What are the best prenatal vitamins for me to buy?

Gentle birth minnesota

This week I dove into the world of prenatals after yet another client asked “What are the best prenatal vitamins?” After all, the number of options can be overwhelming. We used to tell women to buy a generic prenatal. “We aren’t really sure that taking them makes much of a difference.” That was what research evidence indicated about 10+ years ago. But as with all things, scientific knowledge about the importance of nutrition and food has advanced by leaps and bounds.

Research now indicates that some supplements may be crucial to health and disease prevention. Our food consumption and quality has changed significantly, and our exposure to environmental toxins increased.

Image of Rainbow Light Prenatal One, best prenatal vitamins

Best Prenatal Vitamins

After pouring over the labels of many vitamins, my current favorite is Prenatal One by Rainbow Light. It is stocked by Target, Amazon, and most local co-ops, and offers quality ingredients at a reasonable price ($8-9/month). It contains adequate B vitamins, iron, folic acid, iodine, and a smidge of choline, all considered essentials during pregnancy and lactation. Downsides: it has the less bioavailable form of vitamin D (ergocalciferol), non-methylated folate, and little calcium. Unfortunately, it is estimated that up to 40% of people cannot metabolize folic acid adequately due to a gene variant (MTHFR). And folate is crucial for healthy fetal development in the first trimester of pregnancy. Because Prenatal One is food based, and despite its short comings, this is the best prenatal vitamin I have found!

While I also like the Garden of Life and MegaFoods products, they tend to be much more costly. They also add proprietary food blends, which make the ingredient list look fancy, but don’t have a meaningful impact on your health. Pixie dust really.

The second runner up is Deva Vegan Prenatal ($5-6/month), which has the same ingredients as Prenatal One, with the exception of the more bioavailable form of vitamin D (cholecalciferol). Deva is one of the best prenatal vitamins, and the most affordable to boot!

Image of Deva Vegan Prenatal Vitamins, best prenatal vitamins

Best Gummy Prenatal

For those who cannot swallow pills, Smarty Pants Prenatal Complete gummies ($28/month) may be your best bet. But eating gummies comes at a price; 50 calories of added sugar per day + a MUCH higher cost. 50 calories is the equivalent of 3+ teaspoons of sugar, potentially detrimental for folks with dental problems, obesity, or insulin resistance. Girl, you have to walk half a mile to burn 50 calories! In the grand scheme of things, adding sugar to your diet for 9 months in order to get proper nutrients doesn’t make sense. Plus, Smarty Pants skimps a bit on the B vitamins and does not contain any calcium or iron, both of which are in high demand while growing a baby. The edge that Smarty Pants does have is the use of methylated folate (remember the MTHFRs above). So why not consider it for at least 1-2 months prior to pregnancy and into your 8th week, then switch to Rainbow Light or Deva brands?

Image of Smarty Pants Prenatal Complete, best prenatal vitamins

In the future, I look forward to new products that include most of the things pregnant folks need, in optimal amounts, leaving out the unicorns, rainbows, and sugar. You don’t have to bust the bank to find the best prenatal vitamins for you. In the meantime, I ask my prenatal clients when they start care, “which supplements are you taking?” and “can you take a picture of the ingredients for me?” We fill in gaps from there.

Share:

Families Thrive Midwives

I loved the ease and convenience of using Thrive’s telehealth option. My daughter and I had developed a nasty case of thrush and with three kids and a busy schedule, I had no time to travel to an appointment to get it taken care of. Not to mention, it was a Saturday! In about 10 minutes, Kari had asked me the necessary questions, diagnosed the problem and had a prescription sent to my local pharmacy. It could not possibly have been easier. Thrive definitely has a patient for life!

−Catherine

As a doula practicing for 20 years, I can attest that the physical, emotional, informational and midwifery care that Kari provides is truly phenomenal. She cares so deeply about the families that she serves, which is evident in the countless births I have attended with her. From the moment you meet Kari, her knowledge about and trust in normal birth is infectious. On top of all of that she has an amazing sense of humor! As a doula, it is a joy to watch her hold space for all of the fortunate families that have entrusted her with their care.

−Jessie, doula

When I think about who I trust to deliver my baby, my mind automatically says, Kari. In 2015 I delivered my first son in a local hospital, and the tender care and attention I received from Kari during labor, delivery and post postpartum, I knew I wouldn’t be able to find in anyone else. The amount of respect you have between the boundaries of culture and medicine manifests itself in your practice, as I witnessed it during my first delivery. You place your patients wants and needs before yours. You are there any time of the day or night via phone, email or text message. During the hard times of struggle and when my life caused me stress, I turned to you to help me get back on track to improve or maintain my health. When I was going through my miscarriage, I trusted in your expertise and wisdom. Even though I was far away from home when it occurred, you made me feel comforted as I knew you were just one call away. When I think of you Kari, it brings tears to my eyes to have known such a wonderful person and knowing my family trust you whole heartily. What I can say about you is endless. Thank you for all you do.

−Mai

I have known and practiced with Kari for a long time, and trust her implicitly to provide top-notch care for her patients. She stays current in evolving research regarding women’s health and demonstrates a growing knowledge base regarding use of supplements and herbal therapies. Kari is also really innovative in providing care in low resource settings, such as international health.

−Robyn, MD

Kari’s care is exceptional! Not only does she provide stellar whole woman care, she listens and truly forms a bond with each of her clients. Never feel like a number or meet an impersonal provider again. Kari takes the time to get to know you and your family’s health needs and provides you with the tools and knowledge to make well-informed and practical health choices. Thank you, Kari, for being my advocate!

−Suzanne

Kari provides a one-of-a-kind blend of compassion, attention to detail and well researched medical knowledge. She believes strongly that pregnancy and birth is a natural process for most women, recommending both natural remedies and evidence-based Western medicine when it was indicated.

−Melisa

I am so impressed by how Kari keeps up with current research. You can rest assured that the care you get at Thrive will be rooted in the latest evidence and tailored to your needs. Kari is a strong communicator and will be your advocate. I will gladly refer families seeking home birth, gynecological care, and intrauterine insemination to Thrive Midwives.

−Emily, nurse-midwife

Kari is extremely knowledgeable, her clinical judgment and decision making are spot on, she is easy to talk to, and has a comforting and peaceful presence.

−Christy

Kari offers the perfect balance of medical knowledge and personal care, while also trusting a woman’s body and addressing overall wellbeing. She believes that women’s bodies know what they’re doing. She helps you believe that, too.

−Maggie