The 3 Best Prenatal Vitamins of 2023
Before you fill your registry with baby bottles, breast pumps, and pacifiers, every pregnant woman should consider nutrition.
Prenatal vitamins provide the nutrients that most pregnant women—and their babies—require to be healthy.
However, just like regular multivitamins, the market for prenatal can seem endless, with different ingredients depending on the brand you're looking at.
To help you with your search, who shared their top picks and explanations for the best prenatal vitamins of 2023.
The editorial team was solely responsible for determining star ratings, which were based on factors such as cost per serving, user rating, and third-party testing.
Ritual Prenatal Vitamin: Folate & Choline for Neural Tube Support, Omega-3 DHA for Fetal Brain Development, Iron, Calcium-Helper D3 & K2, Non-GMO, Citrus Essenced, 30 Day Supply, 60 Vegan Capsules
*Dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and ingredients and their amounts may vary. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any supplement.
Prenatal vitamins: What Are They and How Do They Work?A prenatal vitamin is a dietary supplement that provides the nutrients and minerals required for a healthy pregnancy.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), taking prenatal vitamins and eating nutritious foods should provide all of the vitamins and minerals required during pregnancy.
A prenatal vitamin is essential for pregnant women because the growing fetus requires nutrients that are difficult to obtain through diet alone.
Pregnant women should consume calcium to help build strong bones and teeth, iron to help red blood cells deliver oxygen to the fetus, iodine, and choline to aid in brain development, and folic acid to help prevent birth defects, according to ACOG.
It also recommends vitamins A, B6, B12, C, and D, which have benefits ranging from promoting healthy skin and eyesight to red blood cell formation.
While many of these nutrients can be obtained through a healthy diet, a prenatal vitamin ensures that your daily nutrition needs are met regardless of what's on the menu.
Even if you eat a healthy diet, getting the recommended amount of certain nutrients, particularly folic acid, can be difficult. For example, the American College of Obstetricians recommends that pregnant women consume 600 micrograms of folic acid daily to help prevent brain and spinal birth defects.
While fortified cereals and leafy green vegetables contain some folic acid, ACOG recommends supplementing with a prenatal vitamin to ensure you get the recommended amount.
Which Nutrients Are Found in Prenatal Vitamins?
The nutrients provided by a prenatal vitamin vary. Typically, they include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D3
- Folic acid
Prenatal Vitamins' Health Advantages
Prenatal vitamins ensure that your body gets the vitamins and minerals it requires to support a growing fetus.
Because your body is undergoing such dramatic changes, proper nutrition is more important than ever.
A prenatal vitamin can help fill nutrient gaps, providing your body with the extra vitamins and minerals it requires.
Why Are Prenatal Vitamins Necessary?
Many prenatal vitamins contain nutrients that are extremely important for your pregnancy, and if you aren't getting those nutrients through diet alone, taking a prenatal vitamin is critical. According to the American College of Obstetricians, "eating healthy foods and taking a prenatal vitamin every day should supply all of the vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy."
However, taking more prenatal vitamins will not compensate for nutrient deficiencies, as too much of some nutrients can be harmful (for example, excessive amounts of vitamin A can cause birth defects).
Can Prenatal Vitamins Help You Get Pregnant?
While there isn't much evidence that prenatal vitamins can help you get pregnant, it's often recommended that you start taking them if you're trying to conceive.
This is because folic acid, a nutrient found in most prenatal vitamins, is required to prevent neural tube defects.
The neural tube is typically formed during the first month of pregnancy, when you may be unaware that you are pregnant.
The Dangers of Not Taking Prenatal Vitamins While Pregnant
If you do not get the recommended daily amount of certain vitamins and minerals while pregnant, it could be harmful to your and your baby's health. For example, getting the recommended amount of folic acid during pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects, which are serious brain and spinal cord abnormalities in the fetus.
Furthermore, taking prenatal vitamins before and during pregnancy reduces your chances of having a premature baby or having a baby with a low birth weight.
How to Select the Best Prenatal Vitamin
Speak with your OB-GYN about prenatal vitamins.
They can make recommendations based on your specific needs (for example, if you've previously had a baby with a neural tube defect, they may recommend a prenatal with a higher amount of folic acid).
Check for third-party testing from organizations such as the US Pharmacopeia, which can provide assurance about the content and quality of the ingredients in your prenatal vitamin.
Other factors to consider include:
- The prenatal vitamins and nutrients (and their amounts)
- Format (pill size, pill type) (pill size, pill type)
- Whether or not the prenatal medication causes nausea or other side effects