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Whether you're actively trying to conceive or are just beginning to think about having a baby, it is important to ensure you're getting enough nutrients. Having optimal levels of folate, iron, calcium, vitamin D, B Vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids is critical for a baby’s development and keeping you feeling good during pregnancy.
For this reason, even those with the best diets will benefit from incorporating a prenatal vitamin into their routines. And of course, for those with morning sickness or certain cravings, prenatal vitamins will help keep your nutrient needs covered. Some prenatal products will include important nutrients like DHA or choline, but others might not include it and may be paired with additional supplements. As always, speak with your physician about which prenatal vitamin is right for you.
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
One of the most important ingredients to look for in a prenatal vitamin is folic acid. Folic acid is necessary for forming the baby’s neural tube and proper intake can prevent brain and spine defects. Once you start thinking about having a baby, it is important to begin taking at least 400 mcg of folic acid and increase it to 600 mcg per day once pregnant.
Other important nutrients
Vitamin D, calcium, choline, DHA, iron, and vitamin C are all super important nutrients that you want in a prenatal. Iron supports the increase in blood volume during pregnancy and DHA helps support the baby’s brain development. Do your best when shopping for a prenatal, you may have to combine supplements which is totally fine.
Interested in adding a prenatal vitamin to your daily routine? Keep scrolling to discover the best prenatal vitamins available right now.
Best Overall: Innate Response Baby & Me Multivitamin
Tested for 125+ herbicides and pesticides
Designed to be taken whenever and without food
No DHA included
A whole foods-based supplement that's free from endocrine-disrupting herbicides and pesticides? Sign us up! The Baby & Me supplement is a complete prenatal that can be used after birth as well—it's designed to support a healthy pregnancy and developing child with methylated B vitamins, iron, and more. However, this supplement doesn't include DHA, so additional supplementation might be necessary.
Type: tablet | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 2 tablets/day | Certified: Glyphosate residue free, non-GMO, kosher, B-corporation
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Designs for Health Prenatal Pro
Uses the most bioavailable forms of nutrients
Soy, gluten, and dairy-free
No DHA included
Serving size is 4 capsules
Prenatal Pro is a comprehensive formula that features high-quality nutrients. According to the brand, Designs for Health is trusted by more than 50,000 physicians so you know you're in good hands. Featuring activated forms of vitamins and minerals, this supplement is designed for easy absorption. One thing to note is that the serving size for this product is four capsules, so if you have a hard time swallowing pills, this might not be an ideal choice for you.
Type: Capsule | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 4 capsules/day | Certified: Non-GMO, gluten-free
Best Budget: The Honest Company Prenatal Once Daily
Ingredients to help aide digestion
Reviewed by dietitians and doctors
No DHA included
The Honest Company’s Once Daily offers a balanced combination of vitamins and minerals to support the growing nutritional needs during pregnancy. Reviewed by dietitians and doctors, The Honest Company’s prenatal supplement ticks off many boxes for critical vitamins and minerals. For those who may have a hard time with digestion, this product is formulated with organic ginger, and enzymes from papaya, pineapple, and kiwi, as well as a naturally derived sweet vanilla coating (which makes taking them a bit easier). One 30-day supply is priced at less than $20—a score for your wallet without sacrificing quality.
Type: Tablet | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 1 tablet/day | Certified: Non-GMO
Best Drugstore: Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA
Includes 200 mg of DHA
Less than $20 for a 110-day supply
Not for vegans or vegetarians
Luckily, you don't have to search far and wide to find a solid prenatal. Nature Made’s Prenatal Multivitamin can be found at most drugstores and is an excellent affordable option. Each capsule contains DHA, folic acid, iron, and many other vitamins (A, B, C, D, E, and K) to ensure you get everything you need in one convenient pill.
Type: Capsule | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 1 capsule/day | Certified: USP-verified
Best for Vegans: Mama Bird AM/PM Prenatal
Includes 300 mg of choline
Uses lab-certified ingredients
Vegans, rejoice! Mama Bird’s AM/PM Prenatal Multi+ has your back. This vegan product is made with organic herbs, probiotics, a digestive enzyme blend, methylated vitamins, chelated minerals, and 300 milligrams of choline (which can be difficult for vegans to consume, as animal products are the richest source of choline). This product is free of soy, yeast, nuts, sugars, artificial flavors, dairy, and of course, GMOs. We also love that Mama Bird opts for certification by a third-party ISO/IEC 17025 lab to support the active ingredient concentration, heavy metals concentrations, and purity.
Type: Caplets | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 2 caplets/day | Certified: Non-GMO, vegan
Best Single-Serving: One A Day Women's Prenatal 1
Only one softgel per day
Includes EPA and DHA
Not for vegetarians or vegans
Taking multiple tablets or supplements every day can be exhausting, which is why we like One A Day Women's Prenatal 1 Multivitamin. One softgel provides important nutrients like folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, and iron, as well as DHA. This product is also free of artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, wheat, and dairy. Also nice: A 90-day supply is priced at around $30, which is a steal at about $10 per month. FYI, this supplement lacks choline, so additional supplementation may be necessary.
Type: Softgel | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 1 softgel/day | Certified: N/A
Best for Nausea: Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal
Ingredients that support digestion
Lacks choline and DHA
Three capsules in one serving
Morning sickness is no fun, and constantly feeling waves of nausea makes it extra difficult to make sure you're eating well. Vitamin Code includes a blend of probiotics and enzymes to support healthy digestion as well as plenty of vitamins and minerals. The serving size for this product is three capsules, and while they may be taken together or throughout the day (with or without food), those who are sensitive to swallowing pills can also open the capsules and mix the contents with water or juice. DHA and choline are not included in this product so you may need to add an additional supplement.
Type: Capsule | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 3 capsule/day | Certified: Non-GMO, NSF gluten-free, B-Corporation
Best Organic: Garden of Life mykind Organics Prenatal Vitamins
One tablet per serving
Ingredients for nausea
Pricer than other prenatal options
Taking an organic prenatal isn't necessary, but opting for organic ingredients is definitely a nice bonus. Garden of Life’s myKind Prenatal vitamin is certified organic by the USDA and its ingredients are derived from an organic food blend. Be advised, though, that this product is lower in iron than some other prenatal vitamins and doesn't contain choline, so you may need to add other supplements. Additionally, given the lower amount of iron, this product may actually be ideal for those who struggle with constipation—however, it's important to make sure your iron needs are met through diet by speaking with your physician.
Type: Tablet | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 1 tablet/day | Certified: USDA organic, NSF gluten-free, vegan, kosher, non-GMO
Best Gummy: SmartyPants Organic Prenatal Vitamins
Free of common allergens
Includes EPA and DHA
Lacks calcium and iron
6 grams of added sugar per serving
If swallowing capsules or tablets isn't your thing, Smarty Pants Prenatal Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin is a great option. Its formula contains methylated folate, choline, EPA and DHA, and vitamin D. A few notes on this product: Iron and calcium are both not included, so they'll need to be added. Also, one serving of these gummies also contains 6 grams of added sugar, so if you've been instructed to watch your sugar intake during pregnancy, this might not be the best option for you.
Type: Gummy | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 4 gummies/day | Certified: Non-GMO
Best With DHA: Ritual Prenatal
Delayed-release capsule design
Doesn't contain calcium
Must be part of the subscription service
Ritual’s Essential Prenatal features key nutrients in a delayed-release capsule for optimal absorption. We love that these vegan capsules contain nutrients like methylated folate, choline, iodine, vitamin D, and 350 milligrams of DHA. As a bonus, Ritual’s Essential Prenatal is Made Traceable™ with a visible supply chain so you know what you’re putting in your body. Ritual’s vitamins are part of a monthly subscription service, if you are not satisfied with your product there is a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Type: Capsule | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 2 capsules/day | Certified: Non-GMO
What Our Editors Say
"I genuinely enjoyed taking these vitamins for months, which is saying a lot because I'm not a fan of swallowing pills. I love that they're vegan because so many multivitamins out there are not friendly for people with dietary restrictions. My favorite part, though, is that they smell and taste minty fresh. The only reason I'm not taking them now is that I've switched to a prenatal, but once I'm off those, these will again become part of my daily ritual—pun intended." —Jessica Mahgerefteh, Commerce Editorial Director
Best for Allergies: Pure Encapsulations PreNatal Nutrients
Safe for vegetarians
Has a distinct odor/taste
Pure Encapsulations products are made with premium ingredients sourced from trusted suppliers and guided by their nutritional experts The brand takes extra care in testing to verify each product's potency and purity. This product, in particular, is great for those with allergies or intolerances, as it's free of wheat, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, gluten, artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners, coatings and shellacs, GMOs, and unnecessary binders, fillers, and preservatives.
Type: Capsule | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 2 capsules/day | Certified: Non-GMO, gluten-free
Innate Response Formulas Baby & Me Multivitamin is our top pick for prenatal vitamins. One of a few brands that certify their products are free of glyphosate, we appreciate the focus on clean, safe ingredients. Though this product lacks DHA, it does contain many important vitamins and minerals during pregnancy so all you might need to add is a DHA supplement.
What are the benefits of prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are important regardless of whether or not you have an optimal diet. During pregnancy, your needs increase and it's important to be properly nourished to support your own health and the health of your developing baby. Of course, supplements are meant to be an addition to an adequate diet, so it's still important to eat consciously and as well as you're able to during pregnancy.
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].”
How often should you take prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins should be taken daily throughout pregnancy and can even be taken postpartum. If you need additional nutrients, your doctor might recommend added supplements or increasing the frequency of consumption.
Are prenatal vitamins safe?
In general, prenatal vitamins are safe. However, you should always discuss a new supplement with your physician. Some supplements may contain added ingredients like herbs or botanicals which may not be appropriate for everyone. Keep in mind, though, that simple ingredient lists are likely best during pregnancy.
What are the potential side effects of a prenatal vitamin?
Prenatal vitamins can sometimes cause nausea and constipation due to iron, which can be hard on the stomach. “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.
Why Trust Byrdie
As a registered dietitian, Sydney Greene takes supplement recommendations seriously. Every product has been researched and vetted by her against clinical research, product reviews, and third-party testing websites. These are products she would not only feel comfortable recommending to her clients but she would take them herself if needed.