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5 of the Best Over the Counter Prenatal Vitamins of 2017

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Over the next 40 weeks, your body is going to grow and sustain life. If you breastfeed, your body will continue to grow and support another life for months more. Providing your body, and baby, with the proper vitamins and nutrients to grow is an essential mission for mothers. In fact, picking the best over the counter prenatal vitamins is the first thing you should do upon learning of your pregnancy, besides telling your spouse!

 ProductOur RatingPrice
1
Garden of Life Vitamin Code
Check price
2
Nature Made Prenatal Multi
Check price
3
Rainbow Light Prenatal One
Check price
4
New Chapter Perfect Prenatal
Check price
5
One A Day Women’s Prenatal
Check price

Even if you follow the food pyramid perfectly, you still are going to lack vital vitamins. Of course, you should always eat a healthy and balanced diet throughout your pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins are formulated to fill in the gaps of your diet and provide your body with the nutrients needed to grow a baby.

Your doctor might prescribe you a certain brand of prenatal vitamins, or you may walk into the local store and pick one of the dozen brands on the shelf. It can be hard to figure out if there is a difference and which is one is truly the best. Once you have made a choice, make sure to let your doctor know what vitamin you are taking to be sure it is an excellent choice.

What to Look for in a Prenatal Vitamin?

what-to-look-for-in-a-prenatal-vitamin

Before you purchase a vitamin brand, you should make sure it contains all of the necessary nutrients. Here is what you should look for in a vitamin.

  • Folic Acid

If you are trying to conceive, folic acid is crucial, as known as vitamin B-9. It is even more important once you discover you are pregnant. Folic acid helps the development of the neural tube, later becoming the spinal cord and brain. There is evidence that Folic Acid can also reduce the risk of congenital disabilities, spina bifida, and anencephaly. Women need 800 to 1,000 mg each day.

  • Iron

A diet high in red meat and greens will give you a lot of iron, but you need extra during pregnant. Iron transports oxygen throughout your body. Anemia is common during pregnancy, and it could cause a low birth weight. Make sure your prenatal vitamin has 27 mg each day. Remember, you don’t want to get too much iron in your system!

  • Calcium

Calcium is essential for babies, just like it is for adults. It helps to build the bones and teeth while keeping your body healthy throughout pregnancy. You need a lot of calcium each day. Along with taking a prenatal vitamin, you need to make sure you are eating the appropriate food each day to consume the recommended amount, which is 1300 mg per day.

  • Vitamin D

To help your body absorb all of the calcium, you need to eat foods rich in Vitamin D. Ideally, your Vitamin D will contain a good amount as well. Some brands don’t have it, but I always prefer to look for one that does.

  • DHA

Without a doubt, you know that DHA is essential for pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins typically label the container with the words “containing DHA.” Why is it so important? DHA helps to develop your baby’s brain, as well as their vision. You are supposed to intake 200 mg each day.

  • Iodine

Doctors are now recommending that pregnant women take a prenatal vitamin containing iodine. It is important because it helps your thyroid function and boosts your metabolism. Some research suggests that iodine will increase your child’s intelligence.

  • Extras

There are some other nutrients you should hope to find in your prenatal vitamin. Doctors recommend the following:

  • 70 mg of Vitamin C
  • 3 mg of Thiamine
  • ​2 mg of Riboflavin
  • ​20 mg of Niacin
  • ​Six mcg of Vitamin B12
  • ​10 mg of Vitamin E
  • ​15 mg of Zinc
  • 17 mg of Iron

 ProductOur RatingPrice
1
Garden of Life Vitamin Code
Check price
2
Nature Made Prenatal Multi
Check price
3
Rainbow Light Prenatal One
Check price
4
New Chapter Perfect Prenatal
Check price
5
One A Day Women’s Prenatal
Check price


5 Choices for the Best Over the Counter Prenatal Vitamins

1. Garden of Life Vitamin Code

Many mothers look for an all-natural, vegetarian prenatal vitamins. The Garden of Life vitamins is a little different than the ones you will find in the stores because they are raw. Here is what you need to know!

  • These vitamins are entirely vegetarian based, as well as gluten free and dairy free. It is ideal for everyone, especially those with food allergies.
  • What does the term “raw” mean? It means that no high heat, fillers, artificial flavors, sweeteners, synthetic binders, colors or additives are used in the vitamins.
  • Garden of Life uses a blend of 23 fruits and vegetables together with food cofactors. You are getting some great nutrients!
  • Unlike a lot of other prenatal vitamins, most mothers don’t get constipated with these. The natural ingredients, like ginger, are combined with a probiotic for healthy bowel movements.
  • All of the essential nutrients we mentioned above are included in these vitamins, as well as 800 mg of folate. Real folate, not folic acid, is the natural form of vitamin V-9 and is water soluble.
  • Many mothers note at the flavor is very strange, which could be difficult for parents with nausea issues.
  • They are expensive.You are going to need at least three bottles to last throughout your pregnancy. Remember, you also need to take prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding!
  • A real downside to the Garden of Life vitamins is that they don’t contain enough calcium. You may have to supplement calcium if you aren’t consuming dairy forms of calcium.

2. Nature Made Prenatal Multi

If you want a prenatal vitamin you can purchase at your local grocery store, Nature Made Prenatal vitamins are available in most stores! They are a popular choice among mothers.

  • The Nature Made vitamins are a great price for budget conscience parents. For a great price, you get a 90 day supply.
  • Unlike other vitamins, like the Garden of Life, you only need to consume one soft gel pill each day. Ideally, you would take it with one of your meals, and that is it!
  • Nature Made contains DHA – Omega 3 Fish Oil – which is crucial for your baby’s development. There is 200 mg in each soft gel pill.
  • The pills aren’t huge; they are about the same of a penny. It sounds huge, but there are some that are much larger.
  • These vitamins contain everything your baby needs, as well as everything mom needs to have a healthy nervous and immune system.
  • The Nature Made vitamins contain iron, which is an essential nutrient for your body and your baby. The problem is that you may notice an increase in constipation. Some mothers have tummy issues when they improve their iron intake.
  • Always take the vitamin after a meal, not an empty stomach. Some mothers experience nausea after taking it if they forget to eat.
  • The vitamins have a slight, funky smell to them, sort of like fish. It could be hard for moms with sensitive noses to take them.
  • These vitamins are NOT vegan, an important thing to note for health conscience parents.

3. Rainbow Light Prenatal One

Many mothers love the Rainbow Light prenatal vitamins because they are gentle on the stomach. That quality is super important during pregnancy since many moms experience nausea.

PROS:

  • Rainbow Light provides all the nutrients you need in a base of superfood extracts.
  • The vitamins contain plant-based enzymes, ginger juice, and probiotics to reduce the chance of constipation and to help prevent the chance of an upset stomach. They contain 90 million bioactive probiotics, creating a healthy gut for you.
  • Rainbow Light didn’t use any animal based ingredients, gluten, soy or dairy in the production of these vitamins. On top of that, you don’t have to worry about artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or additives. These vitamins don’t contain any of the harmful things you may be concerned about!
  • It is a vegan and vegetarian based formula.
  • Moms only have to take one vitamin each day to receive all of the vital nutrients available.
  • ​Rainbow Light contains 800 mg of folic acid in each vitamin, promoting the healthy brain and spinal cord development.

CONS:

  • There is no added DHA to these prenatal vitamins, which is crucial for your baby’s healthy development. You will need to take an additional DHA supplement.
  • It doesn’t contain enough calcium, so you will need to either eat calcium-rich foods or take an extra supplement. It also doesn’t contain enough magnesium.

4. New Chapter Perfect Prenatal

New Chapter creates one of the highest rated choices for a prenatal vitamin. They are more expensive than some of the other options, but they are worth the money!

PROS:

  • New Chapter formulated their prenatal vitamins to have all of the necessary minerals, vitamins, and herbs you need to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
  • These vitamins are different than other brands. They use a fermented blend, containing essential probiotics for your stomach. The cultures also have ensured you don’t feel sick if you happen to take these vitamins on an empty stomach.
  • All moms need some energy support. New Chapter contains B vitamins to help increase all the energy you can muster during pregnancy.
  • Unlike the other prenatal vitamin choices, these are made with certified organic vegetables and herbs. They are non-GMO project certified. Even better, these vitamins are gluten free and kosher.
  • Instead of folic acid, New Chapter vitamins contain folate.
  • Mothers note that these vitamins don’t have those nasty smells we typically accompany with vitamins.

CONS:

  • Even though they use probiotics to ease the effects on your stomach, the vitamins contain 100% of the recommended amount of iron you need each day. Iron tends to be rough on your stomach so that you may experience constipation.
  • Instead of one pill a day, moms have to take three pills a day. Sometimes, it can be hard to get down one pill during pregnancy. Three is hard!

5. One A Day Women’s Prenatal

Are you looking for another option that you can purchase at a local grocery store? You can typically find the One A Day Prenatal Vitamins at most stores such as Walmart.

PROS:

  • Many OBGYNs and Pharmacists suggest One A Day to women as a complete prenatal multivitamin.
  • Each multivitamin has some amazing nutrients such as 800 mcg of Folic Acid, 200 mg of DHA, 300 mg of calcium, 400 IU of Vitamin D, 28 mg or iron, and 150 mcg of iodine.
  • Included in the box is an extra DHA liquid gel pack that you can use with the prenatal vitamins. Some mothers use it as DHA supplement during pregnancy.
  • One of the best positives about the One A Day vitamins is that most mothers find these pills easy to swallow. They are also gentle on the stomach, ideal for morning sickness.
  • These prenatal pills do contain Iron which is crucial for the development of your baby. Remember, it could cause some stomach issues!

CONS:

  • The packaging is a bit misleading. The twin pack is a bottle of multivitamins and a bottle of the DHA pills. You are supposed to take both of them each day.
  • The DHA pills have a slight fishy taste, so you may want to pair it with a meal to get the taste out of your mouth.

The Difference between Regular and Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are an important part of nutrition during pregnancy. The basic difference between regular and prenatal vitamins is that prenatal vitamins contain more folic acid and iron as compared to the regular vitamins

  • This is because folic acid is helping in developing the baby’s neural tube and prevents neural defects. It reduces the risk of birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.
  • The additional iron content helps in supporting the baby’s growth and development and prevents anemia in the mother.
  • Iron also reduces the risk of infant mortality, early delivery and low birth weight of the baby.
  • Most prenatal vitamins also have DHA, which is a fatty acid important for the fetus’s eye and brain development.
  • Some prenatal vitamins contain calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Vitamin E, thiamine, niacin, zinc, copper, and magnesium. All these elements and vitamins are important in the overall development of the baby.

A regular vitamin definitely helps in meeting a body’s health needs, but it is the prenatal vitamins which are important for both the mother and the baby’s good development. Prenatal vitamins also provide with calcium which is necessary for the baby’s bone development.

A prenatal vitamin supports a healthy pregnancy and ensures that the baby and the mother’s vitamins requirements are met sufficiently.

So can you eat regular vitamins if you run out of prenatal vitamins? The answer to the question is yes, perhaps for a few days till you replenish your quota of prenatal vitamins. This is because regular vitamins may not have the required amount of folic acid or iron to meet the requirements of the growing baby and meet your body’s needs as well.

In fact, some physicians advice women to start having prenatal vitamins even before they conceive if they want to get pregnant. This prepares the body for the pregnancy and ensures a strong fetus.

 ProductOur RatingPrice
1
Garden of Life Vitamin Code
Check price
2
Nature Made Prenatal Multi
Check price
3
Rainbow Light Prenatal One
Check price
4
New Chapter Perfect Prenatal
Check price
5
One A Day Women’s Prenatal
Check price


Frequently Asked Questions

When should I start taking prenatal vitamins?

Do I need a prescription for prenatal vitamins?

How long should I take prenatal vitamins?

Are there any side effects of prenatal vitamins?

Can I take prenatal vitamins for rich hair growth?

What nutrients should I look for in prenatal vitamins?

How often should I take prenatal vitamins?

Are there any food items I can consider taking to substitute for the prenatal vitamins?

Can men take prenatal vitamins?

Do prenatal vitamins make you put on weight?

Will the prenatal vitamins help me get pregnant?

Are prenatal vitamins compulsory to take if I am pregnant?

Some women prefer not to pick an over the counter prenatal vitamin. Instead, they wait for their doctor to prescribe a brand. If you are interested in picking out your vitamin, these are five of the best over the counter prenatal vitamins. They all contain great nutrients to help your baby grow while ensuring your body has the vitamins to support you and your child.

Deciding can be difficult. Out of the five choices, the Rainbow Light has some of the best reviews. However, you will need a separate DHA supplement. If you are okay with a slight fishy taste, I would recommend the New Chapter vitamins. Both of these take out all of the bad ingredients, relying only on the right stuff to support your body.

Do you have a favorite over the counter prenatal vitamin? Let us know in the comments!

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Hi! I’m Serena. The first time that I knew the term “being mommy” was fantastic and unforgettable. It brought me a lot of changes in my body, my habit, my feeling and my whole life. I started Kittymoms in order to share my knowledge and experience to those who are first-time mommies and who have a long time to be back to mom's work, all who need to search advice during the time taking care of their babies.
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