“Your body is a temple.” We’ve all heard it before, but it really is true—and especially so for women planning on having a baby.
It’s no secret that we should take care of our bodies, and this holds true for pregnant women and for the benefit of the baby that grows inside. Your doctor will be the first tell you that your best chances for a healthy pregnancy is to maintain a balanced diet and take your prenatal vitamins.
Keeping your kitchen stocked with clean superfoods absolutely helps—avocados, kale, sweet potatoes, and more—but let’s be honest, eating well all the time is hard. Beyond that, however, even the cleanest foods may not have the right balance of vitamins you need to grow the healthiest baby possible. The best prenatal vitamins are intended to supplement where a healthy diet falls short.
What are prenatal vitamins?
“Prenatals” are a multivitamin taken before, during, and even after a pregnancy should you plan on breastfeeding. Regular multivitamins are formulated for general wellbeing, whereas prenatal vitamins are formulated to include additional minerals and vitamins to supplement the diets of pregnant women. They include the key vitamins and minerals that are vital to your baby’s growth.
What should you look for in a prenatal vitamin?
Every element in a prenatal vitamin serves a specific purpose, but according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), there are four primary nutrients to look for in a prenatal multivitamin:
- Iron: About double the iron is needed during pregnancy. The extra iron helps your body produce more blood to supply oxygen to your baby. The daily recommended dosage is 27mg, the amount found in most prenatal vitamins.
- Calcium: Calcium is important for building healthy muscles, bones, teeth, and a healthy heart. The daily recommended amount is the same for pregnant and non-pregnant women alike, 1,300mg.
- Folic Acid: Also known as vitamin B-9, folic acid mitigates the risk of Spina Bifida, congenital disabilities, anencephaly, and other neural tube defects. Women at childbearing ages should take minimum of 0.4mg per day, while pregnant women can take 0.6mg a day.
- Vitamin D: All women need 600 international units (IUs) of vitamin D per day. Vitamin D works with calcium to help your baby’s bones and teeth develop, and is important for baby to have healthy skin and vision.
These, of course, are not the only things you’ll find in the best prenatal vitamins. Great prenatals should also include vitamins A, B2, B6, B12, E, copper, and iodine. Prenatals get extra bonus points for including Omega-3 fatty acids and specifically DHA, which are incredibly important for healthy fetal development. A vegan alternative is Neuromins DHA, which is extracted from microalgae instead of fish.
Best Prenatal Vitamins: Score Sheet
|Prenatals||Amazon Score||Labdoor Score||Blueprint Score||Overall Score|
|New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins||4.5||79.6 / 100||4.2||4.3|
|New Chapter Prenatal DHA Wholemega for Moms||4.0||71.1 / 100||4.0||3.8|
|Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin||4.0||74.2 / 100||4.2||3.9|
|Rainbow Light Prenatal Petite Mini-Tab Multivitamin||4.0||75.5 / 100||4.3||3.9|
|Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA||4.0||70.1 / 100||4.0||3.8|
|Zahler Prenatal Vitamin + DHA 300||4.5||82.6 / 100||4.6||4.4|
|Similac Prenatal Vitamin||4.5||70.1 / 100||4.3||4.1|
|Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins||4.5||58.4 / 100||4.0||4.1|
|Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal||4.5||85 / 100||4.3||4.4|
|DEVA Vegan Prenatal Vitamin||4.0||75.1 / 100||4.2||3.9|
Our list of the best prenatal vitamins is based on a thorough comparison of Amazon reviews and Labdoor supplement testing scores. Based on the ACOG’s recommendations and our research, Blueprint has also assigned our own score to each product, to give you a comprehensive overall score.
New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins
“Best vitamins I’ve ever taken! I am notorious for getting nausea and stomach cramps with many vitamins and supplements, these vitamins have not caused a single issue.” -CB, Amazon Reviewer
- Made with whole-food, non-GMO, gluten free, vegetarian, and organic ingredients
- High in vitamin K and D, and rich minerals, like iron
- Also includes a superfood sprout blend (kale, broccoli, cauliflower) and probiotics
- All ingredients are completely digestible and claims to have no nausea side effects
- No sugar added
- Perfect Prenatal doesn’t quite reach the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for iodine, calcium, magnesium, and zinc
- Contains soy, which is considered a high allergen food
New Chapter Prenatal DHA Wholemega for Moms
“They are tiny, easy to swallow gel capsules and I can even take them on an empty stomach without issue! Oh yes and they are odorless!” -Amazon Reviewer
- Chock full of Omega-3s and DHA,which helps promote healthy fetal,brain, and eye tissue development
- Made from wild-caught Alaskan salmon oil caught from responsible fisheries
- Gel tablets are small and easy to swallow, and label claims there is no fishy aftertaste
- Gluten free, contains no sugar, artificial flavors, or krill oil
- This is not a typical prenatal—it does not include the common vitamins and minerals that most prenatals do. It should be taken in addition to prenatals that don’t already come with Omega-3s and DHA, like the New Chapter Perfect Prenatal
- Some reviewers still claimed to have fishy burps
Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin
“I’ve taken other prenatal vitamins that give me an upset stomach and indigestion. These were well tolerated.” -Amazon Reviewer
- This pill is an entirely food-based multivitamin
- Includes iron, calcium, vitamins D2, A and C, folate, and more
- Also includes probiotics and plant-based enzymes
- Completely vegan and gluten free
- Easy on the tummy and provides a nice energy boost
- This prenatal does not come with DHA, so an additional DHA supplement may be required
- Some reviewers have noted that the one a day pill is a bit large, which can be hard for some to swallow
Rainbow Light Prenatal Petite Mini-Tab Multivitamin
“In general, I absolutely love the formula in these pills. As a vegetarian I find it tough to find OTC prenatals that don’t contain both gelatin and fish oil. Love that these are vegan and food based.” -Pri, Amazon Reviewer
- All the nutritional benefits of the Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin, but in a small easy to swallow tablet
- A great option for moms who get queasy when taking pills. Many reviewers noted decreased nausea
- The daily dose is three tablets, instead of one of the Prenatal One Multivitamin
- Include all the recommended vitamins and minerals, plus superfoods, antioxidants, and herbs and probiotics to ease upset stomachs and balance digestive systems
- Gluten free, sugar free, dairy-free, and yeast free with no artificial additives
- The tablets are smaller than most prenatals, but not tiny. They’re comparable to the size of a Tylenol tablet
- Should be taken with food to prevent an upset tummy, and some reviewers noted an especially iron-y taste if left in the mouth too long
Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA
“I feel good about what’s in them, and they don’t make me sick!” -Amazon Reviewer
- Nature Made Prenatal Multi DHA is one of the most easily found—and most budget friendly—prenatal vitamins on the market
- Includes all the essentials you look for in a prenatal vitamin, plus DHA to promote healthy fetal development
- Dosage is one liquid softgel per day, which reviewers noted were easier to swallow than most prenatal pills
- Gluten free, preservative free, and doesn’t contain any synthetic dyes
- Because this prenatal includes DHA, it is not vegan or vegetarian
- Some have noted a slightly fishy flavor from the DHA
- The softgels are large and should be taken with plenty of water and with food
Zahler Prenatal Vitamin + DHA 300
“This product was recommended to me by my nutritionist as the BEST and HEALTHIEST prenatal on the market!” -Dutchered, Amazon Reviewer
- Zahler Prenatal Vitamin + DHA contains all the necessary key ingredients to look for in a prenatal vitamin (25 total vitamins and nutrients!) plus DHA
- Includes luteina and chromium, to aid in baby’s visual function and mom’s glucose regulation, respectively
- Dosage is two, easy-to-swallow softgels, that have no smell or aftertaste—great for queasy moms!
- Ingredients are all nature-based, and each tested thoroughly by a third party to ensure purity and effectiveness
- Many reviewers are excited to have a source of DHA without the unsavory ”fish burps”
- It is important to take Zahler Prenatal Vitamin + DHA 300 with food to avoid nausea
- These prenatals are one of the more expensive ones on our list
- Although the pills are softgels, they are a bit on the larger side and must be taken twice a day
Similac Prenatal Vitamin
“Great combination of essential and quintessential vitamins and minerals for moms to be, pregnant moms, and nursing moms.” -R. Villanueva, Amazon Reviewer
- Similac Prenatal Vitamin includes 22 key vitamins and minerals needed to support healthy fetal growth and nutrition, and includes separate bottle containing softgels with a blend of DHA, Lutein, and vitamin E (Similac’s OptiGro formula)
- Similac is a long-standing trusted brand for infant health
- Daily dosage is one softgel and one prenatal tablet, both smaller in size than most prenatal vitamin tablets
- Reviewers appreciate how pills have no odor or aftertaste, and many have claimed no nausea after taking them
- The pack does come with two separate pills (prenatal + OptiGro blend), but can be taken at different times of the day
- Some reviewers claim the prenatal tablet is still a bit large, although the OptiGro softgel is small and easy to swallow
- Both pills should not be taken on an empty stomach
Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins
“I have tried other vitamins that made me so nauseous if I did not take them with food… I have never had that issue with the Vitafusion Gummy.” -D. Hof, Amazon Reviewer
- Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins are a great option for the mom or mom-to-be who is averse to swallowing pills
- Includes essential vitamins and minerals, plus 100% DV folic acid and 50mg Omega-3 DHA
- Gummies come in several flavors, including natural lemon, raspberry, and lemonade
- Do not contain iron, so are easier on the stomach than prenatals that include it
- Made from natural ingredients and sources, and is gluten-free, dairy-free, and does not contain shellfish
- Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins, as well as many other gummy options, does not come with iron, which is considered a key component of prenatal multivitamins
- DHA is sourced from fish, so it is not vegan or vegetarian
- Contains soy and added sugar
Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal
“They never upset my stomach, even in the first trimester when I was frequently nauseas. I found them easy to swallow and I liked that they could be easily opened to add to a smoothie.” -CC, Amazon Reviewer and Top Contributor: Kids and Parenting
- Made with all-natural, non-GMO, whole-food, raw, and organic ingredients
- Designed and formulated for mom to take before and during pregnancy, and during lactation
- Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and contains no fillers
- Includes probiotics, ginger, zinc, and plenty of vitamin D
- Serving size is 1 capsule three times a day and can be taken with or without food. The label also suggest pouring capsule contents into raw juice or water if adverse to swallowing pills
- The capsules are rather large, and the daily dose is 3
- They have a smell and flavor that may deter queasy pill-takers
- Do not contain Omega-3s or DHA, so a separate (or vegetarian/vegan alternative) supplement may be necessary
DEVA Vegan Prenatal Vitamin
“I really enjoy these vitamins. They don’t make me ill and nauseous like some others. And that’s pretty important when you’re pregnant and already feeling under the weather. “ -Olivia, Amazon Reviewer
- DEVA Vegan Prenatal Vitamin is certified vegan by the Vegan Society
- Contains over 1500% of vitamin B12, as it’s difficult for vegans to get enough from their diet alone
- Tablet pills are to be taken once a day with food
- Includes all of the key vitamins and minerals, plus 138% of the RDA for folic acid
- Because all DEVA products are vegan, the prenatal multivitamin does not contain Omega-3s or DHA
- DEVA Vegan Prenatal Vitamins can be taken by vegans and non-vegans alike, but meat eaters should regulate the amount of B12 they are consuming by food, as the prenatal contains a good amount of the vitamin
- DHA, or vegan DHA supplement, may need to be taken separately
- Some reviewers have noted a slight aftertaste
What about side effects?
You should know that prenatal vitamins do come with possible side effects, including constipation and/or nausea. There are things you can do to help avoid these symptoms—taking them with a meal or trying out a different time of day, for example. Don’t let these unpleasantries sway you, though. Without proper nutrition for both mom and baby, there is a higher risk for birth defects.
It’s crucial to talk with your doctor before taking any prenatal vitamins. You’ll be able to about figure out which work best for your body, diet, and lifestyle so you can worry less about adverse effects, and focus on growing a healthy baby.
When should I start taking prenatals?
If you’re planning on having a baby, it’s time to start taking some prenatals. According to the CDC, all women of childbearing age should take prenatals to keep their reproductive system healthy for when they decide they’re ready to conceive. If you’re just finding out that you’re pregnant, it’s time to start taking prenatals! Some of the baby’s most important neurological developments happen within the first month of pregnancy, so it’s never too early to start.