Prenatal vitamins are very important for you and your baby. Women should start taking a prenatal vitamin before pregnancy to get the most benefit.
There are so many choices available for women looking for a “good” prenatal vitamin. Many women believe a prescription vitamin is the best option; however, over-the-counter (OTC) prenatal vitamins can be a very cost-effective alternative to consider.
Choosing a Prenatal Vitamin
When shopping for a prenatal vitamin, here are a few things to look for. Your OTC prenatal vitamin should include a minimum of:
- Iodine 150mcg
- Iron 25-65mg
- Folate 0.6mg
- Vitamin A (no more than 5000mg)
- Calcium 200-250mg if your diet includes dairy or 1000-2000mg if you don’t eat dairy
In addition to a prenatal vitamin, we would like to suggest you take these supplements:
- Vitamin D3 1000-2000IU per day
- DHA (fish oil) 200mg per day (some prenatal vitamins have DHA, so an additional supplement may not be needed)
Recommended OTC Prenatal Vitamins
- One-A-Day Prenatal with DHA
- GNC Prenatal Formula with Iron
- Centrum Specialist Prenatal with DHA
- Rainbow Light “Complete Prenatal System” or “Prenatal One Multivitamin”
- BrainStrong Prenatal with DHA
Many women would like a chewable vitamin. “Gummy” vitamins usually won’t cut it; they don’t have enough of the iron, iodine, and other things you need. Chewable vitamins (like Children’s Flintstones Complete) can often be used; however, you should take 2 per day during pregnancy. Before taking a gummy or children’s formula, check the label and make sure it contains the necessary vitamins and minerals listed above.
One final note: Vitamins are very important, but a healthy, balanced diet is a must too! Eat wholesome, fresh foods whenever possible. And plan to eat between 40-60 grams of protein per day.