Looking for the Best Prenatal Multivitamins?

See Our Comparison of over 100 Prenantal Vitamin Supplement Brands and Find the Right One for Your Needs


Best Prenatal MultivitaminsThe demands put on the bodies of pregnant women are truly astonishing. During this time, future mothers need not only to meet their own nutritional needs, but also those of their unborn child. While expecting moms need from 15 to 30 percent more calories per day, their need for certain vitamins and minerals increases by as much as 50 percent.1 In fact, the daily recommended intake (DRI) of 14 out of the 21 essential micronutrients are higher for women expecting a child.2 Since it is nearly impossible for pregnant women to meet their nutritional needs from diet alone, they need to take supplements that contain the vitamins and minerals essential for their health, as well as the health of their child.

What is the best prenatal multivitamin?

The table below provides a summary of the Effectiveness Scores of some of the best prenatal multivitamin brands available on the market. Any product with a score that exceeds 8.0 is considered to be "excellent". For best results, using a prenatal vitamin supplement with a score of 8.0 or above is strongly advised.

Table 1: List of the top prenatal vitamin supplements (sorted by effectiveness)
CompanyProductEffectivenessRank
Seeking HealthOptimal Prenatal 8.14 22
MetagenicsWellness Essentials Pregnancy 9.10 1
Rainbow LightComplete Prenatal System 8.87 3
Country LifeMaxi Pre-Natal Multi Vitamins 8.77 4
Source Naturals Mother's Choice Prenatal Multiple 8.69 5
Nutritional FrontierMulti Prenatal 8.67 6
Davinci LabUltimate Prenatal 8.59 7
Rainbow LightPrenatal One + DHA Packs 8.45 8
True Fit Vitamins Prenatal Plus 8.40 9
Pure Essence Labs Mother To Be Prenatal 8.39 10
Rainbow LightPrenatal Petite 8.37 11
VitabasePreNatal Plus 8.34 12
SolarayBaby-Me-Now 8.34 13
Biotics ResearchPre-Natal Packs 8.32 14
Trace Minerals ResearchLiquid Multi Vitamin-Mineral 8.28 15
Jarrow FormulasPreg-Natal + DHA Packets 8.25 16
MegaFoodBaby & Me 8.24 17
FoodFactsTriPrenatal Plus 8.22 18
MegaFood Baby & Me, Herb Free 8.19 19
Rainbow LightPrenatal One Multivitamin 8.16 20
SolgarPrenatal Nutrients 8.16 21
Douglas LaboratoriesPrenatal Pack 9.04 2
Innate Response FormulasBaby & Me Trimester I & II 8.03 23
GNCWomen's Prenatal Program 8.01 24
Douglas LaboratoriesPrenatal 8.00 25
PhysiologicsPre-Natal Formula 7.99 26
Puritan's PridePre-Natal Complex 7.99 27
Pure EncapsulationsPrenatal Nutrients 7.98 28
Buried TreasurePreNatal Plus DHA Complete 7.97 29
Biogenesis NutraceuticalsUltra Natal (Prenatal Vitamin) 7.96 30
Nature's Way Completia Prenatal Multivitamin 7.94 31
Integrative TherapeuticsPrenatal Forte 7.88 32
Anabolic LaboratoriesAved-Prenatal Multi 7.87 33
Thompson (Nutraceutical)Prenatal Formula 7.85 34
Nature's Way Prenatal Complete Multivitamin Formula 7.85 35
Vitalah Oxylent Prenatal Multivitamin Drink 7.84 36
Good n NaturalPre Natal Complex 7.84 37
SimilacPrental Multivitamin + DHA/Lutein 7.79 38
Vital NutrientsPreNatal Multi-Nutrients 7.78 39
Super Nutrition Simply One Prenatal 7.77 40
Deva Vegan Vitamins Prenatal Vitamins 7.76 41
Nature's PlusUltra Prenatal 7.75 42
Emerald Labs (Ultra Labs)Prenatal Multi Vit-A-Min Raw Whole-Food 7.75 43
BrainStrongPrenatal Multivitamin 7.74 44
MetagenicsFem Prenatal 7.73 45
Easy2Swallow VitaminsPrenatal Vitamins 7.72 46
GNCUltra Mega Green Prenatal 7.71 47
Nature's LifePrenatal Multiple Vit/Min 7.70 48
GNCWomen's Prenatal Formula with Iron 7.68 49
GNCWomen's Prenatal Formula with DHA 7.68 50
Rainbow LightCertified Organic Prenatal Multivitamin 7.67 51
Pure Life Prenatal Multi-Plus 7.65 52
Thorne ResearchBasic Prenatal 7.63 53
My Brest Friend Breastfeeding Essentials 7.62 54
Kal (Nutraceutical)Advanced Prenatal Formula 7.62 55
Nature's PlusSource Of Life Prenatal 7.56 56
KarunaMAXXI-Natal 7.53 57
Garden of LifeVitamin Code RAW Prenatal Multivitamin 7.48 58
CarlsonPreNatal Multiple with DHA 7.46 59
New ChapterPerfect Prenatal Multi Vitamin 7.45 60
NOW FoodsPrenatal + DHA 7.40 61
NewMarkPrenatal Synbiotic Nutrients 7.40 62
Design For HealthPrenatal Pro 7.38 63
Priority OnePre-Natal 7.37 64
Pure Essence LabsOne 'n' Only PreNatal Multiple 7.37 65
Kal (Nutraceutical)Vita Mom Prenatal Formula 7.32 66
Maxi Health Health One Prenatal 7.24 67
Nature's PlusPrenatal Woman's Dietary Supplement 7.21 68
TwinlabPre-Natal Care 7.21 69
Nature's PlusPrenatal Liquid Multi 7.20 70
Delta LabsMultivitamin Prenatal 7.18 71
Centrum Specialist Specialist Complete Multivitamin: Prenatal 7.16 72
Super Nutrition PreNatal Blend 2 7.10 73
Integrative therapeuticsClinical Nutrients Prenatal Formula 6.99 74
Enzymatic TherapyDoctor's Choice Prenatal Multivitamin 6.99 75
One A Day (Bayer)Women's Prenatal Multivitamin 6.86 76
Progressive LabsPrenatal Multiple 6.81 77
GNCUltra Mega Green Prenatal 6.80 78
Country Life Realfood Organics Prenatal Multivitamin 6.78 79
WalgreensPharmacist's Support Prenatal+DHA 6.77 80
Nature's SunshineNature's Prenatal 6.77 81
StuartPrenatal + DHA, Multivitamins 6.55 82
Olympian Labs Brand New Mother Premium Multivitamin 6.51 83
Kirkland Signature (Costco)Prenatal Advanced Care Vitamins/Minerals 6.51 84
Eclectic InstituteVita Natal 6.49 85
Lifetime ProfessionalPrenatal Formula 6.47 86
21st CenturyPrenatal Multivitamin + DHA 120 6.35 87
Perry (Kirkman's Group)Prenatal 6.34 88
Natures AidNatures Aid Prenatal Support 6.31 89
BellybarBellybar Prenatal Chewable 6.29 90
Nature's Blend (Swanson)Prenatal Formula Multivitamin 6.27 91
Nature MadePrenatal Multi + DHA 6.25 92
Nature's BountyPrenatal Vitamins 6.17 93
Nutrition NowPrenatal Gummy Vitamins  6.07 94
Vitafusion (Northwest)PreNatal Gummy Vitamins 5.99 95
21st CenturyPreNatal 5.96 96
Finest Nutrition (Walgreens)Prenatal Vitamin 5.89 97
Sundown NaturalsPrenatal, Vitamin & Mineral Formula 5.89 98
Body First (Allstarthealth)Prenatal Multi 5.81 99
StuartPrenatal Multivitamin/Multimineral 5.81 100
WalgreensPre-Natal Vitamin Tablets 5.81 101
RugbyPrenavite Prenatal Formula 5.80 102
Nature MadeMulti Prenatal, Tablets 5.75 103
Olympian LabsAspiring Mother Premium Multivitamin 5.67 104
Prescribed ChoicePre-Natal Multivitamin 5.50 105
PremamaPrenatal Vitamin Powdered Supplement Mix 5.41 106

While pregnant and breastfeeding women are often reminded that they are “eating for two,” this advice does not mean calorie intake; rather, it refers to the nutrients needed by both mother and child. When pregnant women do not get sufficient vitamins and minerals, they put their health and the health of their unborn child at risk. Some of the consequences of nutritional deficiencies for the mother and the unborn child include the following:

  • Anemia
  • Problems with wound healing
  • Low birth weight
  • Increased risk of preeclampsia and eclampsia
  • Premature birth
  • High risk of heart defects, neural tube defects, and urinary track abnormalities2

The effects of maternal malnutrition have lifelong consequences for the child. When a fetus does not get the vitamins and minerals it needs, the child has an increased risk for chronic health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and heart disease.3

Given the severe consequences of poor nutrition for both mother and child, women need to ensure the supplement they take during pregnancy has all the essential nutrients they need, as well as those required by their unborn child.

Which are the best prenatal vitamins?

When choosing a nutritional supplement to take during pregnancy, expectant mothers need to check to make sure it contains the following nutrients:

Folate

While the current Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) is 600 mcg per day, a Hungarian study of more than 5,400 pregnant women found that those who took supplements containing 800 mcg reduced their risk of having a child born with a neural tube defect by 90 percent. Folate is also essential for healthy fetal brain and spinal cord development and reducing the risk of heart defects and the development of a cleft palate.3,4,5

Calcium

If pregnant women do not have the recommended 1000 mg of calcium per day, the fetus will rob the mother's bones and teeth of this nutrient. Additionally, calcium deficiency during pregnancy is also associated with circulatory, muscle, and nervous system problems. The developing fetus also needs calcium for bone development.3.5

Vitamin D

The Vitamin D Council recommends that expectant mothers have 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily in order to avoid birth complications. The fetus also needs this nutrient to develop strong bones and teeth.3,5,6

Iron

The RDI for iron during pregnancy is 27 mg, which is double that needed by women who are not pregnant. The reason for this significant increase is that not only does the blood volume of expecting mothers double during pregnancy, but they also have to produce the blood supply for the growing fetus. 3, 4, 5

Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

The RDI of 1.4 mg for riboflavin is 27 percent higher during pregnancy than at any other time during a woman’s life. Pregnant women who develop a biotin deficiency are 4.7 times more likely to develop pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in the urine) and 5 percent of these women progress to fatal eclampsia.3

Biotin (vitamin B7)

Even though the RDI for biotin (30 mcg/day) is the same for future moms and women who are not pregnant, 30 percent of women develop a biotin deficiency while they are carrying their child. The developing fetus uses a significant amount of this vitamin for producing new cells and protein. Biotin is also necessary for healthy immune functioning for the mother and the newborn child.3

Vitamin A

The RDI for vitamin A during pregnancy is 2567 IU per day. This nutrient is essential for fetal cell growth, correct gene expression, and the development of healthy eyes, ears, limbs, and immune system. Vitamin A deficiency puts the expectant mother at risk for anemia.3

Omega 3 fatty acids

The recommended intake for omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy is 1.4 grams per day. This nutrient is essential for the development of the fetus’s central nervous system, as well as to prevent premature birth and low birth weight. Additionally, an Australian study found that the children whose mothers took omega 3 supplements during pregnancy scored higher on eye-hand coordination tests than children whose mothers did not take this supplement.7,8,9

Should you take supplements while breastfeeding?

When a new mom starts breastfeeding her newborn baby, her nutritional needs increase even more compared to when she was pregnant. Even though she needs 500 more calories than women who are not lactating, her nutritional needs are greater than what she can get from her diet alone. In the event a woman does not get the nutrients she needs, her body will strip what is needed from her system to produce breast milk.

Essential nutrients during lactation

Some women continue to take their prenatal supplements while they are breastfeeding, thinking they are getting all the vitamins and minerals they need. The reality is that they are not. In fact, there are significant differences in the micronutrients needs of expectant and breastfeeding mothers. For example, breastfeeding moms need 50 percent less iron than non-lactating women.10 On the other hand, their need for iodine goes up by 90 percent to support their child’s thyroid and nervous system development.11,12

Some other examples of the other essential micronutrients needed by breast feeding mothers include:

B vitamins

If a mother develops deficiencies in these nutrients, she is putting her child at risk for impairments in brain development, neurological disorders, and anemia.11

Vitamin A

A women needs 4333 IU of vitamin A when breastfeeding, which is 86 percent more than what she needs at other times of her life. Her child needs this nutrient for healthy eye development, as well as to decrease the risk of stunted growth, infection, and poor appetite.13,14

You can find the complete list of micronutrients you need while pregnant and lactating in the table below. The "difference" column indicates how much higher or lower the vitamin needs of pregnant or lactating women are, compared to when they are not pregnant.

Table 2: RDIs for Pregnant and Lactating Women
Nutrient Unit Not Pregnant Pregnant Difference Lactating Difference
Vitamin A IU 2333 2567 10% 4333 86%
Vitamin C mg 75 85 13% 120 60%
Vitamin D IU 600 600 0% 600 0%
Vitamin E IU 22 22 0% 28 27%
Vitamin K mcg 90 90 0% 90 0%
Thiamin mg 1.1 1.4 27% 1.4 27%
Riboflavin mg 1.1 1.4 27% 1.6 45%
Niacin mg 14 18 29% 17 21%
Vitamin B6 mg 1.3 1.9 46% 2 54%
Folate mcg 400 600 50% 500 25%
Vitamin B12 mcg 2.4 2.6 8% 2.8 17%
Panto. Acid mg 5 6 20% 7 40%
Biotin mcg 30 30 0% 35 17%
Calcium mg 1000 1000 0% 1000 0%
Chromium mcg 25 30 20% 45 80%
Copper mcg 900 1000 11% 1300 44%
Iodine mcg 150 220 47% 290 93%
Iron mg 18 27 50% 9 -50%
Magnesium mg 320 350 9% 310 -3%
Manganese mg 1.8 2 11% 2.6 44%
Molybdenum mcg 45 50 11% 50 11%
Selenium mcg 55 60 9% 70 27%
Zinc mg 8 11 38% 12 50%
Potassium g 4.7 4.7 0% 5.1 9%

Choosing a supplement

Given the importance of sound nutrition for both pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, it is essential that you select a high quality supplement. Table1 presented above provides a good summary of the best prenatal vitamin supplements available on the market today.

References

1 The U.S. National Library of Medicine Eating right during pregnancy
2 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Use of dietary supplements by pregnant and lactating women
3 Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Needs During Pregnancy and Lactation
4 United States Department of Agriculture Why take a prenatal supplement?
5 The Mayo Clinic Pregnancy diet: Focus on these essential nutrients
6 Vitamin D Council Vitamin D during pregnancy and breastfeeding
7 Linus Pauling Institute Essential Fatty Acids: Intake Recommendations
8 Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation During Pregnancy
9 American College of Nurse-Midwives Omega-3 Fatty Acids During Pregnancy
10 Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Needs During Pregnancy and Lactation
11 US National Library of Medicine Iodine nutrition and breast feeding
12 Science Daily Critical need for iodine supplements during pregnancy and while nursing
13 Pacific Health Dialog Vitamin A in Breast Milk
14 Rehydration Project Breastmilk: A Critical Source of Vitamin A for Infants and Young Children

 

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