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During pregnancy, good nutrition is key for not only supporting your own health but the health of your impending arrival. But throw in bouts of morning sickness and a serious craving for candy and ice cream, and well, it can be more than a little challenging to make sure you get all of your nutrients through diet alone. Enter prenatal vitamins, a pregnancy must-have.
“There are certain vitamins and minerals that are important to maintaining the health of a pregnancy,” explains Dr. Malinda Lee, ob-gyn and fertility specialist at Spring Fertility's Mountain View and Sunnyvale offices. “Some support the growth of the fetus while others are important in preventing birth defects. Taking a prenatal vitamin daily, on top of eating a healthy diet, will help optimize your nutritional status to make sure your body is ‘replete’ in all the essentials.”
The good news is, most prenatal vitamins on the market are relatively safe and meet doctor recommendations, so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding one that’s right for you. “Generally speaking, almost all prenatal vitamins will meet the recommendations outlined by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,” says Lee. Still, we definitely have our share of favorites, which are outlined below.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Malinda Lee is an ob-gyn and fertility specialist at Spring Fertility's Mountain View and Sunnyvale offices.
What to Look For in a Prenatal Vitamin
The most important ingredients to look for in a prenatal vitamin are folic acid, which is said to help prevent brain and spine defects such as spina bifida, as well as iron, which helps your body produce extra blood you and your fetus need, says Lee. (Docs typically recommend 600 micrograms of folic acid daily and 27 milligrams of iron daily.)
Vitamins, Calcium, and Fatty Acids
Beyond folic acid and iron, other important components of a prenatal vitamin include calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, and omega 3 fatty acids.
Ready to add a prenatal vitamin to your daily routine? Keep scrolling to discover the best prenatal vitamins available right now.
Best Overall: Ritual Essential Prenatal
This prenatal vitamin is a favorite of Byrdie Commerce Editorial Director Jessica Mahgerefteh, who has been using them throughout her first pregnancy. It’s chock full of all the essential nutrients pregnant people need, including folate, vitamin D3, iron, choline, DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid. The ingredients were carefully selected by Ritual’s in-house science team, who reviewed thousands of studies as they developed this blend. The vitamins also have a refreshing citrusy scent to make taking a daily pill a more enjoyable experience.
"These prenatal vitamins are the opposite of clunky horse pills," Mahgerefteh says. "They are easy to swallow and do not cause any nausea, which was huge for me given how sick I felt throughout my first trimester. I especially love how transparent the brand is about why each ingredient is included and how it was sourced. Everything you need to know is readily available on the brand site, so there are zero surprises."
Oh, and because Rituals works on a subscription model, you’ll receive a 30-day supply like clockwork each month, meaning you’ll never have to stress about running low.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: One a Day Women’s Prenatal
Lee says she used this prenatal vitamin during her own pregnancies. This complete prenatal vitamin combines folic acid, iron, DHA, calcium, vitamin D, and more to support you and your developing fetus throughout the duration of your pregnancy. Users highlight how gentle this prenatal vitamin is on their stomachs as well as the convenience of being able to get all their nutrients in one pill.
Best Budget: Spring Valley Prenatal Multivitamin & Multimineral With Folic Acid
You don’t have to shell out a ton of money to find an effective prenatal vitamin. This budget-friendly option clocks in at less than the cost of buying a latte at your local coffee shop (but actually). In this prenatal vitamin, you’ll find 13 essential ingredients, including folic acid, iron, calcium, and vitamins C, D, and E. Users love the reasonable price and how gentle the pills are on the stomach.
Best Drugstore: Nature Made Prenatal Multivitamin + DHA
You can find a good-quality prenatal vitamin, like this one, right at your local drugstore. This prenatal vitamin supplies you with DHA, along with folic acid, iron, and a slew of vitamins (A, B, C, D, E, and K) so you get everything you need in one convenient pill. It gets high marks from users, including Byrdie Senior Editor Lindsey Metrus and Senior Commerce Editorial Director Dwyer Frame, thanks to the well-rounded mix of nutrients in the formula as well as how easy the pills are to swallow.
Best Natural: Best Nest Wellness Mama Bird Prenatal Multi+
Looking for a natural prenatal vitamin? This one fits the bill perfectly. Instead of being made with synthetic forms of vitamins and minerals (such as folic acid), it’s made with methylated vitamins, which are the active forms of vitamins naturally found in your body. The formula combines these nutrients with probiotics, digestive enzymes, and organic herbals for a gentle-on-your stomach and easy-to-swallow pill.
Best Organic: Movita Prenatal
This high-quality, ICS-certified organic prenatal vitamin is worth the price. (And it certainly doesn’t hurt that it comes housed in an Instagram-worthy glass bottle.) The formula is the real deal: It contains 100% or more of the daily recommended dose of folic acid, iron, vitamins B, C, D, and more. What’s more, all of the ingredients in this prenatal vitamin are organic, gluten-free, and allergen-free.
Runner-Up, Best Organic: Garden of Life Prenatal One a Day Multivitamin
If you’re someone who only shops the organic aisle in your grocery store, then you’ll love this organic prenatal vitamin. It’s USDA Certified Organic, so you know you’re getting a quality product. The unique formula is made from a blend of 30+ certified organic powdered fruits, vegetables, and herbs. You get your daily recommended dose of 21 essential vitamins and minerals, as well as ginger and organic peppermint to help curb pregnancy-related nausea.
Best Gummy: OLLY Essential Prenatal Multivitamin Gummies
Detest taking pills? We feel you. Luckily, prenatal gummies exist, and this version is pretty amazing. They contain folic acid, DHA, and vitamin D (no iron, so you’ll need to supplement) and taste deliciously citrusy. Users are obsessed with the taste and the fact that this prenatal vitamin doesn’t cause nausea.
Runner-Up, Best Gummy: SmartyPants Prenatal Complete
These are another great gummy option for pregnant parents-to-be who are pill averse. They don’t contain iron, so you’ll have to get that elsewhere, but they do have other essential nutrients, like methyl folate, vitamin D3, and DHA. Users like the sweet and fruity flavor and how gentle the gummies are on the tummy.
Best With Iron: Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin
Iron can be rough on the stomach, but it doesn’t have to be. This prenatal vitamin contains a digestive support blend and plant-based enzymes to help aid in digestion and prevent discomfort. With this prenatal vitamin, you get all of your daily needs of iron, vitamins B and D, folate, and even zinc, which helps support your immune system. The formula is also vegetarian and gluten-free, making this a great pick for expectant parents with dietary restrictions.
Best With Probiotics: New Chapter Perfect Prenatal
Find yourself battling morning sickness, or perhaps other prenatal vitamins have made you queasy? Try these prenatal vitamins, which contain probiotics to help promote gut health and aid in digestion. You’ll get your daily fill of folate, iron, B vitamins, and more, without irritating your stomach. Users say they are even able to take this vitamin on an empty stomach without any adverse effects.
Best With DHA: Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA
DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that supports brain development during pregnancy. If your prenatal vitamin doesn’t contain DHA, your doctor may recommend an additional supplement. This prenatal vitamin supplies you with the recommended daily dose of omega-3 DHA in addition to vitamin D3. Some omega-3 supplements come with a fishy aftertaste, but users note that this one is virtually tasteless.
When should you start taking a prenatal vitamin?
So when should you start taking a prenatal vitamin? “Any time you are contemplating pregnancy or could be pregnant, start taking a prenatal vitamin once a day,” suggests Lee. “Generally, we recommend taking a prenatal starting at least one month before conception, and ideally three months [before].”
What are the potential side effects of a prenatal vitamin?
Just be aware that prenatal vitamins can sometimes cause nausea and constipation, due to iron, which can be hard on the stomach. Nausea and constipation are also common side effects of pregnancy, so that can lead to a vicious cycle of feeling sick. “Women experiencing these side effects can try to manage these symptoms with natural remedies like ginger and lemon, plenty of hydration, over the counter stool softeners, or, if severe, talk to their doctor,” says Lee.