These Are The Best Prenatal Vitamins For Soon-To-Be Moms, According To Experts

So. many. options.

Charlotte Hilton Andersen and Elizabeth Bacharach |

If you’re pregnant (or #TTC), you’re obviously eating all the kale, salmon, and whole grains you can…right?

LOL, right. Many moms-to-be eat whatever they can for the first few months (what up, Salticrax?) thanks to a little thing called morning sickness and a hyper-sensitive nose.

And that, kids, is exactly why prenatal vitamins were invented.

What exactly are prenatal vitamins?

Prenatal vitamins are there to fill in any nutritional gaps and make sure there is an abundance of all the vital nutrients your baby needs to grow — especially magnesium, zinc, calcium, vitamins B and C, and folate, says Dr G. Thomas Ruiz, an ob-gyn at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.

Supplemental folate, in particular, is very important as it’s been shown to reduce neural tube defects in babies, and you need at least 400 micrograms a day, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Most of these vitamins are water-soluble, meaning you’ll just pee out any excess, Dr Ruiz says. (So, you don’t need to worry about OD’ing.) There is one exception to this rule, however: iron, which can be toxic in large doses.

Pregnant women need 30 to 60 milligrams of iron each day, according to the guidelines from the WHO. Most prenatal vitamins come fortified with extra iron, so as long as you’re sticking to what’s in your daily prenatal (and not supplementing with even more iron), you’ll be fine, Dr Ruiz says. (Caveat: If you’re anaemic, you might need more, so Dr. Ruiz recommends discussing your individual needs with your doctor.)

READ MORE: 10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About The 1st Trimester

Okay, so when do I need to start taking prenatal vitamins — and for how long?

Ideally, you should start taking them as soon as you start trying to conceive, Dr Ruiz says. (FYI: It’s a myth that they will increase your fertility, though.) Your baby will need those extra nutrients from the moment of conception, Dr Ruiz explains.

Continue to take the vitamins throughout your pregnancy and afterwards, for as long as you’re breastfeeding, he advises.

What do I really need in a prenatal vitamin?

Sifting through the pharmacy shelves or online store suggestions is super intimidating. And don’t worry, it’s not just you — all of those options don’t just start to sound alike, they really are very similar, says Dr Wendy Goodall McDonald, a Chicago-based ob-gyn.

The key, however, is making sure you start taking a vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid as early as possible (yes, even before conception if possible). You should also look for options that will help you meet the daily recommended amounts of 600 international units of vitamin D, 1,000 mg of calcium, and at least 27 mg of iron, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

As for the other ingredients listed? There’s no hard and fast rule as to how much, say, biotin you should take on the reg, as “biotin and many of the other minerals quantities aren’t backed by scientific evidence when it comes to the absolute required quantities in a prenatal,” Dr McDonald explains.

So the question still remains: which prenatal vitamin is the right prenatal vitamin? While it’s different for everyone (for example, some people might have tummy troubles for one versus another), here are the top doctor-approved prenatal vitamins on the market:

1/Solgar Prenatal Nutrients

This balanced combination of vitamins, minerals, folic acid and antioxidants will help to support a happy pregnancy and a healthy developing baby.

Buy It

Solgar Prenatal Nutrients

R 217

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2/Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA

DHA is important for pregnancy as it provides improved immunity for moms, as well as supporting a healthy pregnancy.

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Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA

R 780

Buy It

3/Metagenics Wellness Essentials Pregnancy

This Metagenics supplement selection has been created especially for moms-to-be, providing all-round nutritional support from preconception all through pregnancy and during nursing.

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Metagenics Wellness Essentials Pregnancy

R 1 250

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4/Viridian Organic Folic Acid

A good quality folic acid supplement is a must-have for pregnant moms and women trying to conceive. This B vitamin boosts fertility, prevents anaemia, protects mom and baby against ailments, and significantly lowers the risk of birth defects (most notably neural tube defects).

Buy It

Viridian Organic Folic Acid

R 260.78

Buy It

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