The Best Prenatal Vitamins – 2019 Reviews

Have you just found out you’re expecting, and looking for the perfect prenatal vitamin for you and your bump? In search of a formula that fits your lifestyle, beliefs, and nutrition needs?

Like anything else in pregnancy, choosing a prenatal vitamin can be overwhelming. You just want the best for your baby. But, you need to decide on a prenatal fast, so you and your baby can get the proper nutrients needed for optimal growth and development.

In this post, we will talk about why taking a prenatal is so important and cover 8 of the top prenatal vitamins you can buy in 2019. We will also talk about when you should start and stop taking prenatals and if you can expect any side effects.

**This post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure here

Quick Comparison 

Our Top Prenatal Vitamin Picks for 2019

1. Best with DHA: Zahler Prenatal + DHA

DHA, Iron, and Travel-Friendly Packaging 

Folic acid, No Probiotics, and Has a Slight Fishy Smell/Taste

Check price on Amazon 

2. Best with Iron: Rainbow Light Prenatal One

Iron, Probiotics, and Digestive Enzymes 

Folic acid, Vitamin D2 instead of D3, No DHA

Check price on Amazon

3. Best Gummy: SmartyPants Prenatal 

Non-GMO, DHA, Methylfolate, Vitamin D3

No Iron or Probiotics 

Check price on Amazon

4. Best Plant Based (Vegan): Mama Bird AM/PM

Probiotics, Digestive Enzymes, and Methylfolate 

No DHA, Iron, or Iodine 

Check price on Amazon

5. Best Organic: Garden of Life mykind Organics Prenatal 

Certified Organic, Vegan, Folate, Iron, and Vitamin D3 

No DHA or Probiotics 

Check price on Amazon

6. Best with Folate: Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal

Certified Organic, Folate, Iron, and Probiotics 

No DHA, Have to Take 3X Daily

Check price on Amazon

7. Best Liquid: Pink Stork Foundation

Iron, Prebiotics, Folate, Vitamin D3

No DHA, Not the greatest taste 

Check price on Amazon

8. Best DHA Supplement: Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA 

A great supplement to use in conjunction with prenatals that lack DHA 

Check price on Amazon

Why are Prenatal Vitamins So Important? 

Are you thinking “Can’t I just take a “normal” multivitamin?” “Why is taking a prenatal vitamin so important?”

Diet alone is usually not enough during this delicate time. You will need additional supplementation to support your growing baby and yourself. Prenatal vitamins have essential nutrients and dosages in them that you can’t often find in a women’s multivitamin. Your prenatal vitamin provides you with:

  • B Vitamins: Your energy levels are likely to tank during pregnancy, as you’re now supporting two bodies instead of one. Help maintain your energy by getting plenty of B vitamins in your prenatal.
  • Folic Acid/Folate: Folate or folic acid is crucial during pregnancy, as it promotes healthy brain and spine development and helps prevents a birth defect called spina bifida. Look for a prenatal with 600-800mcg of folate of folic acid (source).
  • Vitamin D: To supports your mood during pregnancy and postpartum, you will need to get plenty of vitamin D. Vitamin D also helps boost the immune system and promotes healthy bone growth. A recent study has even shown that taking 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily can greatly reduce your chances of preterm labor and infections.
  • Iron: Your body uses iron to make more blood for you and your baby during pregnancy, so you need to be sure to try and get at least 27mg a day to help prevent pregnancy anemia (source).
  • DHA: Healthy DHA levels during pregnancy and breastfeeding, support optimal brain and vision development for your baby. It also helps support your mood during and after pregnancy. If your prenatal multivitamin doesn’t have DHA in it, make sure you are taking a DHA supplement on top of it.

 

The Best Prenatal Vitamins to Buy in 2019

Now, that you know what to look for in a prenatal vitamin, it’s time to start shopping around for one that works best for you and your bump. All vitamins listed below are synthetic-free and made with ingredients found in nature.

The Best Prenatal Vitamins with DHA

Zahler Prenatal + DHA

Zahler Prenatal contains 25 key vitamins and minerals plus 300mg of DHA to support your baby’s brain development and nervous system. They come in a soft gel format that digests and absorbs more quickly and easier than a tablet. The dose is spread out by taking one capsule twice daily, so it’s not as hard on your stomach.

Each box comes with individually packaged vitamins in a strip of 10 (2 rows of 5). Some moms love this convenient packaging, as they can easily pack them in their purse without having to carry around a pill box or entire bottle.

Black spots have been reported to appear on the pills, but the manufacturer assures that it’s from a reaction between the vitamin c, iron, and moisture.  These prenatals are safe to take as long as they are within the expiration date and stored properly.

Zahler has also seemed to change their formulation within the last year, and now contains folic acid instead of folate. This means that people with MTHFR gene mutations cannot benefit from it, as they cannot convert folic acid into its usable folate form.

Pros: 

  • Gentle on the stomach
  • Travel-friendly packaging
  • Made in the USA
  • Third party tested for purity and potency

Cons: 

  • No probiotics
  • Not MTHFR friendly
  • Some moms-to-be report a fishy smell/taste
  • Black spots can appear if not stored properly

The Best Prenatal Vitamins with Iron

Rainbow Light

This food based prenatal has the right amount of vitamins A, C, D2, and iron for you and your growing baby. It’s gentle on the stomach and has an ample dose of probiotics for gut health for both you and your baby. Plus, you only have to remember to take one tablet daily.

Rainbow Light Prenatal is filled with superfoods, like spirulina, ginger, red raspberry, and enzymes for optimal digestion and nourishment. The formulation used is energizing, non-constipating, and great for postpartum hair growth.

However, this prenatal does contain vitamin D2, instead of the more absorbable D3. It also contains folic acid instead of folate, which is an issue if you have the MTHFR gene mutation.

Pros: 

  • Double the iron of most prenatals
  • Contain probiotics
  • Vegan and gluten free
  • Ingredients tested for purity
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Vitamin D2 instead of D3
  • Not MTHFR friendly
  • Pills are rather large

The Best Gummy Prenatal Vitamins

SmartyPants

Smarty Pants Prenatals has the nutrition you and your baby need packed in yummy chewable gummies. They’re free of synthetic colors and artificial flavors and sweeteners.

They use the more absorbable vitamin D3 for bone and immune health and iodine for healthy nervous system and brain development. Smarty Pants is a great choice for those with the MTHFR gene mutation, as they use Methlyfolate instead of folic acid.

There’s no need to take an additional DHA supplement with these, as Smarty Pants prenatal has sustainably sourced fish oil for a perfect balance of DHA and EPA. However, like most gummies, the formula does lack iron, so you will need to either eat lots of iron-rich foods or find an iron supplement that works for you.

You can find Smarty Pants Prenatal at most Targets, but I have noticed they’re almost always cheaper on Amazon.  They also have an organic formula which contains probiotics. 

Pros: 

  • MTHFR friendly
  • Contains DHA
  • Non-GMO
  • Great taste
  • Readily available at local retailers

Cons:

  • Have to take 6 a day
  • No iron
  • A bit pricey

The Best Plant-Based (Vegan) Prenatal Vitamins

Mama Bird Am/PM

Mama Bird AM/PM is a plant-based prenatal that only uses the methylfolated forms of vitamins, so there’s zero waste and it’s MTHFR gene friendly. It’s also comprised of probiotics, digestive enzymes, and an organic herbal blend to help ease morning sickness symptoms. This formula is so gentle, it can even be taken on an empty stomach.

The dose comes in a twice a day formulation to help you maintain your energy levels. Plus, the pills are easy to swallow.

However, this prenatal is free of iron, iodine, and DHA, so you will need to find separate sources to fulfill those requirements.

Mama Bird Prenatal does also come in a once daily formulation. if you don’t like having to remember to them twice a day. The once daily formula also includes iron and iodine.

Pros:

  • Most absorbable form of vitamins
  • Probiotics and digestive enzymes
  • MTHFR friendly
  • Vegan
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • No DHA
  • No iron
  • A bit pricey

The Best Organic Prenatal Vitamins

Garden of Life mykind Organics

Garden of Life’s my kind Organics Prenatal is made with nutritious organic whole foods, perfect for expecting and nursing mothers. It’s a vegan formula with folate to support neural tube development and iron to help prevent anemia. It also has organic ginger and lemon peel to help fight morning sickness.

You only have to remember to take one tablet daily, but the pill is quite large for some moms-to-be. However, this prenatal is also available in a gummy form if the pills are too hard to swallow.

This organic prenatal comes at an affordable price, and most Targets seem to carry it now. If you don’t have a Target near you, you can always purchase off Amazon.

Pros:

  • Certified organic
  • Vegan
  • Iron
  • MTHFR friendly
  • Readily available at local retailers

Cons: 

  • No DHA
  • No probiotics
  • Some moms don’t like that Garden of Life was bought out by Nestle

The Best Prenatal Vitamins with Folate

Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal

Vitamin Code by Garden of Life is a complete prenatal made from RAW whole foods. It’s the smart choice for pre-conception, pregnancy, and breastfeeding, and is made from 23 fruits and veggies.

It’s perfect for those with the MTHFR gene mutation as it contains folate instead of folic acid. It even includes a digestive comfort blend and contains probiotics, ginger, and zinc.

This prenatal also has a higher amount of Vitamin D compared to similar brands, which is important because research by the American Pregnancy Association (APA) shows that over half the population is deficient, including those expecting. Vitamin Code gives you a natural way to boost your levels and support your mood and baby’s development.

Pros: 

  • Made strictly with whole foods
  • Contains iron and probiotics
  • Vegetarian and gluten-free
  • MTHFR friendly

Cons: 

  • Some moms don’t like that Garden of Life was bought out by Nestle
  • Have to take it three times a day
  • No DHA

The Best Liquid Prenatal Vitamins

The Pink Stork Foundation


If you hate swallowing pills and can’t stand the sugar that tends to come with gummies, then this liquid prenatal might be the perfect option. Liquid vitamins have even been shown to have 78% better absorption than pills and capsules.

The Pink Stork Foundation is an organic, whole food, non-GMO, and vegetarian liquid prenatal. It’s gluten and sugar free, and an easy, fast way to get your essential nutrients. It includes folate, iron, and prebiotic fiber.  However, there is no DHA included, so you will need to take an additional DHA supplement.

This liquid prenatal is also a great choice for those suffering with morning sickness. You can even mix it with juice if you still can’t manage to stomach it, and it will still maintain its effectiveness.

Pro-tip: Keep it refrigerated to preserve freshness and better the taste.

Pros:

  • Organic
  • Free of sugar, gluten and GMOs.
  • Don’t have to stomach horse pills or gel caps
  • Better absorption than pills and gummies
  • MTHFR friendly

Cons:

  • No DHA
  • Packaged in plastic
  • Taste isn’t fantastic: many moms report that it tastes like a Flinstone Vitamin
  • Not readily available at larger retailers

The Best Prenatal DHA Supplement

Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA

Nordic Naturals is the perfect addition to a comprehensive prenatal vitamin. This additional supplement provides a clean, natural source of Omega-3 DHA, which is critical for your baby’s visual and cognitive development It also includes a daily dose of vitamin D3 which promotes strong bones and mood support, and has also been shown to be helpful for absorption.

Each dose is encapsulated in olive oil, instead of canola and other impure oils like most DHA supplements. The pills are small and easy to swallow, and you only have to take 2 a day.  Plus, there’s no fishy smell or aftertaste.

This DHA supplement is third party tested for its purity and heavy metals. In fact, Nordic Naturals is such high quality, it’s even been named the official omega-3 of the American Pregnancy Association for its exceptionally pure fish oil.

Pros: 

  • No fishy odor or taste
  • Pure triglyceride form for optimal absorption
  • Easy to swallow capsules
  • Exceeds strictest quality standards
  • Sustainably sourced

Cons: 

  • A bit pricey
  • Some moms-to-be aren’t a fan of the strawberry flavor
  • Have to take 2 a day

My Favorite Prenatal Vitamins Are…

SmartyPants Gummies

Any kind of vitamin with iron in it just made me sick as a dog. No matter if I had eaten it with food or not. So, I opted for these gummies, which tasted great and were gentle on my stomach. To make sure I got plenty of iron, I just made sure to eat plenty of iron-rich food and drank red raspberry leaf tea during my third trimester.

When Should I Start Taking a Prenatal Vitamin? 

It’s always best to start taking a prenatal vitamin before you conceive, so your baby can get all the benefits straight from the start. In fact, taking folic acid for at least one month before conception has shown to reduce the risk of neural-tube defects, such as spina bifida, by up to 70 percent (source).

Of course, not all births are planned and well prepared for. If you’re pregnancy is a new surprise, just start taking one as soon as possible. Of course, it’s always best to consult with your physician before starting any kind of supplement or medication during pregnancy, so don’t be afraid to call and discuss your options with your OB or midwife.

When Should I Stop Taking My Prenatal Vitamins? 

Your prenatal vitamins can be beneficial even after you’ve given birth. If you’re breastfeeding, you might not be supporting a baby inside of you anymore, but you are still growing another human being with your own body. It’s best to continue your prenatals as long as your breastfeeding, so you and your baby can both keep getting many essential nutrients, like folate, calcium, and iron.

Even if you’re not nursing, taking your prenatal vitamin for at least a few months after you deliver isn’t such a bad idea. It can help you restore iron that was depleted during and after birth and provide you with energy to keep up with your new sleep (or lack of) routine.

There are even some physicians out there that recommend taking prenatal vitamins throughout all of your childbearing years, in the off chance that you just might get pregnant. But again, it’s always best to consult your physician to see what they recommend for you.

Are There Any Side Effects of Prenatal Vitamins? 

Just like anything else, there’s always the potential of side effects with prenatal vitamins. Everyone’s body reacts differently to various herbs, foods, and fillers, so it’s important to remember that what works for one, may not work for you.

You might have to try a few different prenatals to find which one works best for you. You could experience some side effects along the way, such as:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Change in urine color or odor 

Certain things in your prenatal could be causing these reactions, such as the iron and B vitamins. They might be even harmless side effects, but it’s never a bad idea to speak with your doctor about how your body is reacting.

Nutrition for Your Bump

Taking prenatals before, during, and after pregnancy can greatly benefit you and your baby. They contain key ingredients which help prevent birth defects and promote optimal development. They also provide key nourishment to help mom-to-be keep up with those crazy pregnancy symptoms.

You need a prenatal with B vitamins, iron, folate/folic acid, vitamin D, and DHA. There are several options on the market right now that can meet your needs and are completely free of synthetic fillers and flavors. With a little digging and trial, you can find the perfect prenatal for you and your bump.

What About You?

Which prenatal vitamins did you decide on? Did you use any of the prenatals in this post? Share which prenatal vitamins worked best for you in the comments below and be sure to share this post with other expecting moms.

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