Updated: December 2017

Prenatal Vitamin Reviews:

There is an old saying which holds that women become mothers when they are pregnant, while men become fathers when the baby is born. And this is very true in many ways. When your baby is in the womb, you need to take care of him or her just as you would if he or she were running around outside, and the way you do this is to take care of yourself. This is why you need to relax, exercise moderately, eat healthy foods, and add a prenatal vitamin to your daily routine. You need to make sure that what you are putting in your body will help your baby grow healthy and strong. And which are the best choices for you and your baby? Take a few minutes - while you still have some time! - to learn more about prenatal vitamins.
prenatal vitamins

Why Take Prenatal Vitamins?

- Many experts recommend taking prenatal vitamins even before you are pregnant. Why would you do this? When you are pregnant, you and your baby need the right level of nutrients, and it can be hard to get this through your regular diet. Folic acid, for instance, helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects by up to 70 percent; folic acid is in wheat breads and pastas, lentils, dried beans, spinach, collard greens, okra, and sunflower seeds, among others. If you are trying to become pregnant, you should be getting 400 micrograms (mcg) a day, and if you are pregnant, that increases to 600 mcg. Making it more difficult to get your daily requirement from food is the fact that real folic acid is harder for the body to absorb. This is one case where synthetics will actually be more effective. Many women also don't get enough of other essential nutrients, like iron. Pregnancy vitamins are, as BabyCenter.com says, an insurance policy to ensure you're getting the proper nutrients. Choosing the Best Prenatal Vitamins for You and Your Baby - Your doctor or midwife can recommend an over-the-counter prenatal vitamin, or he or she may prescribe one. The vast majority of the time, however, OTCs are perfectly sufficient. You may find that your iron readings are low, and you need to take a supplement. Another thing to consider is that your prenatal vitamin may not contain much calcium. This isn't a problem for women who can or will eat dairy. If not, then you may have to take a supplement. One other thing to watch out for is Vitamin A. The right level of Vitamin A is essential, but you don't want to take too much while you're pregnant. Vitamin A that is derived from animal products (as is the case with most vitamins) can be harmful to the baby in larger than recommended doses. On the other hand, many vegetables contain beta-carotene, which converts into Vitamin A in your body. This has not been shown to be harmful to your baby. The point is that if you're in doubt, ask your doctor. This is what he or she does for a living, your doctor will know which vitamins are better. You can browse the best selling prenatal vitamins online here.

Best Prenatal Vitamins:

It is impossible to recommend the best prenatal vitamin for everyone because what works for one mother will not work for another. We'll take a look, then, at some of the top brands so you know what to look for and what to expect. *Read the label. You want at least the minimum amount of folic acid (400 or 600 mcg). Look for a vitamin as close to 1000 mg of calcium (calcium is bulky so many pregnancy vitamins do not put enough in). Look for 30 to 40 mg of iron. Check for other essentials like zinc, Vitamin B, and manganese. Nature Made Prenatal Vitamins, for instance, contain 50 percent of your daily Vitamin A, but this is all derived from beta-carotene, 800 mcg of folic acid (here, you can have more than the 600 mcg), 150 percent of your iron, and 19 percent of your calcium. They also contain Vitamins B, C, D, and E, as well as nutrients like riboflavin and zinc. You can find these at your local pharmacy or Amazon for $20 for 250 vitamins. *United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Seal of Approval. This tells you that your vitamin meets the standards for dissolution. If a vitamin doesn't dissolve quickly enough, you're not getting the full benefit of the nutrients. Nature Made's pregnancy vitamins, for instance, have been certified by the USP. Another good choice is One a Day Prenatal Vitamins. You can find a 30 count box for $15. You will have to take 2 a day, though. *Can you swallow it? Prenatals can be a bitter pill to swallow. Liquid or gel caps can be a great way to help swallow pills, but if this is too much, consider a chewable prenatal vitamin. Pregnancy.LoveToKnow and Associated Content recommend NataChew Prenatal Vitamins, which is available by prescription. An OTC choice is Buried Treasure Prenatal Plus DHA, which is a liquid ($13.25 for a 16-ounce bottle) or Nature's Plus Prenatal Liquid Natural Tropical Fruit Flavor, recommended by Associated Content ($17 for 30-ounce bottle). Other top brands include Rainbow Light, PreNate Elite, and New Chapter. But remember to always ask your doctor. You may find that he or she recommends a generic brand to save you money or that he or she says skip the prenatals and take 2 children's chewables if you have a flip-floppy stomach. Talk to your doctor and get his or her recommendations - and don't take any other supplements (iron, calcium, etc.) without clearing it with him or her. Take good care of yourself - and your baby!

What Else Should You Know about Pregnancy Vitamins?:

If you're having trouble keeping down food, a prenatal vitamin is even more important. But it can be hard to keep that down, too! Most of the time, morning sickness is relieved after the first trimester. During this time, rest assured that your baby will not starve from lack of nutrients if you try to sneak in a balanced diet. But do try to take your prenatal vitamin at a time you're typically not experiencing morning sickness. Many women have "morning" sickness at night or in the middle of the day; if yours tends to be at the same time of day, take your pill at another time. Also, while you need calcium, don't wash your vitamin down with milk or dairy. It will keep your body from absorbing the iron, which your baby needs for healthy development. One other word: pregnancy vitamins tend to be big. If you have problems swallowing pills, ask your doctor about a smaller one or consider chewable prenatal vitamins. They're not as good as the Flintstones you had when you were a kid, but they may go down easier than a pill.