Best Prenatal Vitamins Rated and Reviewed in 2018

Congrats on your pregnancy! These next nine months your body will change in a variety of ways to accommodate the growth of your baby. One of your main responsibilities will be making sure you are providing your body and your baby with the nutrients they need.
In addition to eating healthy, it is highly important for you to take prenatal vitamins during your pregnancy. While eating healthy is great, it is hard for you and your baby to get all of the necessary nutrients needed, even if you are eating from several different food groups. For example, folic acid and iron are almost always in the vitamins as they are harder to get from foods. By allowing your body to receive the iron it needs you will be cutting your risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and infant mortality. Folic acid ensures that the fetus develops properly and will prevent birth defects. With folic acid being extremely important in the early weeks, it is recommended that you start taking prenatal vitamins every day as soon as you realize you are pregnant. Now that you know the importance of prenatal vitamins, it will be easier for you to choose the kind you want to take. There are a wide variety of prenatal vitamins on the market. They come in all shapes, sizes, textures, and are composed of different ingredients. After researching, we have compiled a list of the 10 best prenatal vitamins. We have included vitamins that are vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free for women who experience dietary restrictions.

Last Updated:
By Amanda Milewski:

Prenatal vitamins are critical to the health of your developing baby. Nutrients like folic acid, which are difficult to get in the quantities required from diet alone, are important to take in vitamin form. We have recently updated our list to include a number of new products as well as background information to assist you in making the most well-informed decision about which vitamins to take.

Our Top 3 Picks

Garden of Life Supplement
  • Garden of Life Supplement
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Vegetarian Prenatal Multivitamin
  • Price: See Here
Mama Bird AM/PM Multivitamin
  • Mama Bird AM/PM Multivitamin
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Free of Soy & Sugar
  • Price: See Here
Rainbow Light One Multivitamin
  • Rainbow Light One Multivitamin
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Eases Discomfort
  • Price: See Here

Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Prenatal Vitamins

Though prenatal vitamins vary in composition, every prenatal listed includes folic acid. Folic acid is critical to ensuring your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop properly. Many of the prenatal vitamins include DHA, either as part of their blend or as a stand-alone supplement. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that helps you manage stress. DHA also helps your baby’s eyes and brain develop.

Most prenatal vitamins also include vitamin A. Vitamin A helps your baby develop healthy lungs, kidneys, eyes, and bones and assists with the development of your baby’s circulatory and central nervous systems. Vitamin A also helps you with postpartum tissue repair, and it supports your immune system.

Vitamin C is also in most prenatal vitamins. Vitamin C helps you absorb iron, which in turn helps you create the new blood needed for your baby. Vitamin C is also essential to making collagen, which is a part of cartilage, tendons, skin, and bones. Vitamin C also helps you fight off infections.

There are a number of vitamins and minerals that are essential to having a healthy baby. In evaluating prenatal vitamins for this list, the best prenatal vitamins needed to include those important vitamins and minerals. The best prenatal vitamins also take food sensitivities into consideration, typically leaving out allergens such as gluten and dairy. We also considered the amount of testing the manufacturers do on the multivitamins to ensure product safety and purity. Finally, we considered ease of use, and whether the vitamins could readily fit into your daily routine without complicating your life.

The most important factor in evaluating prenatal vitamins is the ingredients. All the included multivitamins have folic acid, which helps ensure that your baby’s spinal cord and brain fully develop. Folic acid is especially important during the first trimester, so if you’re thinking about having a baby, you can benefit from a multivitamin that includes folic acid. Many of the prenatal vitamins on the list include DHA. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that provides benefits for you and your baby, including helping regulate your mood and helping your baby’s brain fully develop. Iron is included in many of the multivitamins. Iron helps to create hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to the cells in your body, including to your baby. Iron can be poisonous to children under 6, though, so gummy vitamins, which could appeal to children, do not contain iron. Most multivitamins also include vitamin A, which supports your immune system as well as helping your baby’s eyes, lungs, heart, and central nervous system development, and vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system and keeps you healthy.

Many mothers-to-be experience food sensitivities during pregnancy. Many of the multivitamins on the list are soft gels, which are coated to make them easier to swallow and to minimize any taste or smell. Gummy vitamins actually taste good, making them an appealing option. Most of the vitamins on the list are gluten-free and dairy-free, both of which are common allergens. Some of the vitamins also include ingredients specifically to help ease digestion, such as ginger. There are vegan and vegetarian options as well if you avoid or are sensitive to meat products.

Vitamins are not regulated by the FDA, so it’s critical for vitamin manufacturers to include rigorous testing to ensure a safe, high-quality product. Some of the vitamin manufacturers on this list do rigorous in-house testing at every step of production, while others have a third-party test their products for quality and purity. The multivitamins on this list are held to high standards, ensuring that their products are pure and safe.

Finally, we know no multivitamin is going to work if you don’t take it. The multivitamins on this list vary in terms of dosage. Many can be taken with or without food, making incorporating them into your day simple. Some only need to be taken once per day, which also keeps things uncomplicated. Tablets and capsules can even be ground or mixed with a smoothie or water to make taking them easier to take, even if you are experiencing sensitivities. There’s a multivitamin to fit your lifestyle and preferences.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are the vitamins FDA-approved?

A: Vitamins are considered dietary supplements by the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. The FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness in the same way that it regulates prescription medications. Vitamin manufacturers are required, though, to produce dietary supplements in a quality manner, ensure the products have no contaminants and are properly labeled. If someone experiences an adverse event after taking a dietary supplement, the manufacturer is required to report it to the FDA, and the FDA can remove dietary supplements from the market if they are unsafe or are making misleading claims.

Q: Are the vitamins vegan or vegetarian?

A: Several of the vitamins listed are vegan or vegetarian. The vegetarian options are Garden of Life Vitamin Code Prenatal Supplement and Conception Fertility Prenatal Vitamins. The vegan options is Mama Bird AM/PM Prenatal Multivitamin.

Q: Are the vitamins organic?

A: A few of the vitamins on the list are organic. The organic options are Mama Bird AM/PM Prenatal Multivitamin and New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins.

Q: Do the vitamins smell or taste bad?

A: Unfortunately, smell and taste are subjective, so some might find one vitamin tolerable, while others might find it has a smell or aftertaste that’s difficult to tolerate. Some vitamins do come in a soft-gel form, which typically minimizes potential smells and aftertaste. Soft gels containing fish oil may have a fishy aftertaste, though. Soft gels that do not have fish oil include Mama Bird AM/PM Prenatal Multivitamin, Zahler Prenatal Vitamins, and Conception Fertility Prenatal Vitamins.

Q: Do the vitamins include DHA?

A: DHA is an important omega-3 fatty acid. It’s typically found in fish. DHA can be included in a multivitamin or offered as a stand-alone supplement. Multivitamins that include DHA into one pill or tablet are Zahler Prenatal Vitamins, Smartypants Prenatal Complete Gummy Vitamins, One A Day Women’s Prenatal 1, and Nature Made Prenatal + DHA. Centrum Specialist Prenatal and One A Day Women’s Prenatal Vitamins include a separate DHA supplement that’s included when you purchase your vitamins. The standalone DHA supplement listed is Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA.

Q: Are the vitamins tested by an independent third party?

A: Some of the vitamins listed are tested by an independent third party. Nature Made vitamins are tested by USP, an independent organization. Zahler Prenatal Vitamins and Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA are also tested by a third party for quality and purity.

Sources

  1. March of Dimes, Vitamins and other nutrients during pregnancy, Informative Article,
  2. Planned Parenthood, What are prenatal vitamins?, Online Article,
  3. Baby Center Staff, Prenatal vitamins: Why they're so important, Informative Article,
  4. Anna Medaris Miller, Everything You Need to Know About Prenatal Vitamins , Informative Article,
  5. Mayo Clinic Staff, Pregnancy week by week, Online Article,