Pregnancy + Parenthood

Look for These 4 Things in a Prenatal Multivitamin

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

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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 multivitamin-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 multivitamin 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 the 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 multivitamin 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 key 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 a baby’s developing brain, and choline also lends support there. 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. (Need some tips on narrowing down the prenatal pool? We’ve got plenty.)*

Look for: Key nutrients in absorbable forms

Not all nutrient forms are created equal. It can be tricky for our bodies to make the most of a nutrient, 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).* Many prenatal multivitamins offer a synthetic form, folic acid, which isn’t always an ideal form of the nutrient: In fact, roughly one-third of people have a genetic variation that can make it difficult to efficiently utilize folic acid.*

5-MTHF is a cell-identical form, since it’s a form of folate that’s been shown to be bioavailable—even with 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 key nutrients mentioned above, which can help fill nutrient gaps in the 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—which means avoiding shady things like artificial 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-friendly 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.*

Meet our Expert

Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci, PhD, CCN, CNS, Research and Technical Fellow

Dr. Luke Bucci received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas and has over thirty years of experience in the nutrition industry, encompassing all aspects of scientific applications. He has brought blockbuster products to market, written books, patents and numerous articles, and developed certification programs for clinical nutritionists.

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Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci, PhD, CCN, CNS, Research and Technical Fellow

Dr. Luke Bucci received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas and has over thirty years of experience in the nutrition industry, encompassing all aspects of scientific applications. He has brought blockbuster products to market, written books, patents and numerous articles, and developed certification programs for clinical nutritionists.

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Meet the Author

vhoff

Victoria Hoff, Writer

Victoria Hoff is an accomplished writer, journalist, and former wellness editor who has covered a wide variety of health, nutrition, and wellness topics during her tenure. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from New York University, and after writing for Vogue, Elle, Byrdie, The/Thirty, and more, channeled her editorial skills into a marketing career.

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vhoff

Victoria Hoff, Writer

Victoria Hoff is an accomplished writer, journalist, and former wellness editor who has covered a wide variety of health, nutrition, and wellness topics during her tenure. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from New York University, and after writing for Vogue, Elle, Byrdie, The/Thirty, and more, channeled her editorial skills into a marketing career.

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