What to Look for in a Prenatal Vitamin

You’ve heard many times that you need to take a prenatal vitamin, but there are so many different ones on the store shelves—how do you know which one to choose? Let’s find out what you should look for in a prenatal vitamin.

1. It should say “prenatal vitamin.”

This might seem obvious, but you do need to be sure that you’re buying a multivitamin that’s designed for expectant moms. That’s because prenatal vitamins usually contain more iron and folic acid than other multivitamins, both of which are vital to your baby’s growth and development.

2. It has a seal of approval.

This is optional for the companies that make vitamins, but receiving a seal of approval from an independent certification group can help to verify product safety and quality. The most common certifiers are:

  • United States Pharmacopeia (USP)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
  • Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG)
  • Consumer Lab

3. It contains at least these vitamins and minerals:

  • 400-600 mcg folic acid/folate
  • 27mg iron
  • 200mcg iodine
  • 2mg vitamin B6
  • 2.6 mcg vitamin B12
  • No more than 10,000 IU of vitamin A, and it’s best if this nutrient comes from beta-carotene, rather than retinol
  • 600 IU vitamin D
  • 15mg zinc
  • 2mg copper
  • 85mcg vitamin C

4. You can actually swallow it.

It doesn’t matter how great your prenatal vitamin is if you can’t choke it down. If your gag reflex is an issue, look for a vitamin that doesn’t contain calcium—this one nutrient can sometimes double the size of a multivitamin. Just be sure that you get plenty of calcium from other sources. Another thing to look for is a gel (or similar) coating, which makes the vitamin easier to swallow, or choose a gummy version.

For help finding the right doctor, visit Baycare.org/Doctors.