This is the third article of a three part series on prenatal vitamins.
- Part One: Prescription vs Over The Counter Prenatal Vitamins.
- Part Two: 9 Essential Ingredients in Prenatal Vitamins.
- Part Three: In this article I review individual prenatal vitamin brands. I give you my honest recommendations of which brands are the best prenatal vitamins.
If you are asking yourself, “what are prenatal vitamins”, they are daily vitamins that contain folic acid or folate, which is explained here: 9 Essential Ingredients in Prenatal Vitamins.
Honest Company’s Prenatal Once Daily (link)
Pros: This is the prenatal vitamin I take. The main reason I chose this vitamin is because it has L-Methylfolate. Most prenatal vitamins contain folic acid. Some contain folate. And very few contain L-methylfolate. The body is best able to absorb methyl0folate. To find out more about folate, check out my article on the MTHFR mutation. This vitamin has the recommended dose of iron, iodine, and vitamin D3. Honest Company’s prenatals do contain an organic fruit and vegetable blend, which is close enough to be organic for me.
Cons: Honest Company’s prenatal vitamin only contains 200mg of calcium. If you remember from my previous post, the recommended daily intake of calcium is 1000mg.
Price: These vitamins cost $0.67 per day.
SmartyPants Prenatals (link)
Pros: These are gummy vitamins which some people find easier on the stomach and they taste like candy! It has methylfolate, the active form of folate. It also contains vitamin D3 and iodine. To learn more about gummy vitamins, check out my article found here.
Cons: It has no iron or calcium and essentially no choline or DHA. So if you take Smarty Pants vitamins you should be sure to either get iron, calcium, choline and DHA from your diet or take a few supplements.
The other thing to know is that the directions state to take 6 vitamins a day! That is a lot of gummies.
Price: They cost about $0.63 per day, which isn’t bad considering that is for 6 gummies.
Actif Organic Prenatal Vitamin (link)
Pros: This prenatal vitamin is completely organic. It also contains methyl-folate, 200mg of DHA, and probiotics to aid with digestion. It even contains 30mg of iron which is the daily recommended amount of iron and 150mg of Iodine! I had a hard time deciding between Actif and Honest Co. Both are great options!
Cons: Although it contains Vitamin D, it contains Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) which is not as readily absorbed as D3. It also does not contain any Choline, so you would need to take an additional choline supplement. While it does contain some Calcium, it only contains 200mg of Calcium and the recommended daily intake of 1000mg of Calcium.
Price: A bottle of 90 softgels costs $42.50 which comes out to less than $0.50 per day making it the most affordable recommended option on my list.
Mama Bird AM/PM (link)
Pros: Mama Bird contains methylfolate. It also contains 300mg of Choline. With this prenatal vitamin you wouldn’t need an additional choline supplement.
Cons: Mama Bird AM/PM only contains 100mg of Calcium. Another major con is that they recently changed the formula. Now this vitamin has no iodine and iron, which are absolutely essential in pregnancy. Although you do not need to take an additional choline supplement you will need to take an iron supplement, such as Floradix. Also, make sure you remember to take this vitamin twice a day.
Price: For now, these cost about $1.00 per day.
Garden of Life mykind Organic Once Daily Prenatal Vitamin (link)
Pros: These prenatal vitamins are organic and VEGAN! They contain folate, Vitamin D3, iron and iodine. They are a once daily vitamin. Garden of Life also makes a “Raw” product, but that vitamin you need to take 3 times a day. I can barely remember to take my prenatal vitamin once a day.
Cons: These vitamins do not contain any Calcium, Choline or DHA. They also only contain 5mg of Zinc.
Price: 90 tablets costs $68, making these vitamins $0.76/day.
Most Popular (But NOT necessarily the best)
Rainbow Light Prenatal One is the vitamin I started with. New Chapter and Rainbow Light are the most popular prenatal vitamins on Amazon. It also contains an organic fruit and vegetable blend. However, I later came to learn it has many flaws.
First, it contains folic acid instead of folate or methylfolate. Secondly, it contains D2, which is not absorbed as well as D3. The vitamin A is not all in the beta-carotene form. It is split between two forms and doesn’t list what percentage of the vitamin A comes from what source. Finally, it only contains 50mg of choline, 200mg of calcium and no DHA. They do sell a separate DHA supplement, which contains a small amount of choline. However, the price is pretty reasonable. These Rainbow Light Vitamins come out to about $0.33 per pill and you only need to take it once daily.
This is one of the most popular prenatal vitamins on Amazon. So I feel it is necessary to review this one as well. First, this prenatal vitamin is 3 tablets per day. Fortunately, you can take all three tablets at once in the morning. Secondly, the folate is listed as “folate as folic acid from culture media”. I’m not sure what this means, but it sounds like folic acid.
New Chapter is also essentially missing calcium, choline and DHA. So you would need to supplement a lot with this prenatal vitamin, and it is not cheap considering. Although the tablets are $0.25, remember you need to take 3 per day. So this vitamin ends up costing $0.75 per day.
Any Other Brand
In order to find the best prenatal vitamins for you, you need to know what to look for. Whenever you are evaluating a prenatal vitamin, use this cheat sheet to decide if it has everything you are looking for.
Even though you might be overwhelmed choosing one of these options, just remember that any prenatal vitamin is better than nothing. I personally take Honest Company’s Prenatal Once Daily because I find it to be the best prenatal vitamin currently available. However, I would feel comfortable taking any of the 5 recommended products in this article.