Prenatal vitamins are a key component of having a healthy pregnancy, and they should be taken daily when trying to conceive and while pregnant. A healthy diet is also important, but that can only cover so much, which is where prenatals come in — they can help fill in any nutritional gaps to ensure that you and your baby have all of the vitamins and minerals needed.
For starters, stick with one good prenatal vitamin, and take it every day. But exactly which over-the-counter formula is right for you? From gummies to capsules to chewables, the options can seem endless and be quite overwhelming. Consider this doctor-approved guide when making your decision!
What to Look For in a Prenatal
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you need a few key vitamins and minerals during pregnancy. The foods you eat will provide much of what is needed — see below for the recommended daily amounts to consume per day:
Folic Acid (600 mcg): Also known as folate. Supports general growth and development of the fetus and placenta, and helps prevent birth defects of the brain and spine. (
Calcium (1,000 mg): Strengthens fetal bones and teeth. (Foods to eat: Milk, cheese, yogurt, dark greens.)
Choline (450 mg): Supports healthy development of baby’s brain and spinal cord. (Foods to eat: Milk, eggs, peanuts, soy products.)
Iron (27 mg): Helps form red blood cells and hemoglobin, which transport oxygen from your lungs to your fetus. (Foods to eat: Lean red meat, poultry, fish, beans, peas.)
Iodine (220 mcg): Contributes to healthy brain development and maintaining thyroid health. (Foods to eat: Dairy products, seafood, meat, some bread, eggs.)
Vitamin A (770 mcg): Supports fetal eye development and good vision, in addition to helping with bone growth. (Foods to eat: Carrots, leafy greens, sweet potatoes.)
Vitamin C (85 mg): Promotes healthy bones and growth of connective tissue (skin, joints, gums, etc.) and contributes to a healthy immune system. (Foods to eat: Citrus fruit, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries.)
Vitamin D (600 IU): Promotes healthy bones and teeth, in addition to healthy eyesight and skin. If deficient, your doctor may suggest a higher dose, such as 800 or 1,000 IU. (Foods to eat: Fortified milk, fatty fish such as salmon. And sunlight!)
Vitamin B6 (1.9 mg): Helps form red blood cells and boosts energy while pregnant. (Foods to eat: Beef, pork, ham, whole-grain cereals, bananas.)
Vitamin B12 (2.6 mcg): Helps maintain the central nervous system. (Foods to eat: Meat, fish, poultry, milk.)
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Specifically omega-3s DHA and EPA. Assists with retina and fetal brain development. (Foods to eat: Fish, flaxseed, broccoli, cantaloupe, spinach, cauliflower, walnuts.)
Note that some prenatal vitamins may contain less or more than the aforementioned amounts, which is fine, as eating a healthy diet will help! But over-the-counter multivitamins in addition to taking a prenatal are not necessary, as extremely high doses of some vitamins could actually be harmful to the health of you and your baby.
Suggested Prenatal Vitamins
Don’t let prenatal vitamins contribute to decision fatigue — you already have a lot on your mind, from baby names to the nursery. Here are a few tried-and-true formulas that are Beaches OBGYN-approved.
One A Day Prenatal1 Complete Multivitamin: Contains hefty doses of the most critical nutrients needed in an easy-to-consume softgel. ($34 for 60, BUY NOW on Amazon)
Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA: Though this pill is larger and may be somewhat hard to swallow (literally), it does contain impressive amounts of the nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy. ($25 for 150, BUY NOW on Amazon)
Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins: For those who prefer a gummy vitamin. Just note that these do not contain any iron or calcium, so consider getting those through eating certain foods or speak with your doctor about taking an additional supplement. ($10 for 90, BUY NOW on Amazon)
Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal: This vitamin is a good choice for vegetarians and is made using whole plant foods. ($40 for 180, BUY NOW on Amazon)
New Chapter Advanced Perfect Prenatal Multivitamins: This vegetarian formula is made with organic ingredients and combats nausea and morning sickness with organic ginger. ($33 for 96, BUY NOW on Amazon)
SmartyPants Prenatal Formula: Another good gummy, but note that this one also doesn’t contain calcium or iron. Serving size is 4 gummies/day. ($23 for 120, BUY NOW on Amazon)
Always speak with your healthcare physician if you have any questions or concerns about which supplements are safe to take.