What are the Best Prenatal Vitamins for You?

Good nutrition is important throughout our lives, but becomes especially essential during pregnancy.

Baby will take what she needs from you whether you have enough to spare or not, so you have to be sure you are getting enough nutrients for you and for your growing baby.

Unfortunately, many moms begin pregnancy deficient in one or more vitamins or minerals, so prenatal vitamins become especially important.

Pregnancy superfoods like avocados, liver, and dates are great for getting many of the nutrients you need, but, with our depleted soils and industrialized food system, it’s not always possible to get everything we need from food alone. Which is why pregnancy supplements and prenatal vitamins are so important for a healthy pregnancy.

But not all prenatal vitamins are created equally. Read on to find the best prenatal for you.

The origins of prenatal vitamins

Prenatal vitamins came into use in the middle of the 20th century when research pointed to folate and iron deficiencies causing problems in pregnancy and fetal development.

Unfortunately, prescription prenatal vitamins often cause women to feel sick to their stomach, or have heartburn, indigestion, or constipation, making them not the best prenatal vitamins for some women. This may be because prescription prenatal blends often contain higher levels of iron and folic acid which can cause some of these symptoms.

Luckily today we have other options for over the counter prenatal vitamins.

Why do I need prenatal vitamins?

Growing a baby is tough work. Baby will take what he needs so to avoid losing your own stores of nutrients, you have to get enough vitamins and minerals for both of you. Here are the most common vitamins and minerals in prenatal vitamins and just an overview of what they do in the body:

  • Vitamin A – Builds eye and brain development, respiratory development
  • Vitamin B1– Supports nervous system, supports baby’s brain development
  • Vitamin B2 – Supports healthy eyes and skin
  • Vitamin B3 – Improves digestion and eases nausea
  • Vitamin B5 – Eases leg cramps and helps to create hormones
  • Vitamin B6 – Helps form red blood cells. May help with morning sickness
  • Vitamin B7 -Works with other B vitamins to help release energy from food
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid) – Prevents Neural tube defects and Spina Bifida in baby
  • Vitamin B12 – Promotes blood formation, helps prevent and even fight birth defects that affect the spine and central nervous system
  • Vitamin C – Helps your body absorb iron and protects against stress
  • Vitamin D – Helps strengthen your and babies bones and teeth and helps your body to utilize Calcium and Phosphorus
  • Vitamin E – Overall wellness and metabolism, may help reduce miscarriages
  • Vitamin K – Supports healthy bone formation, blood clotting and healing
  • Calcium – Supports bone development
  • Copper – Helps store iron, supports blood health
  • Iron – Helps the blood carry oxygen
  • Iodine – Supports healthy thyroid function, metabolism, fetal growth and hearing
  • Magnesium – Supports healthy blood pressure and healthy fetal birth weight
  • Zinc – Helps balance fluids in your body and supports nerve and muscle function, keeps copper in balance

Standard synthetic prenatal vitamins

These are the ones you can get at most drug stores. They are a complete cross-spectrum of nutrients, but they are created in a laboratory with vitamin isolates separated from the natural co-factors like phytonutrients that help your body absorb or utilize the vitamin.

These synthetic vitamins are shown to be nutritionally inferior to natural vitamins and can cause digestive issues which may be a sign of vitamin toxicity. For example, long-term synthetic calcium supplementation is tied to kidney stones, stroke and earlier death in women.

Synthetic vitamin E can be especially problematic. Research has linked synthetic vitamin E to DNA damage to the liver, hemorrhagic stroke, prostate cancer in men, and congenital heart defects in babies born to women taking large doses of vitamin E.

Beta Carotene, the synthetic form of vitamin A, can cause problems too. Researchers found that synthetic beta carotene may actually block some of the mechanisms of vitamin A in the body, causing more vitamin A deficiency.

Beta carotene isn’t the only synthetic vitamin that may cause vitamin depletion. For example, adequate vitamin D and vitamin K are necessary for your body to absorb calcium and store in the right places, so if you don’t have enough of vitamins D and K, you can run into issues.

Whole, natural foods contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that work together to be absorbed and utilized. When vitamins are isolated, like they are in synthetic vitamin blends, your body may utilize the vitamins but also may deplete others.

Food-based prenatals: Best prenatal vitamins

Food based prenatals are more absorbable and gentler on the stomach because they are derived from food instead of isolated vitamins.

Many women who suffer from constipation or nausea while on conventional prenatal vitamins during pregnancy see a significant improvement when switching to food based prenatals. Because they are derived from food, these prenatal blends contain the enzymes, phytonutrients, and other co-factors that make the vitamin most absorbable and add to the spectrum of nutrition. Many also include probiotics and herbal blends too.

The down side to food based prenatals is that they are more expensive and have lower levels of each vitamin and mineral than a synthetic vitamin. However, they are more highly absorbable than synthetics, so high levels of vitamins aren’t necessary or beneficial.

Here’s a comparison of food-based prenatals.

MegaFood Baby & Me prenatal vitamins

MegaFood - Baby & Me prenatal supplement facts

MegaFood offers two versions of it’s prenatal blend: Baby & Me and Baby & Me 2 (doesn’t contain the herbal blend).

I took the herb-free version when I was pregnant as I didn’t want to include ginger, which has been linked to premature labor in large doses. I also was drinking red raspberry leaf tea regularly, so didn’t need more, which is found in the herb blend.

I went with MegaFood because I really trust their high-quality standards: non-GMO, no pesticides/herbicides, and made from farm fresh food.

I liked this prenatal because it contains a great cross-spectrum of nutrients, is higher in vitamin D, contains vitamin K and has lots of good B vitamins. It’s strong in Iodine, Iron and Zinc, three important minerals in pregnancy. It is lower in vitamin A, which was fine by me since I took my cod liver oil; plus, beta carotene isn’t the best form of A. It’s also low in calcium and magnesium so I ate my organic, grass-fed dairy regularly and took supplemental magnesium at night for a restful sleep.

I never had digestive distress or went into pregnancy-induced anemia.

New Chapter Perfect Prenatals

 New Chapter Perfect Prenatals supplement facts

Perfect Prenatal is gluten free, non-GMO, and made from organic foods. It is strong in vitamin D, K and Iron. But it doesn’t reach the RDA in Zinc, Iodine, Calcium, Magnesium and surprisingly Folate (probably the most important nutrient when pregnant).

It contains soy, which is a high allergen food, even if it’s fermented. Also, some people don’t like that it’s owned by Procter and Gamble.

I do know many moms who swear by this prenatal though, and I do like how it includes probiotics and a sprout blend.

Rainbow Light

Rainbow Light Prenatal Supplemental Facts

This is a popular prenatal in the crunchy world and for good reason. It contains double the iron of most prenatals and is strong in iodine, zinc, copper, and vitamin C. It also contains a hearty dose of probiotics and is known for being gentle on the stomach.

Additionally, you only need to take one a day which can be more convenient, especially if you have pregnancy brain!

However, it does contain vitamin D2, instead of the more absorbable D3. It also contains folic acid instead of folate, which is a big problem if you have MTHFR issues. (More on that later.) Find this prenatal vitamin here.

Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal

Garden of Life Vitamin Code RAW Prenatal Supplemental Facts

Vitamin Code is another popular food-based prenatal. It is non-GMO, contains no fillers, and is processed at low heat for optimal nutrient retention. It is strong in vitamin C, iodine, iron and all of the vitamin B’s.

It contains double the vitamin D3 of most prenatals, which may sound good, but it is lower in vitamin K, which can be problematic for good calcium absorption. It’s also lower in zinc and copper, important trace minerals.

Some moms can’t take this formula because they are allergic to one of the many food ingredients like seeds and grains. This prenatal recommends you take 1 capsule 3 times a day which can be inconvenient for some.  Find them here.

Prenatal vitamins for moms who have the MTHFR mutation

The MTHFR defect, which some say affects up to 50-60% of the population, makes it difficult for your body to convert folic acid (and even folate) into a usable form (called methylation). The two gene mutations most studied and connected with this defect are found at the C677T and A1298C positions on the MTHFR gene. You can learn more here, including how to get tested to see if you have it.

Having MTHFR issues makes it more difficult for the body to detoxify. During pregnancy this is especially concerning because the build up of unusable folic acid (from processed food and certain prenatals) can cause toxicity and folate deficiency because it blocks absorption of naturally occurring folate.

Folate deficiencies are associated with some birth defects such as spina bifida and neural tube defects. The MTHFR mutation can cause miscarriage, preeclampsia, forgetfulness, and brain fog among other symptoms.

That’s why it is so critical to know if you have the MTHFR mutation and, if so, to take the right form of prenatal when you are pregnant. 

Luckily there are prenatal blend designed for women who have the MHTFR mutation.

MTHFR Prenatal: Seeking Health

MTHFR Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal

Seeking Health’s prenatal. This prenatal was created by one of the world’s MTHFR experts, Dr. Ben Lynch. It contains methylfolate and folinic acid which are especially great for women who can’t process folic acid of even folate. It also contains methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, absorbable forms of B12 for those with the MTHFR defects.

This prenatal is very high in all vitamins and minerals and even includes some helpful foods and herbs (including ginger which some moms prefer to avoid).

However, this prenatal doesn’t contain any iron, so I would add Megafood Blood Builder or Liver Pills for iron. It is also not food based so may be harder to absorb nutrients.

MTHFR Prenatal: Thorne Research

Thorne Research prenatal supplement facts

As shown above, this prenatal blend includes methylated folate instead of folic acid. It also contains a lot of iron which can be irritating for some moms and contains significantly less vitamin B6 than the label states.

This prenatal contains high levels of iron which may be irritating to some moms. It also contains methylated folate which is easier to assimilate than folic acid or even folate. However, according to Lab Door’s research, it contains 99% less Vitamin B6 as is stated on the label, so an additional B supplement may be needed. Find it here.

MTHFR Prenatals: Zahler Prenatal + DHA

Zahler Prenatal + DHA prenatal supplement facts

These prenatals plus DHA are a great blend for pregnancy with only methylated folate, which is more easily assimilated.

The added DHA helps develop baby’s eye and brain. This blend doesn’t contain herbs which is great for women who would prefer to avoid herbs or are taking them separately. Find them here.

MTHFR Prenatals: Dr. Ron’s

Dr Rons MTHFR Prenatals

Dr. Ron’s – Though not a prenatal, this multivitamin contains metholatyed forms of B vitamins and is super high in important minerals like Calcium, Magnesium, Selenium, Iodine, and other important minerals when pregnant. It also contains antioxidants from grape seed extract.

However, this supplement is not food based and doesn’t include all of the natural co-enzymes, co-factors and bioflavonoids found in food-based vitamins and minerals. It also may be harder to absorb and cause some stomach upset. Be sure to take with food.

Finally, it does not contain vitamin A or iron, two important nutrients when pregnant.

Create your own prenatal vitamins

Another option would be to create your own prenatal based on your particular biological needs.

Some moms do blood and/or hair tissue mineral analysis to see specifically which nutrients they may need more of and which minerals they don’t need to supplement with. For example, getting too much copper may deplete some of your zinc stores since these minerals counterbalance each other. Obviously, not everyone can afford or access this kind of personalized testing but hopefully this will be the medical norm one day.

Some important things to include if you do create your own is a good trace mineral supplement that includes magnesium, iodine, zinc, iron as well as vitamins A, D, C, K, and an excellent B supplement. It’s always a good idea to include a good probiotic for gut health. By boosting your good bacteria levels, you may ward off things like Group B Strep and thrush when breastfeeding. You may also help colonize your baby with the best bacteria possible, which can affect her health for the rest of her life.

Super nutrient-dense foods

Some foods are so nutrient-dense, they can almost take the place of supplements. Examples include raw cod liver oil for vitamin A & D, natural brewer’s yeast for B vitamins, beef liver for iron, zinc and copper, farmer grass-fed dairy for calcium, shrimp and certain seaweeds for iodine, fresh leafy greens for folate, 2 egg yolks for choline, Brazil nuts for selenium, etc. Naturally fermented sauerkraut is a wonderful source of vitamin C as well as contains good bacteria for gut. Be sure to include these foods regularly in your diet and avoid junk food.

Is cod liver oil safe?

There are some concerns around vitamin A during pregnancy. While some birth defects have been associated with vitamin A, those studies were performed with the synthetic form of vitamin A, versus what is naturally found in cod liver oil and beef liver. In fact, studies have found that high doses of natural vitamin A are safe and effective at decreasing childhood mortality and morbidity in Ghana and curing 92% of women suffering from menstrual hemorrhage.

Women have been eating liver and cod liver oil (and giving it to their kids) for thousands of years, many times under their doctor’s orders, and these foods have nourished baby’s development and restored mom’s nutritional stores. Studies have shown that cod liver oil is great for a variety of ailments from arthritis to cognitive performance so the benefits are well documented. It only makes sense that those benefits would continue during pregnancy. Of course, as with anything, check with your midwife or OB GYN to see what’s best for you during your pregnancy.

Good for mama, good for baby

No matter which road you take with your prenatal, the important thing is to flood your body with a cross-spectrum of nutrients through supplements and diet. This is especially true if it is your second, third, or fourth pregnancies, when nutritional reserves may be lower than the first time around.

If you plan on breastfeeding, and hopefully you are, many midwives will recommend continuing on your prenatal for the entire duration of breastfeeding. In fact, since 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, all women of childbearing age might consider taking a prenatal vitamin.

Take the extra time and expense to feed yourself well during these critical child-bearing years. It will pay off with greater health and vitality for you and family!

How about YOU?

Which prenatal did you take while pregnant? Did you feel good on? Share with us!

 

References

  • http://www.rxlist.com/folic_acid-page2/supplements.htm
  • http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369848613001349
  • http://www.thedoctorwithin.com/vitaminc/ascorbic-acid-is-not-vitamin-c/
  • http://www.sunwarrior.com/news/natural-vs-synthetic-vitamins/
  • https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/nutri-con-truth-about-vitamins-supplements
  • http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/dietary-supplements-what-the-industry-does-not-want-you-to-know/
  • http://chriskresser.com/throw-away-your-multivitamins-and-antioxidants/
  • http://www.bellybelly.com.au/pregnancy/mthfr-mutation/
  • http://mthfrliving.com/health-conditions/preparing-pregnancy-mthfr-mutations/
  • http://www.drrons.com/healthy-moms-babies-children.htm
  • http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/why-birth-defect-linked-vitamin-used-prenatals
  • http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/prenatal-vitamins
  • http://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/b-vitamins#2
  • http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD010920/full#CD010920-sec1-0003
  • http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-902-copper.aspx?activeingredientid=902&activeingredientname=copper
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24696187
  • http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/5/1325s.full
  • https://labdoor.com/rankings/prenatal-vitamins

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

Midwife Maura Winkler CNM Mama Natural

Reviewed By
Maura Winkler, CNM, IBCLC

Maura Winkler, CNM, CD, IBCLC is a Certified Nurse Midwife, Registered Nurse, Certified Doula, Board Certified Lactation Consultant, wife and mother of two.

The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth book

Introducing the world’s first
week-by-week pregnancy guide
from a natural perspective!

146 Comments

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  1. I use Liquid Health’s Liquid Pre-natal Multi-vitamin. It has been great for me!

  2. FYI baby and me original formula no longer has folate, it has folic acid. It’s decieiving because it says folate on the left and then from folic acid on the right in parenthesis.

  3. Help! Could really use some guidance, Mama Natiral

    I’ve always taken the Baby and Me. I did so for both this and my last pregnancy. I didnt initially realize I purchased the baby and Me 2 till much after the fact. Meaning I’ve been doubling on the dose for possibly a month, hopefully only two weeks. I spoke with my doctor and my father in-law who is a CMO (and a doctor) and both were not concerned, just basically told me now I know not to do that. I’m still worried about my little guy. I’m 16 weeks. I’m hoping since this is a whole food vitamin it’s been less harmful.

    Xx

    Not sleeping Mama!

  4. Been taking the mini tabs of rainbow lights brand prenatal and it works wonders for me. So much easier to swallow and easier on the taste buds. I cant take folate based prenatals as they make me severely sick within minutes.

  5. I started taking Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal, last week I purchased Rainbow Light Prenatal One. So far I like them both. I like the idea of the super awesome health benefits I feel I receive from the raw vitamins, but I like only having to remember to take my vitamin once a day, with Rainbow Light because I was actually missing doses with the three times a day you’re recommended to take with Vitamin Vode.

  6. FYI the Blood Builder product seems to contain folic acid, not folate which is safe for MTHFR. Please let me know if I am wrong but this is what I found after researching the product. Thought it would be important to correct that since it is suggested under the MTHFR supplement recommendations.

  7. Vitamin code raw contains Vitex…is this safe? It’s only 4 mg which is nothing but this still concerns me…I’m surprised nothing was said about this.

  8. Have you looked at Naturelo, which seems to be a new one to the market but claims to be food-based and uses methylfolate?

    • I meant, “Has anyone… looked at Naturelo….”. I am curious what others think of its quality.

      • I went with Naturelo after Garden of Life got bought out by Nestle. The ingredients seem good after researching several brands and rejecting many because they did not have food based ingredients or folate, but the taste was horrible (which I’ve heard means they are actually doing it right because they aren’t adding extra stuff to sweeten), and I’m postpartum, so if taste and gagging is an issue while pregnant you may not be able to take them. They are in capsules, but can still smell and taste the powder inside rather strongly. Since I’ve run out of them I am looking into finding a new brand, who what led me here.

    • I’ve been taking Naturelo for about 4 months and I really like it. It doesn’t upset my tummy and I like the fact that it is capsule form, not tablet like many out there. I also went with them after much research and the Vitamin A is low which is great since I already take CLO separately.

  9. How much cod liver oil can you take with the baby and me 2 prenatal vitamins?

  10. I have been taking Honest Company’s Whole food based prenatal and prenatal dha vitamins. Are these good quality or should I switch to something else?

  11. I started on the Rainbow light and switched to the Garden of Life (which has been bought out by Nestle btw) because I can’t stand the taste and texture of the Rainbow Light. Garden of Life was so much easier for me to take, but then I got deficient because I can’t remember to take 3 at different times of the day. So I switched back to Rainbow Light as soon as I finished Garden of Life. I’m supplementing with Calcium and Magnesium and Iron as recommended by my herbalist and by my doctor. I would say RL is good for what you need, I just found it so difficult to take (especially in the first half of pregnancy when I was so sensitive to taste and smell).

  12. You show the Nature’s Plus Source of Life prenatals in the photo, but don’t discuss these in the post. Any thoughts on this prenatal?

  13. Hey Mama Natural! I adore you! Would love to hear your take on Smarty Pants prenatal. I love them and recommend them to my clients because of how clean the ingredients are and how fun they are to take (especially those who struggle with swallowing pills or are dealing with belly issues from their prenatal). Any insight on your end would be appreciated!

  14. I have been taking garden of life raw prenatal for about 4 years now and they just recently got bought by nestle so I feel they are no longer a respectable company and I think they should be taken off this list. I will never buy from them again.

    • I was just going to mention that Nestle bought Garden of Life as well. Would definitely consider adding that bit of information in your post!!

  15. Hi!! This is such a helpful blog and I just purchased your new book-the week by week pregnancy guide (currently 9.5 weeks pregnant and want to do it right!) I am currently taking Garden of Life prenatal gummies-I love them but they don’t have Iodine, Magnesium or Iron. What are some vegan vitamins that you recommend that have those three? Thanks!!

    • Rainbow light and Megafood Me & Baby 2 are really great vegan options.

  16. New chapters has synthetic cyanocobalamin so chapter prenatal is not good.

  17. I am about to begin taking Naturelo prenatal vitamins. Thoughts, knowledge or advice of this brand please?

  18. I had a question about the mega food brand. I was looking on Amazon and I read a comment about the lead issues. Is that something new? Since I’ve read on other sites that this was a good brand. So I just want to be sure before I purchase to make sure I’m making the right decision. Thank you!

  19. I use the Garden of Life mykind Organics Prenatal Multi. I really liked them- no heartburn, no constipation.

    • I’m going take these as they seem to be the best from what I’ve seen. Any ideas for calcium supplements? I don’t do dairy so having a hard time with this one.

  20. After reading the post then I decided I will buy the Baby & Me Vitamin. I like the post very much because it is so useful. Thanks for sharing!

  21. I actually didn’t know that about some of the synthetic vitamins, I will definitely try to use food grade prenatals. Thanks for the info!! http://www.prenatals.com

  22. Great article! I am interested in a Pre-natal DHA supplement that does not contain fish. I have a fin-fish allergy. Thank you in advance!

  23. Hi! I’ve been trying to figure out if the Baby and Me 2 is gluten free? I found one or two place that say it is, but no where in any discription or bottle does it say gluten free :/

  24. Did you actually take the Mega Food prenatal 4 times a day? I noticed you mentioned another vitamin recommended 3 times a day and how that could be difficult to keep up with, but you didn’t mention anything anything about taking Mega Food 4 times a day.

  25. I’m an RN running an Anticoagulation clinic that involves monitoring and educating patients on “blood thinning” drugs which are affected by Vitamin K. I noticed that you mentioned that Raw Garden of Life prenatal contain lower amounts of Vitamin K. I thought it might be good to point out that there are several types of Vitamin K, the two most prevalent are K1 and K2. K1 comes from sources such as greens and vegetable oils and assist the body in clotting when there’s an injury/bleeding. Vitamin K2 is synthesized by bacteria and is obtained through grass fed meats, dairy, pastured eggs, etc., and is the kind of Vit K that helps with Vitamin D absorption. So, unless the Vit K in the Baby and Me prenatal comes from fermented cabbage (it is listed only as “cabbage,” it is vitamin K1 and not helpful in absorption of Vitamin D. Whereas Raw Garden of Life’s vitamin K source is mk-7 (a form of Vitamin K2). You can also just eat foods like gouda cheese and the other foods I mentioned to get your K2! 🙂

    • Thanks. Such a helpful comment!

  26. Question for you Mama Natural. Just curious what you think about Plexus multivitamin XFactor and XFactor Pus? I know their vitamins have aloe to help aid in nutrient absorption and I know of many women who use them in place of a prenatal.

  27. Thanks for the article. I’m confused though when you said New Chapter Prenatal doesn’t contain RDA for folate, as it contains 600 mcg, which is 150% per serving. This amount is the same with MegaFood Baby & Me 2.

  28. Hi! I had a question regarding the prenatals. I really like the Mega Food myself, but it looks like they reformulated it! The Baby & Me 2 no longer has calcium or magnesium in it. Would you still recommend this one?

  29. We are planning for a family and I have tried everything under the sun. First a prenatal script which I really liked but I have the Mthfr mutation and can not have folic acid which that prenatal contained. So I tried more natural based vitamins like garden of life and mega foods(non herbal). While taking mega food I had a strange reaction and ended up in the ER from a racing heart. It very well could have been over methylating(if you have the Mthfr mutation this can be an issue). I finally discontinued everything and went back on my Juice Plus and feel great. Juice plus is not a vitamin but whole food based supplement which I have chose to use as a prenatal. I take extra iron, co q/10 and DHA, probiotic, a methyfolate/vitamin D3 script , and continue to have my blood drawn to check my levels with this routine. I feel really good. So for me, my own cocktail of vitamins with real whole foods has been the best approach 🙂 I like the idea of the liver cod oil and will try this as well!

    • New Chapter gave me sever heart palpitations, I googled this and it’s semi common. I’m not sure the exact cause, but pretty scary for a vitamin to cause this!!

  30. I used to take rainbow light, but switched after concerns about folate and the pills being so dense, I wasn’t sure they were breaking down all the way. I now take the Honest prenatal vitamin, which I don’t see here. It seemed fairly comparable to more expensive brands and the price and convenience are great. I do have to take 3, but I think the gel capsules break down easier.

  31. I’ve been taking Thorne prenatals this time around, but wondering what I should take for a DHA supplement to go with it. I looked at Garden of Life Raw prenatals as well, but then heard they were bought by Monsanto. 🙁

    • Greetings!

      @Nicolle. With all due respect,,,I believe it was “New Chapter” that was purchased by Monster-santo “NOT” Garden of Life?? Although no one’s perfect,,,Garden of Life has very high standards!

      Peace 🙂

      • Actually it was bought out by Nestle- a huge company that pays into Monsanto.

    • As of December 2017 Garden of Life has been purchased by Nestle (not a very ethical company). I am on the search for a new prenatal myself due to this buy-out!! Very disappointing as I loved GoL products!!

  32. Any comments on Thornes’ level of Vitamin A? The review of Thorne Basic Prenatal skipped the vitamin A content. I am currently taking Thorne and wondering if I should switch to another. I have read so many confusing things about Vitamin A I really don’t know what to think anymore.

    I plan on adding Rosita cod liver oil. I am 5 weeks pregnant and just found out. I’m happy, but the pregnancy was unplanned and I have not been taking a prenatal or multi. I am also MTFHR postive, one. But luckily have been mostly gluten free for years, so I think my intake of folic acid has probably been on the small to negligible side.

    • I want to add to my above post, that if my understanding of Rosita’s Cod Liver Oil is correct, I will be taking 2100-2900 IU of Vitamin A daily. The Thorne Prenatal has 5000IU Vitamin A combined from Beta Carotene and Palmitate. I will be ingesting 8000IU of Vitamin A from supplements alone. I tend to eat healthy (paleo, weston price), but am busy, like most people so I am not sure of my daily intake from food. I believe that I am reaching the upper limits of Vitamin A per day, reaching the point birth defects are cited. (10,000IU).

      For those of you that are taking a prenatal with vitamin A plus a fish oil, were you concerned about this? I am so confused about Vitamin A. One minute I read that Beta Carotene causes birth defects and then a moment later find a site that will say the exact opposite.

      To add to my confusion, Weston Price’s website recommends 20,000IU of Vitamin A daily. I know that they want all of the Vitamins to be from food sources, and I do try, but that is just not possible since I work full-time.

  33. I just recently started taking ACTIF organic prenatal vitamins. I researched and found these to be just what I needed. There are a couple of reviews on Amazon that seem alarming about the pills but when I received mine I found them to be great for me. My husband and I are going through IVF and preparing for our first FET… was just wondering if anyone else has taken these vitamins? Thanks in advance!! Be well!

    • I’m wondering the same about actif !
      The price is significantly better then some of the other options.. is there a reason for that? I have been alternating between garden of life, vitamin code & megafood.
      I’m in my third trimester with my 4th & last baby but I continue to take the 2 years I nurse.

    • It worked great for me! I went through IVF too and used both their prenatal and fertility support. Probably the best thing I’ve done. Had to switch to Actif because I threw up too much with my previous prenatal pills, but this one has no taste and I felt so good after. I got pregnant within only 2 months and continued taking it throughout pregnancy.

      A lot of pills contain fillers that do more harm than good, so that you have to take multiple huge pills per day and they can charge more money. You just have to look for the pill that has exactly what you need (folate, DHA, EPA etc.) Good luck with your journey!

  34. So surprised not to see myKind Organics, Garden of Life Prenatal on here! I spent hours researching all the brands of food based pre-natals and that was the one I decided on and I would encourage other mama’s to look into that brand too.

    • I picked the my kind organics too after many hours of research. I was debating between that and the vitamin raw code, which is listed in this article. Should I be making the switch?

      • I’ve also been taking the MyKind Organics after lots of research – I’ve been taking them for a couple of years by now and love them, immune system, digestive system, etc. are all working great.

      • Vitamin raw code contains Vitex which I feel weary of. Any one know a good Calcium supplement to take while pregnant?

  35. Great article! I was surprised you didn’t mentioned that MegaFood Baby and Me 2 actually contains Methylated Folate.

  36. Hello! I am planning on becoming a new Mama within the next couple of years. I was wondering if I could start taking pre-natal now? Is it safe to do so?

    • My doctor told me prenatal vitamins are the best kind to take as a women’s multi vitamin. Been taking them since high school and my obgyn was very happy to hear that I was on them before I got pregnant. She said that it takes about two weeks for some of the vitamins to reach the baby so taking it before I got pregnant was a great idea.

  37. I had a question regarding taking the Mega food prenatal you recommended and following the Weston A. Price diet… I am currently trying my best to follow the WP diet so I was wondering if I also took that prenatal if it would be too much when combined? Thanks so much!

    • I have been taking cod liver oil, dehydrated liver pills, and standard process folic acid b12 and the Catalyn thats recommended by the Nourishing Traditions baby and child care book, and WP! I was wondering the same. Its getting expensive the standard process supplements and was looking into trying the Megafood prenatal as well. What did you end up deciding to do?

  38. If taking a prenatal like the Zahler, should I supplement any vitamins or minerals that don’t have 100% of the daily value? I noticed your comments on that brand were very brief, but they seem low on A, magnesium, calcium, copper, and zinc….. that being said, I think by comparison this might be the best brand for me.

  39. Hey! I am 10 months postpartum and am still breastfeeding. Are these recommended for post natal use as well? Would you recommend anything for mamas who need a good multi-vitamin, but don’t want all of the iron in a normal prenatal?

  40. I have a 6 month old that I am nursing. What vitamin do you recommend? Did you take pre natals after giving birth too ? For how long ?

  41. Great info here! But I was really hoping that Pure Essence and Nature’s Plus prenatals would be included in the comparison, given that they’re in the article’s picture.

  42. When I was pregnant I used doterras vitamins… life long vitality. I really love those vitamins! And when I gave birth the doctor commented and how my placenta was beautiful? I thought that was interesting. Do you think there is a connection to the vitamins and foods we eat and it’s impact on the placenta?

  43. O.really.want to.become.a mother.for.almost.3years.married we dont have.a.child i really need your help what.should i do,,,,,i visited a OB once. Theres no problem she gave me only.a vit.e but theres nothing happen i think i meed a very effective vitamins to help me concieve please help me….
    Please help me..
    Thank you

    • ASk your naturopath or health food consultant about Vitus Agnus Castus (the scientific name for Chaste Berry).
      It can be bought off the shelf or prepared as a tonic for you.
      It is an emmenagogue – so it balances your hormones and periods. It is effective for some women in helping them get the balance right to conceive in a relatively short period – 3- 6 months or less in some cases.
      See what they tell you about that and check out the zinc and other things that could help you if your partners fertility needs a boost. Good luck on your journey.

    • My daughter-in-law has just found she is pregnant. Her and hubby had no intention of having another baby. She has been on the Keto Diet for several months and she got pregnant. It is a high (good) fat diet with low carbohydrate intake. She mentioned that many women have gotten pregnant on the Keto diet and men who could not impregnate, were able after being on the diet. Do research on it. It is worth a try. May God bless you with children.

    • Chaste Berry for sure. Also try acupuncture, I swear it has helped me tremendously, I’ve been pregnant 3 times. Prior to acupuncture, nothing. Find a good Integrative doctor and get them to run tests on you. Good luck!

  44. Hello! First let me say I LOVE all the info on your blog. I recently began taking prenatal vitamins, and I did A LOT of research before I decided to take the Vitamin Code Prentals.

    In your post you referenced that Vit-A in the form of beta-carotene is not good but all the research I’ve done says it is the better form. Could you elaborate on that or link to some other articles? The Vitamin Code prenatals I am taking are pretty high in Vit A and it is the beta-carotene form so I’d love to know more about that topic.

    Thanks SO much!!!

  45. I don’t see where these food based prenatal shave dha? Am I missing it?

  46. i take my prenatals from myKind Organics with Garden of Life. sister to Vitamin Code (with Garden of Life too) surprised to see it not listed here!

  47. Hi,

    I was wondering if it’s safe to take Women’s One A Day prenatal vitamin supplements. I’ll appreciate your response. Thanks.

    • I’m sure its safe, you just might not get much from them if they aren’t food based and bio-available.

      • Couldn’t agree more–not all vitamins are created equally, both in terms of ingredients and how they are “delivered” to the body for absorption.

  48. Do you have a prenatal recommendation that is food-based and DOES NOT CONTAIN IRON? I take that in the third trimester and take spatone. It’s worth the extra money. I don’t want to take cal/mag at the same time as iron, so prefer a multi without it. Thank you, I am having a lot of difficulty finding one.

    • Hi! Not sure if you’re interested in taking a gummy vitamin, but Smarty Pants non-gmo gummy prenatals do not contain iron or calcium. They do have a bit of organic cane sugar in them but it’s to offset the omega 3 in the vitamin. Might be worth checking out, I take them and love them. They taste great and spares me from taking 3 separate prenatal + omega + folate vitamins. You can find them on amazon.

      • Hi Marisa,

        The only watch-out with gummy vitamins is low bioavailability (ability to absorb nutrients from the supplement). Food-based vitamins are best for this reason, as they are optimally “delivered” in a way that the body naturally recognizes. This leads to greater absorption and assimilation.

        I am the founder of a food-based supplements company (Needed)–our supplements are all in powdered form designed to be blended into food & drinks to ease the pain of swallowing pills. Stay tuned for our launch this fall–we have a prenatal vitamin in the works 🙂

  49. I see lots of prenatals have Iron and Calcium. Calcium inhibits the absorption of iron in the intestines. Should Iron be taken separately than the prenatal supplement?

    • My OB, Midwife and DO all said that if I’ve never tested low for Iron then I shouldn’t supplement it any and stick with the calcium.

  50. When should one start taking pre-natal vitamins?
    ONLY upon finding out about pregnancy? If so, what about before? Aka when stopping using contraception. Thanks!

    • If you’re trying to get pregnant it’s totally worth it to start. As soon as you even think you might be pregnant it’s important to start taking them.

  51. I started googling for information about natural and non-GMO prenatals, and I wasn’t having much luck. Then I thought about you, and I just knew mama natural would have some good information about this. You helped me make a decision! Thank you!

  52. Wish I would have known all this before I got pregnant I’ve been taking county life prenatals my whole pregnancy next pregnancy I’ll definitely be taking something different !!

  53. I’m very new to all of this and I have a question about choosing a vitamin. I just found out I’m pregnant and I want to make sure I’m doing everything correctly. I haven’t been to my first prenatal appointment yet, so I don’t know if I have the MTHFR mutation, but I do know that my mother had a stillborn baby whose issues were associated with folic acid. Would it be safe for me to take the MTHFR specific prenatal vitamin, even if I don’t have the mutation? Are there any dangers associated with it if you end up NOT having the mutation? Sorry if that’s a dumb question – this is my first pregnancy and both my husband and I were pretty surprised when those sticks showed up “yes”, so I’m scrambling try to make sure I don’t miss anything in these first critical weeks! TIA! <3

    • Hey,
      I don’t see how it could hurt. The type of folate is different. It’s not a Whole Foods supplement so absorbtion would be different. You can also call your on with questions. Always check with them.

  54. I am on my 4th pregnancy (8th child) using the Rainbow Light Prenatal One. With my first 4 pregnancies I used other vitamins and experienced extreme nausea but with the last 4 only mild nausea. I swear it’s these vitamins. I also take a cod liver supplement for omegas 3s.

  55. Dear Genevieve, I’m successfully exclusively breastfeeding my five month old daughter. My health however is deteriorating and I’d like to up my energy before I start solids at 6 months. Could u please reccomend a good food postnatal supplement as I really need to get some energy to get work done around the house. I’m always tired!! Awaiting your reply x

  56. Hello!

    I’m looking at possibly taking Mega Food Baby and Me 2 (Herb Free), but it doesn’t reach the RDA in Folate. You said that you took this vitamin yourself, but did you add any additional folate supplements because it only has 600 mcg of folate.

    Thank you!

  57. I was diagnosed with PCOS and premature ovarian failure seven years ago, and was told by my fertility doctor that I had little hope of having baby, and my relatively age (I am 42). I had pretty much given no hope and had nothing to strive or opt for. As a last effort, my mother bought me your ttc herbal and I’m 24weeks gone! Channel:C0040350D
    facebook: oduduwa ajakaye

    • I am in the same situation. What TTC product did you take. Thank you very much for reply!

  58. What prenatal would you recommend for someone with a high risk pregnancy and cannot have iodine? Thanks!

  59. Hi,
    Can you name the cod liver oil and magnesium supplement you were using with MegaFood Baby & Me 2. Anything specific in dosage or brand that i should be looking for while picking one.

  60. What do you consider too large of dose of ginger? I have taken Rainbow Lite, Megafoods, New Chapter, and Synergy Prenatals. I think I like the Synergy ones best, but they have 200mg of ginger in a serving. Do you consider this too much? Is there a trimester where it is better or worse to have ginger, or can it in any trimester cause premature labor?

    Is it a good idea to take liver pills on top of a prenatal, or is the iron in the prenatal enough? My last pregnancy I took New Chapter brand most of the time, but my iron still tested a little low. My midwife had me take regular, basic iron pills (I’ve learned a few things since then!). I’d like to take something more natural this time (if I need it).

  61. I have taken New Chapter for over a year now and absolutely love it, but now I am trying to help my sister-in-law who is trying to conceive find a good prenatal. I look at all these great prenatals and want to recommend them to her, but she cannot swallow pills. I’ve been attempting research for a few days and can’t seem to find anything chewable or disolvable that I would feel comfortable recommending made with whole food vitamins. Do you have something you could recommend?

    • Garden of Eden’s Raw prenatal is a pill but you can open it up and pour the powder into water or juice. That should help your sister in law.

    • I just replied to another comment above about this – not sure if you’re still interested since it’s been a few months but Smarty Pants non-gmo gummy prenatals do not contain iron or calcium. They do have a bit of organic cane sugar in them but it’s to offset the omega 3 in the vitamin. Might be worth checking out, I take them and love them. They taste great and spares me from taking 3 separate prenatal + omega + folate vitamins. You can find them on amazon. Hope this helps!

  62. I started taking the Vitamin Code pills you suggested before pregnancy. Now that morning sickness is here in full glory, I cannot even put a pill in my mouth without throwing up. Are there any well balanced chewable vitamins that you recommend?

    • During the Functional Nutrition Conference presented at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in October of 2017 one of the research/MDs presented information related to the root cause of nausea during pregnancy. He was a PhD and MD, he stated it is associated with Molybdenum and B6 deficiency. Without which you build up of sulfites in the blood. Normally the body is able to convert these to sulfate which is easily used by the body or excreted.. So you need more Molybdenum and B6. The RDI for Molybdenum is a fraction of what you actually need in our environment of extremely mineral deficient soils of today. I would consider taking 400-1000mcg. Please if you read this, research and Share

  63. Thanks for all that information. This is extremely informative. I was taking the Zahler Prenata plus DHA and I loved it! They actually came out with a new, much better one. The ingredients are fantastic and it has 300mg of DHA. I’m always recommending this product and everyone loves it. Here’s the link to i https://www.amazon.com/Zahler-Multivitamin-supplement-development-Certified/dp/B01KYBTSQQ/ref=sr_1_127_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1475171434&sr=1-127&keywords=prenatal%2Bdha&th=1 I really really love it!

  64. Are there any food-based prenatals that don’t contain iron? I have pernicious anemia so I already have too much iron. I’ve been taking Seeking Health’s optimal prenatal, though I would really prefer a food-based supplement but haven’t been able to find any 🙁 They may not exist but figured I’d ask in case anyone knew of one!

    • Try Garden of Life Mykind Organics Prenatal Gummy Multivitamin, Berry- the don’t have iron (or calcium). They are made from 9 organic fruits and veggies and contain the natural form of each vitamin listed. I really like mine and don’t have problems with nausea after.

  65. Hi. I was wondering if you knew anything about the Trader Joe’s Prenatal Vitamins and their B-6/Folic Acid/B-12. I was recently prescribed the nestabs and I’m debating which ones to use. Are Trader Joe’s Prenatal vitamins up to the mark?

    • Just an FYI for all you mama’s out there looking for quality prenatals … and vitamins all together. There is a great list of synthetic / poor quality nutrients commonly found in most vitamins. While this can’t tell you exactly what’s in the pill and how it is manufactured, etc …. it can give you a general idea of the quality. The biggest ones, that Genevieve points out as well, are the B6, B12, and Folic Acid/Folate. Avoid the forms found below and look for a product that has B6 in the form of P-5-P, B12 in the form of methylcobalamin (or next best adenosylcobalamin) and I suggest every pregnant woman take the methylated form of folate as L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate.

      Vitamin A: Retinyl Palmitate
      Vitamin B1: Mononitrate or Hydrochloride
      Vitamin B2: Riboflavin
      Pantothenic Acid: Calcium D-Pantothenate
      Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
      Vitamin B12: Cyanocobalamin
      PABA: Aminobenzoic Acid
      Vitamin B9 (Folate) : Pteroylglutamic Acid, Folic Acid
      Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
      Biotin: d-Biotin
      Vitamin C: Ascorbic Acid
      Vitamin D: Irradiated Ergosteral, Calciferol
      Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol (AVOID ALL “DL” FORMS OF VITAMINS)

      Read carefully .. even “whole food” based supplements can contain these inferior forms and poor sources!! I hope this helps some of you as it did for me =)

      • Hi Dr. Lauren,
        thank you for this informative information. I am trying to weed poor prenatals and find one suitable for my MTHFR defect. I know I need one that has the methylated B vitamins, but are there any that you like or would recommend that do not contain the poor quality stuff you mentioned above? What did you take when you were pregnant or if you were pregnant 😉 TIA!

      • Hello Dr Lauren,

        Have you heard about Naturelo Prenatal Whole Food Vitamin supplement? I was looking through the list of nutrients and many of them say they come from natural sources, but I`m not very sure about its quality since is not mentioned here in this post.
        Thanks
        Karen

  66. Hi Genevieve, I’m so glad I’ve stumbled upon your website and weekly updates! It’s such a nice alternative to some of the others, even though I appreciate them too. I was wondering what you though about Youngevity? It’s not technically a prenatal, but follows many of the others you listed, in that it’s natural, plant-based/food-based and gives lots of digestible really good vitamins & mineral doses. Just thought I’d ask, as that’s what I’m taking as a natural supplement, but I don’t really know if it’s “missing” anything crucial. I’m taking the Beyond Tangy Tangerine Complete Multi-Vitamin Mineral Complex, Ultimate EFA Plus, and Beyond Osteo-fx (which I’ll have in chewables soon, because the liquid is making me nauseous).

    Thanks! Kati

    • I am also considering this product as a prenatal. Would really appreciate feedback. Thanks!!!

    • I’m also currently taking Beyond Tangy Tangerine (powder mix) as well as EFAs and Osteo FX. I mix the Osteo liquid with the SlenderFX in the morning with milk and it gets down a lot better. I am 6 weeks but with my first 2 I already was craving chips and sweets at this point. I really think this 3rd time around with already taking these products prior to conception my cravings are way down. And so far I am not sick as I was the first 2 times. Not sure if it’s because of these products taking this time or if it’s the 3rd. I am going to keep up with it though.

  67. I am very disappointed in Baby and Me products. After reading these articles, I blindly ordered baby and Me herb free vitamins and to my surprise as I started to read the label, I realized this bottle had the exact list of synthetic vitamins to avoid:
    • Vitamin A: Acetate and Palmitate
    • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine Hydrochloride
    • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin
    • Pantothenic Acid: Calcium D-Pantothenate
    • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
    • Vitamin B12: Cobalamin
    • PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid): Aminobenzoic Acid
    • Folic Acid: Pteroylglutamic Acid
    • Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
    • Biotin: d-Biotin
    • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Ascorbic Acid
    • Vitamin D: Irradiated Ergosteral, Calciferol
    • Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate
    The problem is that I ordered full dose for my pregnancy and are being shipped to me to Lithuania. I have no other choice or money left now to replace these vitamins that are on the way. I cant even explain how sad I feel!

    • I am also taking MegaFoods Baby&Me and am wondering about the forms of vitamins used in this formula. On the label in this article and on the label on my bottle, there are no details for most vitamins. For example B12 just says Vitamin B12 (4mg S. cerivisiae) 20 mcg. No way of knowing if it is the methyl or cyano form. Daisy, where did you see find the details above? Can anyone provide more information on this product and what the lack of details on the label means? I took it initally as being due to it being from whole foods vs a synthetic version, so it was not just one isolated compound, but now I have my doubts, especialy since I read that there is a lawsuit against Mega Foods because their products are not necessarily truly all from whole foods and they are accused of misleading labelling. I really hope someone can shed some light on this…thanks!

  68. Genevieve, which specific magnesium supplement do you recommend?

  69. Hi, I am currently looking into prenatal vitamins as we are in TTC mode. I really love all the great things I hear about Mega Food Baby and Me 2 (the new form of the herb free) and I actually started taking it. Then….. I saw something about a lead content. Have you read anything about that? Apparently its normal when it comes to natural foods and whole food based vitamins or supplements. Do you have any insight on this? Maybe I’m just overthinking the whole thing.

  70. I could use some advice! I took the Rainbow Lite prenatal last pregnancy, but I’m gagging on it much more this time around. Are any of these recommended prenatal smaller in SIZE than the horsepill-sized Rainbow Lite?

    • I’ve taken the Rainbow Light Organic capsules, and they’re easier to take than the tablets in the non-organic version. You can find them on Amazon. It has a dark green label. They do float on the water when you take them (since they are capsules filled with the dehydrated foods in the vitamin), so it takes a little adjustment for swallowing… but they’re smaller, so it is nicer on the gag reflex.

    • Rainbow Light actually makes a smaller pill. It’s called Prenatal Petite Mini-tablet. I have to take it, as I struggle with the larger pills! I found mine on Amazon for about $20

    • Heads up … Rainbow light uses Cyanocobalamin 🙁 and not great forms of B6 and Folate …
      The “whole food” source can be appealing, I completely understand that. But even food based products can be poor quality and contaminated … I love Lab Door’s website as they have done some great independent research for us!

      • Can you recommend any prenatal that does not have these synthetic vitamins?

  71. Hi there,
    I had a quick question for you regarding the VITAMIN A, VITAMIN E, BETA-CAROTENE in the MegaFoods prenatals. As a matter of fact they are added in almost every brand of prenatal that I have come across but they have also been a little controversial. I had used Dr.Fuhrman’s Gentel Prenatals and he very strictly opposes the above (I supplemented the missing Folate separately). I want to try a different brand for my next pregnancy but this Vit-A controversy is hard to get by. Any opinion you would like to share.

    Thankyou.
    RT

    • And nuts and seeds give you all the E you need. You were smart to go with the Fuhrman brand and then just supplement with folate if you are not consuming enough beans and greens. Dr. Fuhrman has tested many nutritarian preganancies and not one was deficient in folate.

  72. Pure synergy is another really good food based prenatal. I love it..it has folate & a good dose of d3 & k2.

    • Good call! They have great products.

  73. I have been taking a Prenatal that is not listed on here and it was developed for moms-to-be. I’d love to hear your research on them and if you think others would’ve a better option.
    Emerald Laboratories Co-enzyme prenatals with probiotics

    • I take this kind too.

  74. Hi, I have been taking a Prenatal plus DHA complete supplement made by Buried Treasure. I picked it up at a Whole Foods store b/c it was my only option for getting folate instead of folic acid. Is this supplement okay?

  75. Rainbow Light’s Prenatal One has served me well during five pregnancies and also for nutritional support while nursing.

  76. Hi mamanatural! I take new chapter perfect prenatal, vitamin d3 (5000iu), Nordic naturals fish oil due to the high dha (450), folbic which is a prescription folic acid given to be after 2 miscarriages I had before I had my first baby, and a baby aspirin (also given due to the miscarriages ). This coctail gave me a beautiful healthy baby girl, and when we decided it was time for number 2, I got pregnant right away again and I’m currently 7 weeks. I also stayed on the new chapters, fish oil, and vitamin d while breastfeeding my daughter until she was 17 months, only stopping because they encouraged it so I can take progesterone to help support my pregnancy. All in all I love my pregnancy coctail but will probably find a different coctail for when I’m done with having babies and breastfeeding! Thanks for all of your great work, I’ve followed you for years!

  77. I need your advice.. I’m 13 weeks pregnant (first time young mom) and still can not take my vitamin code raw prenatals, I tried it so many different ways (at night, middle of the night, breakfast and lunch) it still makes my stomach swell up with gas and pain.. My doctor just told me to take folic acid straight and that hurts my stomach even more. I am on zofran because I have hyperemesis gravadarium.. Anything off-putting (food or smell wise) makes me so ill. Worried the baby isn’t getting enough vitamin while trying to keep food down. Any recommendations?

    • I hope that you have found your solution by now. I would recommend changing brands to see if that helps. I have tried Vitamin Code’s general multivitamin and their probiotic previously (not during pregnancy), and both times had the gastro- issues that you describe, including feeling nauseous almost constantly. My doc suspects that I was allergic/intolerant to something in their standard blend.

    • Can you find a liquid one? Or you can put pills in smoothie and dissolve. Hope you feel better soon!

    • Folic acid is not good for you- even if you don’t have the mthfr mutation bus especially if you do- I’d highly recommend a different approach for folate. especially with everything else you are dealing with. So sorry about the HG. I know seeking health makes a phenomenal prenatal which is mentioned above, I’ve tried several on this list and theirs is far and away the best I’ve tried. Energy levels, mood and everything really improved for me just from this prenatal. They even make a version that is incorporated into protein powder if you cannot take pills. This may be worth a try? And in general, capsule supplements absorb better than tablets so find a good quality capsule and you can empty it into a small smoothie if you are able to keep that down. Good luck!!

    • You can open the vitamin and put the contents in a smoothie or juice

  78. I started off just taking a multi vitamin for shaklee (as it seemed to have the vitamins and minerals as most prenatals) and folate, and for the most part felt fine. Only slightly nauseous when hungry. Recently though, a doula I go to church with recommended mykind organics, a certified organic whole food prenatal multi by Garden of Life. I haven’t felt sick yet since taking it.

  79. Hi mama natural, could I get your opinion on using juice plus as a prenatal and adding in and extra b complex with it? I’m actually a distributor of juice plus,but I haven’t ordered any in a while and now that I’m pregnant I’m thinking of using juice plus as my prenatal. Have you ever researched juice plus before?I would love to hear your take on this supplement!

    • Oh and I I also wanted to get your opinion on young living fish oils and thier supplements, do you recommend them?I know the essential oils are awsome!

    • I take juice plus the green and red ones and am pregnant. There’s research on jusce plus and pregnancy. I got it from my distributor. I take 3 of each instead of the regular 2 daily to be sure I have enough folate. I also take plexus products and a calcium and alfalfa. I wasn’t comfortable just being on juice plus alone but I know women who have.

  80. I took women’s one a day with my son (poor kid)… He was my junkfood baby…. I took rainbow light and focused on a nutrient dense wapf type diet with my daughter. I was dumb enough to think food based meant that everything was food based, but the folic acid is not. My daughter ended up being tongue tied because of the folic acid. After I had her I switched to best nest wellness perfect prenatal, which has the right folate for mthfr people. It is also reasonable as far as good supplements go. I also took collagen, cod-liver oil, vitamin D, and magnesium with my daughter, because my D levels were very low. I wasn’t able to tolerate the D without taking magnesium as well! This is a great article! 🙂

  81. With a little deeper research, you’ll see that these food based vitamins are the SYNTHETIC forms of vitamins put in a bath of veggie powder and probiotics and pressed into a capsule. Synthetic vitamins taken with food and probiotics (or simply rely on the trillions of probiotics in our gut) are the exact same thing. The only true food based vitamins are food. Powdered food supplements. Unfortunately this one of the biggest marketing scams in the supplement world. I’m all for supplementing when needed, I’m just opposed to sneaky marketing lies.

    • You hit the nail on the head, Sarah! I was shocked when my research found the same things you did. I was trained for years to tell everyone the food based supplements were superior …
      It is so dis-heartening (not to mention harmful!) what marketing can do. And it makes it super confusing to know what is best and who to trust. I thin Genevieve has done such an awesome job with researching products and all her info. Im so happy I found Mama Natural!

  82. I just finished ordering my own blend of vitamins. I’m 7months pregnant and have been taking New Chapter vitamins which are easy to digest on an empty stomach. But after doing a lot of vitamin/nutrient research I found I couldn’t find any one prenatal that I was happy with the ingredients of and so I am making my own blend. A methylated B complex, a multi mineral, a fish oil supplement, and a few others on top. I’m super excited to see if they give me more energy and how I do! I found the book “the real vitamin and mineral book” to be super informative on navigating the world of supplements, though it does not contain everything you might want to know.

  83. I was wondering about this very thing today!
    When is the best time to start taking a prenatal? When trying to conceive or once pregnant?
    Thanks!

  84. Hey MN, I think you need to make a distinction between food-based vitamins, and whole food vitamins. I believe there are FDA regulations for labeling with those phrases. My understanding is that in order to be food-based, only 5% of the vitamins have to be food-based, whereas whole food vitamins (MegaFood and New Chapter are the only ones I know of) must be 100% based on food.
    Thanks for the article, great info!

    • I was wondering about the rainbow light one’s because if you read the description it says “provides potent vitamins and minerals on a BASE of super food extracts…” This is a little unclear and leads me to think it’s not completely food based…

    • Garden of Life Mykind Organics is 100% whole food (organic, non-GMO, gluten/soy/dairy-free).

      This is the one I am going to get, after a lot of research. It also does not contain magnesium stearate (for the coating), which is a bonus. It came number one for prenatals on Labdoor (which is not why I chose it but it was reassuring to know that they were independently checked).

      It, however, does NOT contain choline or a methylated form of folate so I am ordering these separately (for a choline supplement without magnesium stearate, I found one from Nested Naturals and I will get my L-5-MTFH from Seeking Health). It does not contain copper either but I eat beef liver every week. For DHA, I take cod liver oil (Rosita) every day (which also covers omega 3s, vitamin D, etc.)

      I just wanted to give my own prenatal “blend” solution if this can help anyone. I know I freaked out a month ago when I saw all the options. It takes a bit of time to find something that works, we’re all different so do your research and talk to your doctor, friends…

      FYI, I realised that Megafood relies heavily on brewer’s yeast as their main whole food ingredient…

      • Hi Elle,

        Since Garden of Life Mykind Organics Prenatal Multi already has 800 mcg of folate and you are adding L-5-MTFH from Seeking Health, will you be taking a total of 1600 mcg of folate? I used to take Garden of Life Mykind Organics Multi and loved them, then I found out I needed to take a multi with L-5-MTFH so my naturopath reccommended I take Seeking Health Optimal Multi, but I do not like that they are not whole food based. And now that I want to get pregnant am stuck since I need the L-5-MTFH, but want a whole food based multi. Searching for that combo, 100% whole food vitamin with L-5-MTFH.

        • Hi Christina! This is the exact situation I am in and I am trying to find the solution! Did you come across anything that worked?? I’m feeling very overwhelmed by all the options out there and all the information. My nutritionist suggested Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal as well, but I don’t like that it’s not food-based. Thanks!

  85. I shamelessly took gummies that I purchased at Whole Foods. I couldn’t swallow a pill to save my life. I got my blood tested several times through out asking the doctor to test for deficiencies since I have an auto immune disease that sometimes makes me anemic as well as vitamin D deficient. Turns out I was fine with just the basic gummies. It’s also important to be uber tenacious and choose your foods based on nutrients. I never got cravings, so I could plan accordingly. Like eating a tin of sardines and hunk of cheese instead of chowing down on something yucky.

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