meaning it’s natural and high-quality. Anyone who is sensitive to lactose, gluten, yeast, milk, eggs, nuts, soy or fish can also feel safe taking this vitamin.

Vitamin type: Capsule

Number of vitamins in a bottle: 30

How many vitamins per day: 4

Price: $29.99 USD

Nature’s Way Prenatal Multi 

Nature’s Way Prenatal supplement is also free from additives and common allergens such as lactose, wheat and yeast. If you experience stomach issues from vitamins, you may consider this option. It includes Buffered Vitamin C, making it gentler on the stomach.

Vitamin type: Capsule

Number of vitamins in a bottle: 180

How many vitamins per day: 4

Price: $19.99 USD

Maxi Health One Prenatal 

Maxi Health One Prenatal is free of wheat, salt, gluten and additives. It’s also certified Kosher. Unlike some other brands, this high-quality supplement only needs to be taken once a day. Online reviewers say this brand does not cause nausea or heartburn.

Vitamin type: Tablet

Number of vitamins in a bottle: 60

How many vitamins per day: 1

Price: $19.99 USD

Bellybar Prenatal Chewable Vitamin 

If you have difficulty swallowing large pills, consider these chewables. They’re also fruit flavored, so they may be less likely to trigger morning sickness compared to the strong taste of other vitamins.

Vitamin type: Chewable

Number of vitamins in a bottle: 60

How many vitamins per day: 2

Price: $11.99 USD

Buried Treasure PreNatal Plus DHA Complete

This is a liquid prenatal supplement good for mothers who have trouble swallowing pills or who struggle with morning sickness. This choice is lower in calcium but provides your daily values of most other essential nutrients. It also contains 200 mg of the omega-3 type DHA. Adding to the benefits, this supplement uses the vegetarian vitamin D ergocalciferol, making it safe for those with meatless diets. Some online reviewers say the liquid has a strong taste, so mixing it in with juice is recommended.

Vitamin type: Liquid

Number of vitamins in a bottle: 16 fl. oz. (approx. 32 day’s worth)

How many vitamins per day: 1 tbsp.

Price: $24.99 USD

Which prenatal vitamin will you try? Comment below if you have any recommendations. If you have any pregnant friends or family members, share this post to help them, too!

P.S. Are your prenatal supplements working? Do you find yourself stressing over your baby’s health? Some mothers who are worried about their baby’s health find reassure with a fetal doppler. These amazing at-home, handheld devices allow you to listen to your baby’s heartbeat inside the womb. Check them out here.


Share with:

About Mithu Kuna

Mithu is a tech-savvy entrepreneur. He is a founder of Baby Doppler and enjoys incorporating AI driven technology in baby and maternity IoT devices.

One thought on “Best Over The Counter Prenatal Vitamins. Which Is Right For You?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *