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Look for These 4 Things in a Prenatal Multivitamin

4 min read

For the best prenatal vitamin, look for these four things.
For the best prenatal vitamin, look for these four things.

Sifting through dozens of prenatal multivitamins in search of the right one is a lot to ask, especially when you’re considering having a baby. (Can we agree that growing a human takes up enough bandwidth as it is?)

The good news is that once you know what to look for in an ideal prenatal multivitamin—while also consulting with your doctor, of course—it’s a lot easier to narrow things down. We help you take out some of the guesswork below.

Look for: a delayed-release capsule design

Morning sickness is annoying enough, so let’s try to take vitamin-related stomach irritation out of the equation, shall we? That starts with taking a closer look at your capsule: Some multis tend to break down earlier, in more sensitive areas of the stomach, which means that your prenatal vitamin might start to mingle with harsh stomach acids. That could impact nutrient absorption and burp-backs. Not exactly a winning combo.

Instead, look for a delayed-release capsule, which is designed to dissolve later, in your small intestine. That way you’ll hopefully feel a little better.*

Look for: 12 key nutrients

In our opinion, the whole point of a prenatal is to take a lot of the guesswork out of supporting your pregnancy. Your diet is a really important place to start, but the ideal prenatal multivitamins will help fill the gaps, since it can be hard to get everything you need from food alone. According to our research, there are 12 nutrients to ideally look for in a prenatal multivitamin.*

These nutrients help support functions from brain health to DNA methylation, but there are a few heroes worth calling out here. Omega-3, for example, is a key player in your baby’s developing brain, and choline also lends support there. Your iodine needs also increase almost double during pregnancy. So many of us find it tough to get enough vitamin D without supplementation. You’ll find all of those nutrients—plus eight others—in our Essential Prenatal.*

Look for: Ingredients in absorbable forms

Not all nutrient forms are created equal. It can be tricky for our bodies to make the most of an ingredient, especially when variations in our DNA can come into play.

Want an example? Folate is doctor-recommended for pregnancy, since it helps support neural tube development (particularly in those crucial first weeks after conception).* But many prenatal vitamins offer a synthetic form, folic acid, which isn’t always an ideal form of the nutrient: In fact, roughly one-third of women have a genetic variation that can make it difficult to efficiently utilize folic acid.*

MTHF is an ideal form, since it’s a form of folate that’s been shown to be bioavailable—even if you have that MTHFR gene variation. And that's the form of folate that we use in our Essential Prenatal.*

Look for: clean, traceable ingredients

It might sound crazy, but what’s not in your prenatal multivitamin is almost as important as what is. For starters, you’ll want to ensure that you’re not overdoing it on unnecessary nutrients or nutrient dosages—nutrient overflow is definitely a thing, and getting too much of one thing can impact the absorption of another. We recommend looking for the 12 nutrients mentioned above, which can help fill nutrient gaps in your diet.*

Something else to skip? Weird additives that have no place in a multivitamin. While we believe that you always have the right to know what you’re putting in your body (it's part of our pledge to be Made Traceable), we also know that it likely feels that much more important when you're expecting—and that means avoiding shady things like colorants, mystery filler ingredients, and common allergens. And if you're vegan, you should never have to compromise on your prenatal. (For the record, our Essential Prenatal is vegan and gluten-free.)*

The bottom line: There's a lot to consider at the start of your pregnancy, so we recommend choosing a prenatal multivitamin that will help remove a lot of that guesswork.*

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