When I first became pregnant, I immediately decided to turn my life around. For the next nine months, I was to be a vessel for an emerging new life, and I would make sure that the baby would receive all the goodness, vitamins, minerals, and nutrition that are needed. I started to do some research on which fruits and vegetables I should eat and quickly found this to be wholly insufficient. This led me to research the top 10 pregnancy vitamins.
Why You Need Vitamin Supplements
During the different stages of pregnancy, you will need different types of vitamins. It is very important that you do this, as it has a direct impact on your unborn child. Actually, this has to be started even before pregnancy, because you have to prepare your body to become pregnant. Before pregnancy, you should take folic acid at least a month prior to getting pregnant. By taking folic acid, you will be reducing the chances of your child being born with defects in the spinal cord or brain. You should also make sure that you consume a healthy diet full of nutrients.
During pregnancy, you need to continue to focus on your nutrients. There are a number of vitamins that you should consume as a minimum, such as:
- DHA, which is an omega 3 fatty acid. It supports the brain and eye development of your unborn child.
- Iron, which ensures that your blood can carry oxygen to your baby
- Vitamin D and calcium, which are required for bone health. Calcium is vital for the growing bones of the baby, while vitamin D is required for the baby to be able to absorb the calcium.
- Iodine, which is of substantial importance when you are pregnant. According to the American Thyroid Association, pregnant and nursing mothers should supplement with iodine.
After you have given birth, and whether you are nursing or bottle feeding but particularly for breastfeeding mothers, it continues to be very important that you have sufficient vitamins to support your body and that of your baby. The milk you produce must nourish your new baby properly, hence you may want to consider supplementing. This is because any vitamins and minerals you consume will be passed on to your baby through your milk. Key supplements to consider include:
- DHA, which is vital for the support of your baby’s brain and eye development.
- Vitamin D, which ensures your baby can continue to grow and that their body can absorb the calcium from your milk.
If you do not breastfeed, taking a multivitamin supplement is still beneficial as it will help you to recover and to remain healthy yourself.
Below, I will list what I believe to be the top 10 vitamins for pregnant women and describe the importance of each one.
- Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA
This contains sardine and anchovies deep sea fish oil (purified) in a soft gel capsule made from glycerin, water, and tilapia fish gelatin. It also contains vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol in olive oil) and d-alpha tocopherol. It does not contain artificial flavors, colors, milk derivatives, or gluten. This is vital for brain development for babies, during pregnancy and lactation.
- CONCEPTION Fertility Prenatal Vitamins
CONCEPTION contains organic KSM-66, myo-inositol, withania somnifera (ashwagandha extract), vitex agnus-castus (chaste tree berry), asparagus racemosus (shatavari root extract), utrica dioica (stinging nettle extract), choline, PABA, and BioPerine nutrient enhancer. This is actually to be taken even before becoming pregnant, and it can be taken by vegetarians. It is designed to boost fertility, and then provide complete nutrition for mother and baby,
- One a Day Prenatal with DHA
One a Day is one of the most trusted brands in vitamin supplements. This particular product is also recommended by OB/GYNEs, as well as by pharmacists. It provides all vitamins and minerals you could possibly need, including DHA, folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, iron, and iodine. This is designed to be the only supplement you will need before, during, and after your pregnancy.
- New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin
This was formulated for women who are trying to conceive and those who are already pregnant. It is a complete prenatal vitamin and includes support for the development of the brain and spinal cord. It takes fermented nutrients from whole foods, and therefore includes folate, vitamin D3, and iron. It also contains blueberries and broccoli. The product is also certified organic and non-GMO project verified.
- Rainbow Light Prenatal One
This contains botanicals, superfoods, vitamins and minerals. It is designed to provide women with both energy and nutrition. The supplement contains folic acid, vitamins A, C, and D2, iron, and plant-source enzymes and probiotics. It is promised to be of the highest purity and does not contain yeast, shellfish, nuts, dairy, soy, or gluten. It is also a vegan formula.
- Smarty Pants Prenatal Complete
This product is unique because it focuses not just on offering all necessary prenatal vitamins; it has also been designed to taste good. Each serving contains an active and highly bioavailable form of folate, methylfolate. Other nutrients include vitamin D, D3, and K2, omega 3 EPA, and DHA. The taste is unique and delicious, which is very different from the many bitter and chalky vitamin tablets that are available. Because of this good taste, Smarty Pants has decided not to add iron to the supplement to avoid the possibility of iron overdose.
- Lilibe Prenatal Multivitamin
Lilibe prides itself on using trusted manufacturers only. This multivitamin product contains 11 essential minerals and vitamins. This means that you don’t have to take any other supplement. Rather, both you and your unborn baby are protected throughout every stage of pregnancy, as well as before and after. Only one tablet per day is required.
The product contains vitamin A, C, D, and E, thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), folic acid, cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), calcium, iron, and zinc. It also contains soy and fish, which means that it is not suitable for vegetarians. However, it does not contain sodium, shellfish, yeast, wheat, gluten, lactose, milk, sugar, preservatives, or artificial flavors.
- Centrum Specialist Prenatal
Centrum is another globally respected brand of supplements. The Specialist Prenatal Complete Multivitamin/Multimineral helps to support the growth and development of the baby. It is a complete formula with added folic acid and DHA. It is to be taken before, during, and after pregnancy when breastfeeding.
- Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal
This product has been designed to be suitable for vegetarians and it has been created specifically for mothers and babies, before, during, and after pregnancy. It supports the mother’s immune system, as well as that of her growing unborn child. Furthermore, it helps to improve digestion and nutrient elimination. To achieve this, zinc, vitamin D, ginger, and probiotics have been added. It also helps to protect health of the blood and the heart thanks to the B-vitamin complex, vitamins A, C, and E, folate, iron, and copper.
- Diet Standard Prenatal DHA
This product is said to be the safest and cleanest omega 3 supplement available for mothers and babies. It has been independently tested in a third party lab to confirm that it does not contain any mercury. These tests were completed in the USA and the company takes great pride in this. Furthermore, they have gained their high levels of omega 3 from clean algae rather than fish. Not only does this prevent the embarrassing fish burps, but it also means that vegetarians can consume the product. In fact, it is suitable for vegans, as it does not contain dairy, gluten, or animal gelatin.
The product focuses strongly on creating a proper biological balance between DHA and EPA omega 3, which scientific studies have shown to make the fatty acid easier to be properly absorbed by the body. The product is completely made in the USA, which is how the company is able to ensure that all ingredients come from trusted sources. Even the algae oil is made here. It also means that purchasing the product supports the local economy and American manufacturing processes.
We all have our own preferences and dietary requirements. You may have noticed that some of them are not suitable for vegetarians and vegans, for instance, which could be a significant consideration for you.
Unfortunately, you do not have long to decide which pregnancy vitamins to use. If you truly want to support the health of your unborn baby, you need to start taking vitamins at least one month before you conceive, and you will have to keep taking them for the whole time you are pregnant and even after giving birth, especially if you breastfeed. Do make sure, therefore, that you not only peruse the list above, but that you also speak to your physician. This is particularly important if you are already taking any other medication, supplements, or herbal remedies. This is because, while vitamins and minerals are important, there is such a thing as too much and also the possibility of interaction.