CircleBumpCheckedFilledMedicalBookmarkBookmarkTickBookmarkAddCheckBoxCheckBoxFilled

How to Choose the Best Prenatal Vitamins

There’s a dizzying array online and in-store, but what’s the best prenatal vitamin for you? Here’s how to cut through the clutter.
save article
profile picture of Emma O'Regan-Reidy
By Emma O'Regan-Reidy, E-Commerce Editor
Updated December 19, 2023
How to Choose the Best Prenatal Vitamins-hero
Image: Elizaveta Galitckaia | Shutterstock
We have included third party products to help you navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments. Purchases made through links on this page may earn us a commission.

In a nutshell:
Everyone has unique needs, of course—but based on feedback from medical experts and a survey of nearly 200 members of The Bump community, we chose the Nature Made Prenatal with Folic Acid + DHA Softgels as the overall best prenatal vitamins due to their comprehensive ingredient list, value per bottle and ease of swallowing.

As soon as you get that positive pregnancy test, chances are you’ll start the hunt for a prenatal vitamin—that is, if you aren’t taking one already. After all, prenatal vitamins are crucial to baby’s health, and yours too, to help make sure you’re consuming all the vitamins and minerals that are recommended for a healthy pregnancy. “Daily prenatal vitamins supplement a balanced and nutritious diet as your body evolves during pregnancy to accommodate a growing fetus,” says Irogue Igbinosa, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn and a maternal-fetal medicine physician at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health.

Below, discover our favorite prenatal multivitamin options for an array of lifestyles and needs, plus expert-backed advice and answers to a series of commonly asked questions.

How We Chose the Best Prenatal Vitamins

Walk into any pharmacy or vitamin store, and you’ll find entire walls filled with options, making the task of choosing the best prenatal vitamins tricky. That’s where we come in. We did the bulk of the research for you, so you don’t have to spend hours scrolling. Here’s how we did it:

  • We consulted two ob-gyns and a prenatal nutritionist to understand essential nutritional factors and safety considerations to keep top of mind.
  • We followed nutritional recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Mayo Clinic.
  • We considered several factors when sourcing vitamins, including ingredient lists, nutritional values, dosage, cost per serving and potential side effects, to name a few.
  • We reached out to The Bump community and surveyed almost 200 women who were either currently expecting or had recently given birth and asked for their recommendations and experiences with specific prenatal multivitamins.
  • We read user reviews to get the lowdown on how these prenatal vitamins have worked for moms-to-be and didn’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating.
  • We leveraged our familiarity with leading prenatal health brands and reliable online retailers, browsing a wide range of prenatal multivitamins on the market.

Editorial integrity is at the heart of everything we publish. Read about how The Bump develops and reviews all articles, including product reviews.

The Best Prenatal Vitamins

Overall best prenatal vitamins

Nature Made Prenatal with Folic Acid + DHA Softgels
Image: Target
What We Love
  • Very easy to swallow, according to The Bump community
  • 800 mcg of folic acid
  • Well-priced for quantity and quality
  • United States Pharmacopeia (USP) verified
Things To Consider
  • Some report a fishy aftertaste
  • Doesn’t contain choline
  • Large pill size

At the top of our list of the best prenatal vitamins are these soft-gel capsules from Nature Made. Just one pill a day covers the essentials you’ll need before and during pregnancy. They’re complete with folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and vitamin D3—all of which work together to promote baby’s brain, eye and nervous system development. Plus, Sara Twogood, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn in Los Angeles and co-founder of Female Health Education, highlights a number of these as key nutrients to look for when choosing prenatal vitamins. If that’s not all, 24 percent of our survey respondents used these specific prenatal multivitamins during their pregnancies. The bottom line? The Bump community members loved how easy these capsules were to swallow, how they contained a wide range of ingredients and the budget-friendly price point.

Number of servings: 70 | Serving size: 1 capsule | Key ingredients: All vitamin B variations, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, magnesium, zinc, DHA

Our community says:

“This is a good range of ingredients in doses that suit my needs. The pills were not too large and easy to swallow.” – Amanda, expectant mother and The Bump survey respondent

“I love that they have everything I need in a prenatal, but they’re also affordable and easy to find at stores.” – Meredith, mother of two and The Bump survey respondent

“I like the quality and range of ingredients.” – Rosy, mother of one and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best vegan prenatal vitamins

Ritual Essential Prenatal Multivitamin
Image: Rituals
What We Love
  • High-quality ingredients, according to The Bump community
  • 1,000 mcg of folic acid
  • Subscription options available
  • FSA/HSA eligible
Things To Consider
  • Reviewers recommend taking before bed to prevent fishy burps
  • 10% of the recommended daily choline level

Searching for the best vegan prenatal vitamins? You can’t go wrong with this best-selling option from Ritual, which 6 percent of our survey respondents took during their pregnancies. These plant-based capsules contain all the 12 key nutrients to promote neural tube development, brain health, blood cell formation and bone health. You’ll also appreciate how the ingredients are traceable, so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body and where they came from. Thanks to their delayed release design, they’re easy to digest and absorb—plus, you can choose from citrus or mint essence to help mask this prenatal vitamin’s aftertaste. Last but not least, it’s eligible for FSA/HSA reimbursement.

Number of servings: 30 | Serving size: 2 capsules | Key ingredients: Vitamin B12, vitamin D, folate, biotin, choline, iodine, magnesium, DHA

Our community says:

“I loved the taste and smell. They didn't make me vomit; most vitamins have, my entire life.” – Jennifer, mother of one and The Bump survey respondent

“I liked the quality of ingredients and clear description of sourcing.” – Anna, mother of two and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best all-in-one prenatal vitamins

One A Day Women's Prenatal Multivitamin
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • 800 mcg of folic acid
  • Widely available to purchase
  • Easily digestible soft-gel capsules
  • Reasonably priced, according to The Bump community
  • Can be used for multiple stages
Things To Consider
  • Some report a fishy taste
  • Doesn’t contain choline

Whether you’re trying to conceive, are pregnant or are breastfeeding, you can count on these over-the-counter prenatal vitamins to deliver everything you and baby need. Each dosage contains 100 percent of the daily value for key nutrients, including folic acid, which Twogood states is the most important to look out for. What’s more, 17 percent of our survey respondents said they took this prenatal multivitamin during their pregnancy and praised how easy they were to find in local stores, the range of vitamins included and the reasonable price point. What’s not to love about these all-in-one tablets?

Number of servings: 60 | Serving size: 1 capsule | Key ingredients: Vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, folate, biotin, iodine, magnesium, zinc, copper, DHA

Our community says:

“I like that it’s a soft gel so it’s easy to swallow and I only have to take one a day. It’s also easy to find at any grocery store.” – Doris, mother of one and The Bump survey respondent

“This was recommended by my ob-gyn. I liked that it had a minimal aftertaste and clear, comprehensive ingredients.” – Laura, mother of one and The Bump survey respondent

“It had all the vitamins I needed to be taking and it was easy to find in stores.” – Eleni, mother of one and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best trimester-specific prenatal vitamins

Perelel 1st Trimester Prenatal Pack
Image: Perelel
What We Love
  • Trimester-specific capsules
  • 700 mcg of folic acid
  • No-nausea formulation
  • Subscription options available
Things To Consider
  • Multiple pills daily
  • 22% of recommended daily choline level
  • High price point

Developed by obstetricians and maternal-fetal medicine doctors, Perelel prenatal vitamins are tailored specifically to each trimester. For example, the first-trimester pack includes an additional folate capsule to support neural development and a B6 and ginger capsule to help ease nausea and morning sickness. Meanwhile, the second-trimester pack comes with calcium and magnesium capsules to ease muscle cramps and build strong teeth and bones in your growing baby. Then, as you near the end of your pregnancy, opt for the third-trimester pack which includes a probiotic for gut health. Targeted nutrients for every stage of pregnancy in convenient daily multipacks? We’re sold! Plus, take 15 percent off sitewide with the code BUMP15.

Number of servings: 30 | Serving size: 5 capsules | Key ingredients: All vitamin B variations, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, choline, calcium, iodine, magnesium, zinc, DHA

Our community says:

“I like the range of vitamins, and the quality of the ingredients.” – Cassandra, mother of one and The Bump survey respondent

“I'm a fan of the organically sourced ingredients.” – Hannah, expectant mother and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best prenatal vitamin subscription

care/of Prenatal Vitamins
Image: care/of
Buying Options
care/of |$18.99
What We Love
  • 600 mcg of folic acid
  • Subscription options available
  • FSA/HSA eligible
Things To Consider
  • Multiple pills to take daily
  • 20% of the recommended daily choline level
  • Doesn’t contain DHA

care/of is a prenatal vitamin subscription service that expectant parents can depend on to deliver their capsules straight to their door monthly. Each individual pack contains a curated selection of three prenatal multivitamins to take daily. Together, they contain 23 essential nutrients for you and baby, including methylfolate and choline—plus, they’ve been designed with easy digestion in mind. Out of the moms-to-be who were surveyed, 4 percent chose care/of’s prenatal vitamins and agreed with this, also telling us that they were easy to swallow. Even better, this option is eligible for FSA and HSA reimbursement.

Number of servings: 30 | Serving size: 3 capsules | Key ingredients: 5 vitamin B variations, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, choline, calcium, iodine, magnesium, zinc.

Our community says:

“Nutritious, tasty and portable.” – Moore, expectant mother and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best prenatal gummies

Vitafusion PreNatal Gummy Vitamins
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Delicious taste, according to The Bump community
  • 600 mcg of folic acid
  • FSA/HSA eligible
  • Affordable price point
Things To Consider
  • No third-party testing
  • Doesn’t contain choline
  • Has added sugars

Pop two of these prenatal gummies a day for DHA, vitamins A and D, folic acid and as much vitamin C as you’d get from 10 tangerines. Natural fruit flavors mean they’re tasty, and our surveyed moms-to-be—4 percent of whom were taking these specific multivitamins—back that statement up. One even reported that they “taste like candy”—we’re sold! Even better, if you find it difficult to take pills or are experiencing nausea, prenatal gummies offer an easy alternative to traditional tablets.

Number of servings: 45 | Serving size: 2 gummies | Key ingredients: Vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, folate, biotin, iodine, zinc, DHA

Our community says:

“These are, in my opinion, the best prenatal vitamins. They’re easy to take and taste like candy, not a gross pill.” – Rebecca, expectant mother and The Bump survey respondent

“They taste a lot better than the other gummy prenatal vitamins I tried. They are my favorite.” – Hayley, expectant mother and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best organic prenatal vitamins

Smarty Pants Prenatal Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin
Image: Target
What We Love
  • Tastes great, according to The Bump community
  • 600 mcg of folic acid
  • Dosage can be taken at once or split up throughout the day
  • Clean Label Project Purity Award
  • FSA/HSA eligible
Things To Consider
  • Large serving size
  • 10% of the recommended daily choline level
  • Doesn’t contain calcium or magnesium
  • Has added sugars

Taking four of these prenatal gummies a day provides more than 16 nutrients to you and baby. That list includes folate to support fetal development, vitamin D for immune health and vitamin B12 for energy metabolism. Plus, with organic and non-GMO ingredients, this option delivers its benefits in the cleanest possible form. Eight percent of our survey respondents told us they took this prenatal multivitamin during their pregnancy. They highly praised these gummies for their taste and how simple they were to consume.

Number of servings: 30 | Serving size: 4 gummies | Key ingredients: 5 vitamin B variations, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, biotin, choline, iodine, zinc, DHA.

Our community says:

“These vitamins taste good and are vegetarian! I love the fruit flavor and lack of gelatin.” – Aubrey, expectant mother and The Bump survey respondent

“I love that they're easy to swallow, taste good and are third-party tested.” – Lucy, mother of one and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best prenatal vitamins for nausea

What We Love
  • Includes ginger to ease nausea
  • 600 mcg of folic acid
  • Whole-food ingredients
  • Vegetarian and certified USDA organic
Things To Consider
  • Multiple pills daily
  • Doesn’t contain choline or DHA
  • No third-party testing
  • High price point

These top-rated prenatal vitamins earned high points from Carley Mendes, a prenatal nutritionist and founder of the website Oh Baby Nutrition, for having high-quality ingredients. As an expectant parent, you’ll appreciate that these capsules have been thoughtfully made with whole-food vitamins and minerals from organic herbs and veggies like broccoli and kale to nourish your growing baby. Plus, it contains tummy-soothing ginger and is gentle enough for an empty stomach—making it a great option for those experiencing nausea during pregnancy.

Number of servings: 16 | Serving size: 3 capsules | Key ingredients: All vitamin B variations, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc.

Our community says:

“These vitamins taste good and are vegetarian! I love the fruit flavor and lack of gelatin.” – Aubrey, expectant mother and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best prenatal vitamins without iron

FullWell Women's Prenatal Multivitamin
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • 800 mcg of folic acid
  • Subscription options available
  • Available in two flavors
  • FSA/HSA eligible
Things To Consider

Searching for prenatal vitamins without iron? Look no further than this option from FullWell. As a mom-to-be, you’ll appreciate that these prenatal multivitamins are full of essentials—like folate and B12—as well as other beneficial nutrients, such as choline, calcium and magnesium. And don’t let the high dosage of eight capsules deter you. You can split them up throughout the day, or even break the capsules open and mix them into a cool beverage drink to make the process as seamless as can be.

Number of servings: 30 | Serving size: 8 capsules | Key ingredients: All vitamin B variations, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, choline, calcium, iodine, magnesium, zinc

Buy Now

Best prenatal vitamin for pregnancy and breastfeeding

Thorne Basic Prenatal
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Supports pregnancy and nursing
  • 1.7 mg of folic acid
  • Reviewers report that it’s gentle on the stomach
Things To Consider
  • Multiple pills daily
  • Doesn’t contain DHA
  • 20% of the recommended daily choline level
  • No third-party testing

If you’re an expectant mother who’s still breastfeeding baby’s older sibling, you’ll need a workhorse prenatal vitamin that can cover all of your bases—and then some. That’s why we’re fans of the Thorne Basic Prenatal, which has been specifically designed for pregnant and nursing women. Each capsule contains bioactive folate, iron, calcium and vitamin D (all of which are ingredients that Twogood recommends!) to promote healthy development in mom and baby every trimester. Best of all, thanks to their well-rounded support, you can continue to take these prenatal vitamins during the postpartum period.

Number of servings: 90 | Serving size: 3 capsules | Key ingredients: Vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, choline, calcium, iron, iodine magnesium, zinc

Buy Now

Best prenatal vitamins with probiotics

Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin Tablets
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Whole-food ingredients
  • 600 mcg of folic acid
  • Ginger and probiotics to support digestion
  • Affordable price point
  • Vegetarian
Things To Consider
  • Don’t contain DHA
  • 10% of the recommended daily choline level
  • No third-party testing

Rainbow Light’s prenatal vitamin takes its nutrients from whole-food ingredients—such as spirulina, red raspberry and ginger—that have been blended with probiotic digestive enzymes to aid with digestion. But that’s not all: Each capsule also contains vitamins A and C and iron for blood, bone, skin and immune health. Several moms and moms-to-be from The Bump community were fans of this prenatal multivitamin throughout their pregnancies. Above all, they praised these tablets for their wide range of high-quality ingredients—and we wholeheartedly agree!

Number of servings: 90 | Serving size: 1 capsule | Key ingredients: Vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, biotin, choline, calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc.

Our community says:

“I like the quality of ingredients, no nausea or side effects.” – Ashley, mother of one and The Bump survey respondent

“The quality of the company and the product is excellent; they're affordable, widely available and contain just enough of what is needed without throwing too much extra ‘stuff’ in each pill.” – Amanda, expectant mother and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best whole-food prenatal vitamins

MegaFood Baby & Me 2 Prenatal Multi
Image: MegaFood
What We Love
  • 55% of the recommended daily choline level
  • 1,020 mcg of folic acid
  • Vegetarian and non-GMO
  • FSA/HSA eligible
Things To Consider
  • Take pills with a beverage
  • No third-party testing
  • Doesn’t contain DHA, calcium or magnesium

Mendes is a fan of these prenatal vitamins, as they deliver the nutrients you and baby need via real foods like brown rice, organic oranges and broccoli. For added peace of mind, know that these capsules also meet certifications for safety and purity, including non-GMO ingredients, making them an ultra-clean pick. They also offer 55 percent of the daily recommended choline value for pregnant women, which is more than any other prenatal multivitamin option in our roundup. In particular, expectant moms in The Bump community loved that these tablets were made from high-quality ingredients. What’s more, those who have a tough time swallowing pills (pregnant or not) will also appreciate that MegaGood also makes a mini version—score!

Number of servings: 30 | Serving size: 2 capsules | Key ingredients: Vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D3, vitamin E, vitamin K, biotin, choline, iron, iodine, zinc.

Our community says:

“I love the ingredients, that I can take it on an empty stomach with no issues and that the pills are not aggressively large.” – Lauren, expectant mother and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best liquid prenatal vitamin

Pink Stork Liquid Prenatal + Postnatal Vitamins
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Alternative to pills and gummies
  • 800 mcg of folic acid
  • Easily digested and absorbed
  • Whole-food nutrient blend
Things To Consider
  • Unpleasant smell, according to reviewers
  • 18% of the recommended daily choline level
  • Doesn’t contain DHA

Last but not least is a liquid prenatal vitamin that’s an ideal alternative for moms-to-be who aren’t fans of traditional capsules or gummies. Take a look at the comprehensive ingredient list and you’ll find an array of pregnancy essentials, like folate, zinc and vitamins C, D, B and E, to name a few. Together, you can count on these nutrients to support your mood and development throughout each trimester, while also ensuring baby is growing at a healthy pace. Just stir one tablespoon of this berry-flavored liquid into the drink of your choice and you’ll be good to go!

Number of servings: 32 | Serving size: 1 tablespoon | Key ingredients: Vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, folate, biotin, choline, calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc.

Our community says:

“It has high iron content for a liquid prenatal. Plus, the company is women-owned.” – Paige, expectant mother and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Prenatal Vitamin Comparison Chart

Overall best prenatal vitaminsBest vegan prenatal vitaminsBest all-in-one prenatal vitaminsBest trimester-specific prenatal vitaminsBest prenatal vitamin subscriptionBest prenatal gummiesBest organic prenatal vitaminsBest prenatal vitamins for nauseaBest prenatal vitamins without ironBest prenatal vitamin for pregnancy and breastfeedingBest prenatal vitamins with probioticsBest whole-food prenatal vitamins
Overall Best
Nature Made Prenatal with Folic Acid + DHA Softgels
Ritual Essential Prenatal Multivitamin
One A Day Women's Prenatal Multivitamin
Perelel 1st Trimester Prenatal Pack
care/of Prenatal Vitamins
Vitafusion PreNatal Gummy Vitamins
Smarty Pants Prenatal Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin
New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin
FullWell Women's Prenatal Multivitamin
Thorne Basic Prenatal
Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin Tablets
MegaFood Baby & Me 2 Prenatal Multi
Price$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$
Dosage1 capsule per day 2 capsules per day1 capsule per day1 pack (5 capsules) per day1 pack (3 capsules) per day 2 gummies per day4 gummies per day3 capsules per day 8 capsules per day3 capsules per day 1 capsule per day2 capsules per day
Third-party testing
Vegan
Gluten-free
Buy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full Review

Choosing the Right Prenatal Vitamin for You

People often ask: “What are the best prenatal vitamins out there?” Really, it’s a bit of a trick question. “There isn’t one ‘best’ prenatal vitamin,” says Twogood. As with most things related to pregnancy and parenting, what works for one person may not be a great fit for another. Women respond to supplements differently. “Some patients may have their nausea alleviated by using gummies, while another may feel more nauseous because of the smell or taste of the gummies,” Twogood says. Some people prefer to stick with a strict vegan prenatal, while others may be turned off by a certain texture or aftertaste. “Depending on a variety of individual factors—or just good experience—your doctor may recommend one in particular,” she adds.

Choosing the top prenatal vitamin involves personal preference—and some research. While even the best prenatal multivitamins out there may not meet all of the nutrient recommendations, talk to your doctor about your primary needs and choose one that best addresses them.

Prescription vs. over-the-counter prenatal vitamins

Trying to decide between an over-the-counter versus prescription prenatal vitamin? Keep in mind that the essential ingredients are usually the same in each—though prescription prenatal vitamins sometimes contain extra nutrients, such as additional omega 3s or iron. “An over-the-counter whole-food multivitamin is a wise choice for the vast majority of pregnant women,” says Mendes. “Further supplementation is best advised on an individual basis, as everyone’s needs are unique,” she adds. “Your healthcare provider may advise prescription supplementation if you have specific deficiencies or disorders.”

Why are prenatal vitamins not FDA-approved?

Long story short, vitamins and supplements don’t require FDA approval to be sold and marketed. While the federal agency governs medications and drugs, supplements don’t fall into this realm. “However,” says Igbinosa, “federal law requires all companies manufacturing prenatal vitamins to meet safety standards and include ingredient labeling.” Twogood further explains that it’s “difficult to ‘prove’ that some proprietary blend of prenatal vitamin has a direct positive effect on a pregnancy because there are so many variables that go into a healthy pregnancy.”

Ingredients to Look for in Prenatal Vitamins

With a nutritious diet, you should already be getting a lot of the vitamins and minerals necessary during pregnancy. That means that you shouldn’t have to depend on your prenatal vitamins to provide 100 percent of the daily recommended allowance for these nutrients—after all, the vitamins are meant to supplement, not substitute, healthy eating habits. Prenatal vitamins also aren’t legally required to provide a minimum level of those nutrients either, since they aren’t regulated by the FDA. “The doses may vary, but the key ingredients won’t vary drastically,” notes Twogood.

So what should the best prenatal vitamins include? The most important nutrient in a prenatal vitamin, according to Twogood, is folic acid, which has been shown to dramatically decrease the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida. Make sure the label includes folic acid as well as the other key nutrients listed below. (Aim for the minimum levels included here, but if your vitamin falls short, plan accordingly to get the rest from your diet.)

  • Folic acid: Look for a minimum of 400 mcg, though Twogood recommends a slightly higher dose of 800 mcg or 1 mg for overweight or obese patients. Igbinosa adds, “For people with a previous pregnancy affected with a neural tube defect, additional folic acid—often 4 mg—is suggested. Please talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns.”

  • Choline: Choline plays a key role in fetal brain development, so it should come as no surprise that your choline needs will increase significantly at this time. As per ACOG, “experts recommend that you get 450 mg of choline each day during pregnancy.” In addition to prenatal vitamins, you can incorporate choline into your diet through chicken, beef, eggs, cow’s milk, soy products and peanuts.

  • DHA: DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that helps brains function at their best. To support baby’s healthy neurodevelopment, 800 mg of DHA is recommended, either within your prenatal vitamin or taken as a separate pill. “Omega 3 also has been shown to reduce the risk of preterm birth,” comments Twogood.

  • Iron: Iron helps carry oxygen to your organs and tissues. During pregnancy, you need an extra dose for a total of 27 mg a day, which is present in most prenatal vitamins, according to ACOG. This nutrient is also beneficial, as “many females of reproductive age are iron deficient,” states Twogood. Plus, Igbinosa adds, it supports red blood cell development and reduces the chance of anemia.

  • Calcium: Calcium helps support baby’s bone development (and prevents osteoporosis for you). Most prenatal vitamins contain 200 to 300 mg of calcium, according to the Mayo Clinic, but you’ll need to get more from your diet. Other sources you could try include cow’s milk, yogurt, nuts, soy products, spinach and kale, to name a few.

  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D works in tandem with calcium to help baby’s bones and teeth develop. It’s also essential for healthy skin and eyesight. Most prenatal vitamins have about 400 IU of vitamin D. Igbinosa states that the daily recommended amount for adults is 600 IU, so plan on consuming the rest via your food intake.

  • Vitamin A: Last but not least, vitamin A is another key component when it comes to prenatal supplements. As per Igbinosa, it’s “essential for fetal skin, vision (eyesight) and [the] immune system. She advises pregnant women to consume the daily recommended amount for adults, which is 770 IU.

These are the biggies for prenatal vitamins. “For specific scenarios, like vegetarians, vegans or patients with certain medical disorders, ob-gyns may recommend specific doses of other vitamins,” Twogood adds.

Are there health risks if you take too much vitamin A or D?

Too much vitamin A—above 10,000 IU daily or 25,000 IU weekly—“poses a risk for congenital disabilities and anomalies in early development,” according to Igbinosa. She advises women who are pregnant or trying to conceive to speak with their healthcare provider if they believe their diet may include a high amount of vitamin A-rich foods, specifically liver and liver products.

That being said, “most prenatal vitamins contain vitamin A and vitamin D, as they are vital to fetal growth,” states Igbinosa. She advises moms-to-be to consume the recommended daily amounts for adults, which are 770 IU and 600 IU respectively. You may already be getting some (or most) of these allowances through your diet, so check with your healthcare provider to determine how much you need to add to your daily intake.

When Should You Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?

“The best time to start taking prenatal vitamins is before you get pregnant—preferably at least one month before you conceive. Any reproductive-age person considering pregnancy should take prenatal vitamins,” answers Igbinosa. Wondering why you should start so early on? “By the time most people find out they are pregnant (around 4 to 6 weeks, dated from the first day of their last period), quite a bit of early development has occurred,” Twogood explains. Moreover, baby’s “spine and brain start growing even before you know you are pregnant,” around the 3- to 4-week mark, adds Igbinosa. Prenatal vitamins that contain folic acid in particular can support baby in this earliest stage.

If you’re already pregnant and haven’t taken any prenatal multivitamins, don’t worry! Start as soon as possible to take advantage of the well-rounded support that they offer, in addition to a healthy, balanced diet.

What’s the Best Time of Day to Take Prenatal Vitamins?

When scrolling through online reviews, you may notice conflicting information about the best time of day to take prenatal vitamins—but it’s largely down to personal preference. Twogood confirms this, saying “there is no best time. Whenever [you] can consistently remember it is best.” Often, “this will be first thing in the morning or [in the] evening before bed for most people,” adds Igbinosa. However, if you’re experiencing nausea as a pregnancy symptom, she recommends taking your supplements with meals or shortly thereafter.

If you’re finding it difficult to form the habit, Igbinosa suggests making it a part of your daily routine. Try placing the bottle beside your toothbrush, setting alarms or reminders on your phone or even enlisting the help of family and friends. “And as always,” Igbinosa offers, “if something isn’t working well, contact your healthcare team to help troubleshoot.”

Prenatal Vitamin FAQs

Still have a few lingering questions? No problem—we’ve got the answers. Below, read even more expert-backed advice to get the full scoop on prenatal multivitamins.

Are there side effects to taking prenatal vitamins?

When taking prenatal multivitamins, you may experience some side effects. While these are specific to each capsule, common symptoms include nausea and vomiting. “Other potential side effects include constipation, bloating, change in stools or general GI discomfort,” says Igbinosa. To workaround these potential issues, Twgood suggests trying out a few different brands and formulations before pregnancy, so you can find one that sits well with you.

Is it okay to switch prenatal vitamins during pregnancy?

“Yes,” answers Twogood, “but check with your healthcare provider to make sure it’s still adequate for you.” Igbinosa agrees, saying, “yes, however, it’s important to make sure you are [still] getting the general necessary ingredients.”

When should you stop taking prenatal vitamins?

“This varies,” says Twogood. “I usually recommend it through the pregnancy. After delivery, I make individual recommendations to patients depending on their underlying health concerns, breastfeeding status and longer-term pregnancy planning.” If you’re breastfeeding, Igbinosa recommends that you continue to take your pre- or postnatal vitamin of choice.

Does it matter if you miss a day or two?

Did you wake up and realize you totally forgot to take your supplement yesterday? Don’t worry too much about it. “Sometimes, this can happen, and it’s okay,” Igbinosa reassures. But don’t try to make up for missing one day by taking two the next. “Following the dosing instructions on your prenatal botte/prescription is essential. Prenatal vitamins are made for daily use, and a double dose the next day can cause potential harm.”

Can prenatal vitamins help you get pregnant?

“Although some of the studies are inconsistent, there is evidence to suggest prenatal vitamins with a balanced diet may help benefit natural fertility,” Igbinosa says. With that in mind, if you’re experiencing fertility issues, Igbinosa and Twogood both advise contacting your doctor or an obstetrician/reproductive endocrinologist to understand what will work best for you and/or your partner moving forward.

About the writer:

Emma O’Regan-Reidy is an editor for The Bump. She specializes in writing e-commerce content about the latest and greatest in pregnancy, postpartum and parenting. O’Regan-Reidy has researched an array of topics, from the perfect push presents and postpartum pads to the best non-wifi baby monitors, toddler learning towers and everything in between. With over a three-year career in digital media, she’s written dozens of articles on prenatal topics, aiming to create engaging, helpful content that informs new and seasoned parents.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

Sources

Irogue Igbinosa, MD, FACOG, is a board-certified ob-gyn and a maternal-fetal medicine physician at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. She graduated from the University of Houston and earned her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine. Igbinosa then completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Louisiana State University School of Medicine Baton Rouge.

Sara Twogood, MD, FACOG, is a board-certified ob-gyn in Los Angeles and co-founder of Female Health Education. She’s also the author of Ladypartsblog.com, which covers topics relating to fertility and pregnancy.

Carley Mendes is a prenatal nutritionist and the founder of the website Oh Baby Nutrition.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Nutrition During Pregnancy, June 2023

Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Minute: How much calcium do you need?, April 2018

Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial process.

save article
ADVERTISEMENT

Next on Your Reading List

Iskra Lawrence shows off baby bump on the runway at the Cupshe show during the Paraiso Miami Swim Week at The Paraiso Tent on June 02, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida
Iskra Lawrence Shows Off Baby Bump on PARAISO Miami Swim Week Runway
By Wyndi Kappes
woman putting on compression socks
The 6 Best Compression Socks for Pregnancy, Tested by an Expectant Mom
By Erin Wisti
best belly bands-hero
8 Best Pregnancy Belly Bands to Support Your Bump
By Emma O'Regan-Reidy
ADVERTISEMENT
earth mama mineral sunscreen
Best of Pregnancy Winner for Best Pregnancy-Safe Sunscreen
By The Bump Editors
bio oil
Best of Pregnancy Winner for Best Body Oil
By The Bump Editors
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 51
Best of Pregnancy Winner: Reader’s Favorite Pregnancy-Safe Sunscreen
By The Bump Editors
Mama Mio tummy rub butter
Best of Pregnancy Winner for Best Belly Butter
By The Bump Editors
ADVERTISEMENT
Best of pregnancy: Pink Stork morning sickness sweets
Best of Pregnancy Winner for Best Morning Sickness Relief
By The Bump Editors
Best of Pregnancy: Beauty Counter mascara
Best of Pregnancy Winner for Best Pregnancy-Safe Makeup Brand
By The Bump Editors
Best of Pregnancy: Juice Beauty Pregnancy Skincare
Best of Pregnancy Winner for Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Brand
By The Bump Editors
ADVERTISEMENT
Honest Me Moment Soaking Salts
Best of Pregnancy Winner for Best Pregnancy Bath Salts
By The Bump Editors
What Is SPD? Everything to Know About Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction
What Is SPD? Everything to Know About Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction
By Korin Miller
pregnant mom and daughter putting on makeup
The Best Pregnancy Safe Products on Sale During Amazon’s Beauty Haul
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
pregnant woman putting lotion on face
15 Best Tested and Reviewed Pregnancy-Safe Skin Care Products
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman applying stretch mark cream onto belly
10 Best Pregnancy Stretch Mark Creams and Oils, Tested by Moms-to-Be
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnancy-safe-acne-treatment-HERO
The Best Pregnancy-Safe Acne Treatments for Clearer Skin
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman sitting on couch with swollen feet
Tips for Soothing Swollen Feet and Legs During Pregnancy
By Micky Marie Morrison, PT, ICPFE
ADVERTISEMENT
close up of pregnant belly in bed
22 Empowering Affirmations to Recite During Pregnancy
By Nehal Aggarwal
woman touching her chest in pain
Why You Might Be Having Chest Pain During Pregnancy (and What to Do)
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
woman using a heating pad on her stomach while laying in bed
Is It Safe to Use a Heating Pad While Pregnant?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List