Best Prenatal Vitamins

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best prenatal vitaminsAn insurance policy for your baby. That’s how some experts regard prenatal vitamins. Perhaps you will take in an adequate amount of all needed nutrients and vitamins from your diet while you are carrying your baby. But if you fall short, taking prenatal vitamins will ensure that your baby gets everything required for proper development.

Although we commonly use the term prenatal vitamins, many of the most commonly included substances are minerals, not vitamins. The term nutritional supplements is more accurate, but less commonly used.

We think of prenatal vitamins (nutritional supplements) as something that should be taken during pregnancy. Actually, it’s optimum to start taking them before you conceive.

So if you are thinking of getting pregnant, it’s a great idea to start on your vitamin regimen. And that regimen shouldn’t necessarily end when your baby is delivered. Especially if you are breastfeeding, an appropriate nutritional supplement will continue to ensure your health and your baby’s nutrition. Some doctors simply recommend continuing with prenatals.

*All product links in this article will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com, scroll down for our in-depth reviews below.

Who Are You Going to Ask?

If you have decided to take a prenatal vitamin, you will need to decide which one. Logically, your doctor is your best source of advice. Unfortunately, many doctors have minimal training in nutrition. Prospective parents should inform themselves about dietary supplements in order to have a fruitful discussion with doctors.

The amount of misinformation on the Internet and in other places is staggering. Stick to reputable sources for your information. Be especially cautious about claims made by companies that sell supplements and also of  claims made by bloggers who have no medical or scientific training.

One often hears that dietary supplements such as prenatal vitamins are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is not, strictly speaking, true. The FDA does regulate supplements, but under a different set of standards than those that cover food and those that cover drugs.

Basically, manufacturers are responsible for their own quality control, but the FDA can force removal of any products that are adulterated or misbranded.

Why You Need Prenatal Vitamins

Babies in the womb need certain substances to develop properly. A woman may get enough of those substances for her own body, but not enough to share between her body and her baby. Prenatal vitamins assure that there is enough for both.

Certain people have an enhanced need for prenatals. For example, if you are on a restricted diet out of necessity or out of choice, you may have a heightened need for vitamin supplements during pregnancy.

Other in this category are those who have undergone gastric bypass and those who are expecting twins or multiples. Women who smoke, drink alcohol or abuse drugs also have a greater need for prenatal vitamins than women who do not engage in these behaviors.

In these cases, attention should be paid to stopping the behavior, but vitamin supplementation is better than doing nothing.

When looking at vitamin dosages, you will be looking at percentages of Daily Values (DV). The DV is simply a statement of the amount of a nutrient that the average person needs for good nutrition. The FDA sets Daily Values, and it has established standards for women who are pregnant or lactating.

The most important takeaway for pregnant women is that taking prenatal vitamins is not a substitute for good nutrition. It is impossible to put every substance that mother and baby need into pill form. If prenatal vitamins are used as an excuse to pursue an unhealthful diet, they could do as much harm as good.

Barriers to Taking Prenatals

If taking prenatal vitamins is good for expectant mothers, why do so many women skip them? There are several barriers to their use.

The first barrier for some mothers-to-be is cost. Prenatal vitamins can be expensive. If your doctor prescribes them, your insurance may cover them.

That may not, however, be the cheapest route. An over-the-counter supplement may still be cheaper than your co-pay for prescription supplements.

If you opt for over-the-counter vitamins, you can still cut the cost by opting for one of the cheaper formulations, but one that has the essential vitamins and minerals you need.

A subscription service can save you up to 20% of the cost of your vitamins. Be careful when figuring the cost of a multivitamin that you are considering.

Many prenatals require that you swallow up to six pills for a single dose. If you figure your cost per pill rather than per dose, you can make a serious miscalculation about the cost of a particular formulation.

Another barrier to overcome is that many prenatal vitamins are large and hard-to-swallow. That’s usually because of the calcium content, because calcium is bulky.

There are a variety of solutions to this problem. You can take a supplement with a minimum of calcium and get your calcium elsewhere, such as in a separate pill, perhaps a chewable.

Some manufacturers are dividing their supplements into two separate pills, each smaller than a combined pill would be. Others simply make smaller pills and require that women take up to six of them.

Some women find that coated pills or gel caps are easier to swallow. The important thing is to keep trying until you find a solution that works for you.

Digestive upset is another problem with prenatals. If you are having morning sickness or other nausea, swallowing a pill can trigger an episode.

Try taking your pill with a meal or taking it at bedtime. Smaller pills are also less likely to cause gagging. The first few months are when you may be most nauseated, but that is also the time when your vitamins are most important, so you can’t let a queasy stomach keep you from doing what you need to do.

A final problem that some moms have is constipation. That issue is usually related to the iron content in your supplement.

Fortunately, this problem has many solutions. You can up your fruit intake and increase your activity level. You can take a psyllium fiber supplement to add bulk to the stool or take a stool softener. Increasing your water intake can help, too.

The bottom line is you don’t want to skip your vitamins, because the folic acid and Vitamin D are crucial to child development. If the calcium content is a barrier, pick a pill with less calcium. If the iron content is making you miserably constipated, take a pill with less iron. Iron and calcium are somewhat negotiable. Folic acid and Vitamin D are not.

One more thing: Pregnancy forums are full of mothers-to-be who are worried because they missed taking one or more of their vitamins. Although you should be as faithful as possible in taking them, a missed dose or two does not constitute a problem.

The Importance of Folic Acid

Although you will see formulations with dozens of supplements, the Mayo Clinic says that four elements are essential: Folic acid, Vitamin D, calcium and iron. Do not choose a prenatal vitamin that is lacking in one of these unless you choose to supplement in a different way.

It is difficult to overstate how crucial it is that pregnant women have a sufficient supply of folic acid or folate. That substance is crucial because it reduces the incidence of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and anacephaly.

To prevent such birth defects, folic acid must be taken early in the pregnancy. Preventing these defects is the major reason that doctors suggest that prenatal vitamins be taken even before you know you are pregnant.

Folic acid may also reduce the likelihood of a cleft lip or palate and certain heart defects, also serious conditions that simple supplementation may prevent. It may also protect against preeclampsia, sometimes called toxemia, which is a serious condition that puts baby and mother at risk.

Folic acid is available in quite a few foods. It occurs naturally in spinach, asparagus, lentils, eggs and cantaloupe. A number of foods have been fortified with folic acid in an effort to reduce folic acid deficiency.

These fortified foods include cereal and pasta. Check your food labels for more information, but if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, take a supplement, too.

What Else Should Be in Your Prenatal Vitamins?

Vitamin D should be in your supplement. Commonly recognized as necessary for bone health, Vitamin D has other positive properties. A Vitamin D deficiency may be related to gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, low birth weight of babies and premature birth.

Vitamin D is found in significant portions in only a few food items, such as egg yolk and salmon. Most milk is fortified with it.

A mother-to-be who doesn’t drink milk or eat eggs could be at risk of a deficiency, as could others whose diet doesn’t consistently include these foods.

Calcium is another mineral that is important for mothers and babies. Everyone knows that it builds strong bones and teeth, but it is also essential for healthy nerves and muscles.

Most people get their calcium from milk, yogurt and cheese, but it is also found in vegetables such as broccoli and kale and in fish products that contain edible bones, such as sardines and canned salmon. Some foods are also fortified with calcium.

People who are lactose intolerant or who avoid dairy products for other reasons may not get enough calcium, especially when they are supplying nutrients for two.

A supplement will prevent a deficiency. Most supplements do not contain a full Daily Value of calcium, because it is bulky and greatly increases the size of the pills. Also, most individuals get a fair amount of calcium in their diets.

Iron is the last must-have for prenatal vitamin formulations. Without it, a mother can develop iron-deficiency anemia, which can result in low birth weight, premature delivery and higher rater of infant mortality.

Meat, dairy products, eggs and poultry are our main sources of iron, so those following a vegan or vegetarian diet may be at risk of not getting enough iron.

Mild anemia is common in pregnancy and seldom serious, but taking an iron supplement should guard against more serious anemia and the problems it can cause.

Along with these four substances, most prenatals contain an array of others. One that is worth special mention is DHA, which is an omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in fish oil.

DHA promotes brain health, but the FDA has not established a Daily Value for it. Ask your doctor whether you should look for a supplement containing DHA.

Choline is another substance that is beginning to be included in prenatal formulations. Choline is believed to be important in brain development, although there is no FDA Daily Value at this time.

What Form Should Your Prenatal Take?

Prenatal vitamins are available as tablets, gel caps, chewables, gummies and powders. Each form has its advantages and disadvantages.

  • Tablets can be hard to swallow and bad tasting.
  • Gel caps are more expensive to manufacture than tablets and commonly use gelatin derived from animal sources.
  • Chewables are also more expensive than tablets and usually require sweeteners and flavorings to make them palatable.
  • Gummies also require sweeteners and flavorings. Because they are so enticing and good-tasting, they can be a poisoning hazard for children who may mistake them for candy.
  • Powders are mixed into liquids and can be helpful for those who have trouble swallowing pills. But because they are messy and require extra preparation, they are not widely used

What Are Some Of The Best Prenatal Vitamins?

Almost every company that makes prenatal vitamins makes them in several variations. That means that there are many different vitamins on the market.

By looking through this list of top prenatal vitamins, you will get an idea of what you are looking for in a supplement. If one of these doesn’t exactly fit your needs, you should be able to find one that does.

Garden of Life Code RAW Prenatal

If you are super picky about everything that you put in your body and everything that you are using to grow your baby, you may opt for Garden of Life Code RAW Prenatal Vitamins.

These vitamins are non-GMO (genetically modified organism), gluten free and dairy free. According to the website, they are created with “no high heat, synthetic binders or fillers, artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors or other additives commonly used in tablets.â€

Instead the vitamins are blended into a combination of 23 fruits and vegetables. The tablets also include a digestive comfort blend of ginger and probiotics to lessen tummy trouble.

Founded in 2000, Garden of Life claims to be the top brand in the natural products industry. In addition, the company has a number of measures in place to assure the quality of its products.

They retain the services of a third party testing agency to double check their products. They have earned almost a dozen different certifications showing that their products and their manufacturing plants meet specific standards.

Specifications:

Folate: 800 mcg / 100% Daily Value (DV) for pregnant women

Vitamin D: 1,400 IU / 350% DV

Calcium: 125 mg / 15% DV

Iron: 18 mg / 100% DV

Other: 19 other vitamins and minerals

 

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Fits With Special Diets. The Garden of Life Code RAW vitamins are compatible with dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian diets.

Lots of Extras. In addition to the extra vitamins and minerals, these vitamins contain various organic vegetables, seeds and sprouts.

Folate Instead of Folic Acid. Both folate and folic acid provide Vitamin B9, but some authorities believe that folate is better utilized by the body than the more commonly used folic acid.

Flexible Dosing. The recommended dose is one tablet three times a day, but they can be taken all at once or spaced out. The capsules can also be opened and stirred into water or raw juice.

 

Cons:

Not Much Calcium. A woman who follows a vegan diet or doesn’t eat dairy for some other reason runs the risk of not getting enough calcium while using this supplement, which supplies only 15% of the Daily Value.

Bad Smell. Many users complain that these vitamins have an unpleasant smell that makes them hard to swallow.

Too Many Pills. Some users do not like having to take three pills per day instead of only one.

Not Economical. Although these are not the most expensive prenatals on the market, they are on the high end.


Similac Prenatal Vitamins

When looking for prenatal vitamins, many moms turn to Similac, maker of baby formula. After all, Similac is chosen by more moms than any other formula and also chosen by more hospitals.

Their 90 years of experience in the baby business make them a name to be trusted, many consumers feel.

Similac divides its prenatal vitamins into two pills, one a tablet, and one a gel cap. The dose is one of each per day. This is one way to avoid having a large pill. Pregnant women simply take one tablet from one bottle and one gel cap from the other bottle each day.

Similac’s vitamin formula offers a special blend that it calls Optigro, which is made up of three ingredients found in breast milk, according to the company’s website. Optigro contains DHA.

It also contains lutein, which “supports eye health,†according to the company website. The third component is the antioxidant Vitamin E, which is important in cell development.

Specifications:

Folic Acid: 800 mcg / 100% Daily Value (DV) for pregnant women

Vitamin D: 600 IU / 150% DV

Calcium: 300 mg / 23% DV

Iron: 27 mg / 150% DV

Other: 17 other vitamins and minerals, plus Optigro

 

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Two-Pill Dosing. The two pill system works for many women who have trouble taking large pills.

Affordable. These vitamins fall into the moderate category.

Fair Amount of Calcium. With about a quarter of the DV for calcium, these vitamins contain more of this important mineral than most other prenatals.

 

Cons:

Not for Those With Certain Allergies. The Similac Prenatal Vitamins are manufactured in a facility that also processes fish, peanuts, egg and other foods that may trigger allergies. In addition, the vitamins contain soy, which some people are sensitive to.

Tummy Troubles. Some users reported nausea and even vomiting with these pills. Some said it helped to take them on a full stomach. Many users said that the fish oil component creates smelly belches.


Nature Made Prenatal Multi

If you know the important of a prenatal vitamin but can’t afford a pricey brand, Nature Made Prenatal Multi is a good choice for you.

Made by a company that’s been in the business for 45 years, Nature Made produces vitamins without preservatives, artificial flavors or synthetic dyes.

You get hefty doses of 18 vitamins and minerals at a price that’s a fraction of the cost of some vitamins. And Nature Made uses a third party agency, USP, to test their products for quality and purity.

If you like the Nature Made brand but have trouble taking tablets, you can try the gel caps, which have the additional benefit of containing DHA. That formulation is a little more expensive but still affordable.

Specifications:

Folic Acid: 800 mcg / 100% Daily Value (DV) for pregnant women

Vitamin D: 1000 IU / 250% DV

Calcium: 250 mg / 19% DV

Iron: 27 mg / 150% DV

Other: 14 other vitamins and minerals

 

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Trusted Company. Many consumers trust the Nature Made brand because of its long history and its third-party testing by USP, a non-profit agency.

Affordable. These vitamins are low-priced.

 

Cons:

Contains Soybean Oil. This product contains soy, which some people are allergic to or sensitive to.

Not Much Calcium. With only 19% of the DV for calcium, these vitamins won’t supply all the calcium a pregnant woman needs.

Tummy Troubles. Some users reported nausea and vomiting with these pills, although others had no problem if they took the tablets on a full stomach.

Big Bottle. These multivitamins are only available in larger bottles of 90 or more tablets, so there is more waste if you can’t take them.

Large Pill. Since this vitamin is a single pill dose, the tablets are fairly large.


Smarty Pants Prenatal Complete

When it comes to vitamins, Smarty Pants is the new kid on the block. In business since 2009, this California-based company specializes in good-tasting gummies.

Visit the company website, and you’ll be impressed with its Scientific Advisory Board and its certification process. But if you are one of those pregnant women who have a hard time taking vitamins, the good taste may be the major Smarty Pants selling point.

You should know right up front that the Smarty Pants prenatals do not contain iron or calcium. With vitamins that taste this good, the company is concerned about the possibility of accidental overdoses, especially involving children.

The possibility of iron poisoning is a serious issue. The company advises consumers to obtain iron from other sources. Calcium is also a no-show, because it tends to taste bad and is difficult to put into a gummy. Smarty Pants prenatals do include omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, both DHA and EPA.

Smarty Pants vitamins get their good taste in part from sugar, which means that the recommended daily dosage of 6 gummies has 50 calories.

Natural flavors like orange, lemon and strawberry-banana add to the tastiness. Smarty Pants vitamins don’t include soy, eggs, gluten, wheat, peanuts, dairy, GMOs or high-fructose corn syrup. They also have no artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors or preservatives.

Specifications:

Folate: 800 mcg / 100% Daily Value (DV) for pregnant women

Vitamin D: 1000 IU / 250% DV

Calcium: 0 mg / 0% DV

Iron: 0 mg / 0% DV

Other: 13 other vitamins and minerals, plus fish oil and choline

 

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Good Taste. If nausea has made it hard for you to take other prenatals, you may be able to take Smarty Pants vitamins.

Folate Instead of Folic Acid. These vitamins contain L-methylfolate, which some authorities believe is better metabolized by the body than the more commonly used folic acid.

Fish Oil Without the Drawbacks. Because the fish oil is spread out in six gummies, it doesn’t taste bad or cause fishy burps.

Fish Oil From Sustainable Sources. Because the fish oil in these vitamins comes from small, wild-caught fish, a sustainable source, you can feel good about taking them.

Great For Those With Allergies. These vitamins do not contain the ingredients which commonly trigger allergies or sensitivities.

 

Cons:

Other Supplements May Be Needed. Since the Smarty Pants vitamins contain no calcium or iron, other supplements may be required. Women should consult their doctors.

Not Economical. Considering that six gummies is a single dose, these vitamins fall into the high-priced category.

Too Much Sugar. These vitamins may contain too much sugar for those who have to watch their sugar intake, and some consumers think they taste too sweet.


Rainbow Light Complete Prenatal System

Founded in 1981, Rainbow Light has a unique array of prenatal vitamins. Look up prenatal vitamins on the company website, and drop-down menus allow you to select from 11 dietary preferences, including  vegan, vegetarian, soy-free, wheat-free and others.

Another drop-down lets you choose from six different formats for your vitamins: capsule, chewable, gummy, tablet, mini-tablet and powder.

The Rainbow Light Complete Prenatal System promises a lot, and it delivers, at the cost of requiring expectant moms to swallow six pills a day. Still, the impressive mix of vitamins, minerals and nutrients make this supplement an attractive choice for those who want a comprehensive vitamin package.

In addition to the standard vitamins and minerals, the Rainbow Light Complete Prenatal System features several extras. Its Superfood Vitality Blend includes spirulina and chlorella, two algae that have been touted for their nutritional value and possible health benefits.

Its Digestive Support Complex includes enzymes and a probiotic. Other extras include red raspberry leaf, chamomile and ginger. Although many consumers swear by ingredients such as these, there is little hard evidence that their inclusion in a prenatal vitamin is of value.

Although the value of some of its ingredients is unproven, the Rainbow Light Complete Prenatal System does offer far more calcium than most of its competitors. This is a vegetarian product with no gluten, milk, wheat, peanuts, soy, eggs, fish or shellfish.

Specifications:

Folic Acid: 1000 mcg / 125% Daily Value (DV) for pregnant women

Vitamin D: 1,000 IU / 250% DV

Calcium: 1000 mg / 77% DV

Iron: 30 mg / 167% DV

Other: 14 other vitamins and minerals for which Daily Values have been established, plus other substances for which there are no Daily Values

 

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Free of Common Allergens. Those who must avoid gluten, eggs, soy and other allergens can safely take Rainbow Light Complete Prenatal System.

Many Extras. In addition to hefty doses of the standard vitamins and minerals, other nutrients are included.

A Lot of Calcium. These vitamins are great for women whose diet doesn’t provide a lot of calcium. They are also good for expectant mothers who are younger than 18, who need about a third more calcium than older moms.

Flexible Dosing. The tablets can be taken in doses of three pills twice a day or two pills three times a day.

 

Cons:

Too Many Pills. Many users found it difficult to take six pills a day.

Not Economical. These supplements are on the high end price-wise.


One A Day Women’s Prenatal 1

When it comes time to choose a vitamin for an unborn baby, why wouldn’t you choose the brand that is almost synonymous with vitamins? One A Day has been in the vitamin business since 1943.

Since its first simple 8-ingredient pill, the company has branched out until today it makes more than 50 formulations especially tailored for a person’s age, gender and specific needs. It’s the brand most recommended by obstetricians and pharmacists.

The One A Day Women’s Prenatal 1 offers supplementation at its simplest – one gel cap, once a day. Yet in that one dose it manages to pack the full Daily Value for almost all of its 18 vitamins and minerals, plus two Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, DHA and EPA.

Since it comes as a gel cap, it costs a little more than a tablet, but it is still reasonably priced, and most users find gel caps more palatable than tablets.

These vitamins are free of artificial flavors and artificial sweeteners. They also do not contain wheat or dairy. They do contain other ingredients that users may be sensitive to.

Specifications:

Folic Acid: 800 mcg / 100% Daily Value (DV) for pregnant women

Vitamin D: 400 IU / 100% DV

Calcium: 200 mg / 15% DV

Iron: 28 mg / 156% DV

Other: 14 other vitamins and minerals, including Omega-3 fatty acids

 

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Trusted Company. Many consumers trust the One A Day brand because of its long history.

One-Pill Dose. Many users like the convenience of one pill.

Affordable. These vitamins are in the medium price range.

 

Cons:

Contains Soy. Some women may be sensitive to the soy lecithin contained in these vitamins.

Not Much Calcium. A pregnant woman who doesn’t get much dairy won’t get enough calcium with this formulation, which has only 15% of the DV for calcium.

Fishy Smell. Some users reported that their vitamins had a fishy smell, perhaps caused by leakage from one of the gel caps.


Bellybar Prenatal Chewable Vitamins

If you hate to swallow pills but want a more complete supplement than gummies offer, a chewable vitamin may be right for you. Bellybar offers a wide complement of vitamins and minerals in a dosage of just two-per-day tablets.

Although this brand doesn’t offer the extras that some brands do, it’s good basic supplementation in chewable form.

Bellybar vitamins are made by Puritan’s Pride, a company founded in 1973 that offers a wide range of wellness-related products.

Specifications:

Folic Acid: 800 mcg / 100% Daily Value (DV) for pregnant women

Vitamin D: 800 IU / 200% DV

Calcium: 200 mg / 15% DV

Iron: 27 mg / 150% DV

Other: 9 other vitamins and minerals

 

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Palatable. Most users found the chewables a little chalky but fairly agreeable in taste.

Affordable. These vitamins are in the medium price range.

Mostly Natural. These chewables contain no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. They are flavored with natural orange and cherry, and fruit and vegetable juices are used to give color.

 

Cons:

May Trigger Allergens. Manufactured with equipment that also processes shellfish and wheat, so could cause an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals.

Not Much Calcium. Probably due to the bulkiness of calcium, these chewables contain only 15% of the DV for calcium.

A Hazard for Children. Children are at risk of iron poisoning if they ingest adult vitamins, and these may be tempting to children because they are chewable. It’s important to keep them away from any children in the household.


MegaFood Baby and Me2

Everyone has heard of eating for two. MegaFood believes in supplementing for two. That’s why they created Baby and Me2, a formula that meets the needs of a growing baby and the mother’s need for energy and stability.

MegaFood Baby and Me2 vitamins feature FoodState Nutrients that are made from whole foods and are thus gentle and easy to digest. These vitamin tablets are kosher, non-GMO and safe for vegetarians.

They are also gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free. Recommended dosage is two tablets a day.

Formulated by Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, a medical doctor specializing in dietary supplementation, the Baby and Me2 vitamins are gentle enough to take on an empty stomach.

They contain a large dose of B6, 350% of the DV, and include all other B vitamins, which the company believes are important to maintain a pregnant woman’s energy level and “balanced mood.â€

They do not, however, contain calcium or magnesium, components that can be obtained with a separate Bone Health supplement.

The original Baby and Me formulation contained herbs and required a dosage of four per day. This formula is very close to the original but does not contain herbs and requires only two pills per day.

Specifications:

Folate: 600 mcg / 75% Daily Value (DV) for pregnant women

Vitamin D: 600 IU / 150% DV

Calcium: 0 mg / 0% DV

Iron: 18 mg / 100% DV

Other: 12 other vitamins and minerals for which Daily Values have been established, plus 7 others

 

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Easy to Take. Most users found these tablets easy to swallow and gentle on the stomach.

Folate Instead of Folic Acid. These vitamins contain folate rather than the more commonly used folic acid.

Safety Certifications. The ingredients that go into these vitamins are tested for 149 different herbicides and pesticides and are certified glyphosate-free. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup.

 

Cons:

No Calcium. Because no calcium is included in this blend, users must take in sufficient calcium from their diet or take a separate supplement.

Not Economical. These vitamins fall into the higher price range.


Enfamil Expecta Prenatal Dietary Supplement

Want the benefits of fish oil without the fishy burps and the worries about mercury? Enfamil Expecta may be just what you are looking for.

The DHA used in this formulation is derived from algae, so it has no fishy taste and doesn’t contain mercury. Like most other formulas that include DNA, Enfamil Expecta requires that you take two pills daily, one a tablet and one a soft gel cap.

Enfamil is part of the Mead Johnson family of products. Mead Johnson has been in business for over 100 years and makes the baby formula most recommended by pediatricians.

Specifications:

Folate: 800 mcg / 100% Daily Value (DV) for pregnant women

Vitamin D: 600 IU / 150% DV

Calcium: 300 mg / 23% DV

Iron: 28 mg / 156% DV

Other: 14 other vitamins and minerals for which Daily Values have been established, plus choline and DHA.

 

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Easy to Take. Most users found both the tablet and the gel tab easy to swallow and gentle on the stomach.

Reasonably Priced. These vitamins fall are moderate in price and reasonable for a formula containing DHA.

Good Amount of Calcium. This formula contains enough calcium that most users won’t need additional supplementation.

 

Cons:

May Trigger Allergies. The manufacturer does not include a statement about whether manufacturing facilities are free of wheat, nuts, soy and other substances that can trigger allergens.


Thorne Research Basic Prenatal

You may not be an Olympian, but you can take vitamins made by the company that supplies 12 USA teams. Thorne Research has 30 years experience in the field of nutritional supplements.

If its supplements are pure enough to pass rigorous testing for use by elite athletes, just maybe its products are also good enough for you and your baby.

Thorne specializes in finding the ingredients that are high in bioavailability, meaning that the substances will be well metabolized by the body.

Thorne does not use the binders, coatings, fillings and other non-essential ingredients that are used by many companies, because those substances can impair absorption of the nutrients.

The company uses only natural flavors, colors, sweeteners and preservatives. Its products never contain GMOs, wheat, nuts, eggs, dairy, soy, gluten, barley, rye, yeast or other substances known to be triggers for allergies.

Specifications:

Folate: 1 mg / 167% Daily Value (DV) for pregnant women

Vitamin D: 1000 IU / 167% DV

Calcium: 180 mg / 14% DV

Iron: 45 mg / 167% DV

Other: 19 other vitamins and minerals

 

PROS & CONS
Pros:

Excellent for Folate. These vitamins contain an active form of folic acid, which is wellmetabolized by the body. They also contains an extra amount of folate, which is the most crucial ingredient in prenatals.

Top-Notch Quality Control. The company states that 15% of its employees are devoted to quality control, and testing is carried out at four stages of the manufacturing process. Raw ingredients are tested, then products are tested midway in the process and again at the end. Finally, products are tested to ensure that their potency lasts until the expiration date.

 

Cons:

May Upset Stomach. Some users report digestive difficulties, including nausea, vomiting and constipation.

Not an Economical Choice. These vitamins fall into the high-priced category.


And the Winner Is!

Although each of these vitamins has unique selling points, the overall winner is Enfamil Expecta Prenatal Vitamins.

This product has the Daily Value of most vitamins and minerals, with extras of the important Vitamin D and iron. It has more calcium than most prenatals. It also contains DHA in a non-fishy format and choline.

Although Daily Values have not been established for these substances, emerging research is showing that they may be crucial in infant development. With Enfamil Expecta, you get all of this at a price that is affordable for most women.

If price is no object, Thorne Research Basic Prenatal would get the nod, for high bioavailability and excellent quality control. For those for whom cost is a real issue, Nature Made vitamins are a viable choice. One A Day prenatals also deserve mention for packing a lot of nutrients plus DHA into a single pill form and offering it at a reasonable price.

The real winners, of course, are women who put effort into choosing prenatals that are right for them and for their babies.

 

Peter
Peter
Father of two wonderful kids, love parenthood and feel blessed to have an amazing family.
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