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  • Michael Frey, MD

Prenatal Vitamins

My Top Picks

A friend of mine recently told me her OBGYN said, "Just get some prenatal vitamins at the pharmacy. They're all pretty much the same." She ask me if this was true. So I told her that it's true that most prenatal vitamins hit on the major stuff, but that there are differences between each brand. And I do think there are superior brands. Of course, everyone's needs are different (given each individual's unique biochemical needs).


Here is a list of my top picks for prenatal vitamins, including the best-selling ones on Amazon to add to your cart, STAT.

 

ONE-A-DAY

This is the most popular brand of prenatal vitamins on the market, and it's a solid choice. It's not necessarily fancy, but it gets the job done for a reasonable price and, best of all, it's been verified by an independent lab so it actually contains what it says it contains (which isn't always the case with supplements as they're not monitored by the FDA.)


 


Ritual Prenatal

One thing to know about iron and calcium in vitamins: they compete with each other for absorption. This vitamin doesn't contain calcium, which may help you better absorb the iron in it (which could be especially important if you're anemic). You can get calcium much easier from your diet. These vitamins’ minty favor is a nice bonus for women experiencing morning sickness.


 

Smarty Pants Prenatal

Gummy vitamins aren't just for kids. They're for pregnant women too, especially when they're packing 18 essential vitamins that all play a role in fetal development. These gummies in particular pack 290 mcg of iodine, which is essential for healthy brain development. Since the recommended intake of it is 220 mcg, these vitamins can help you meet your daily requirement. The CDC recommends taking iodine while breastfeeding as iodine deficiencies may put infants at risk of associated cognitive and psychomotor impairments.


 

Nature Made Prenatal + DHA 200 mg

The best thing about this prenatal vitamin: a large dose of DHA, a fatty acid crucial to fetal brain development. A lot of prenatals advertise they have this but they have a minuscule amount—you want a minimum of 200 mg of DHA per serving.


 

Mama Bird Prenatal

These vitamins contain "methylated folate"—a pretty buzzy word in the prenatal vitamin world. Folate is one of the most important vitamins in prenatal pills, but some women have a genetic condition that makes it hard for their bodies to convert the folic acid in most prenatals to the active form the body can use, but there's a catch: You won't know if you have the condition unless you have genetic testing done. So if you want to be super-safe and cover all your bases, then a methylated version of folate might be worth the money.



 

Thorne Basic Prenatal

This one's another great choice because it also contains the methylated forms of folate and B12. Plus it also has even more folate (a full milligram more, in fact) than most vitamins out there, which makes it ideal for women who don’t get enough green leafy vegetables into their diet.


Another plus? "This vitamin is also high in vitamin D and provides a healthy blend of calcium citrate and malate, though it does take three capsules daily though to get these amounts, which differs from the usual one-pill regiment for most prenatal vitamins.




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