Nutrient Form Matters in a Vegan Prenatal
Whether you're vegan or not, it's really important to ensure that the body is getting key nutrients.* We already mentioned iron and B12, but let's talk about folate, a B-vitamin that's especially important for a baby's neural tube development. You might be thinking, "What about folic acid?" But actually, folic acid is a synthetic form of folate that might not be as easy for a body to efficiently utilize. In fact, up to 40% of women have a genetic variation that makes it difficult to efficiently utilize certain forms of folate such as, folic acid. We use a form of folate called 5-MTHF in our Essential Prenatal, which is the active form of folate and is the primary circulating form of folate in the body.*
Another issue with some prenatals: adding nutrients that don't necessarily need supplementing. Let's use vitamin C as an example. It's really important for our health, don't get us wrong. But it's also very easy to meet vitamin C needs through diet alone, even if you're pregnant—and overdoing may affect with the absorption of others. Calcium is another one. Contrary to popular belief, many of us don't need to be supplementing with more calcium than what we already get from our diets—and that includes pregnant women. Instead, we recommend focusing on calcium-helper nutrients like vitamin D3, magnesium, vitamin K2, and boron. (You'll find all of these in Essential Prenatal.)*
What About the Capsule?
It’s kind of pointless to look for vegan-friendly nutrients if they’re housed in a gelatin soft gel capsule, right? Our Essential Prenatal is vegan-friendly, non-GMO, and gluten-free, and uses a capsule made from hypromellose, a plant fiber made from tree bark. (It’s also designed to be delayed-release to dissolve in the small intestine, an optimal place to absorb nutrients.) On top of the capsule, keep an eye out for any additives that might not be so vegan-friendly.*
All in all, creating a high-quality prenatal multivitamin that helps fill key nutritional needs is central to our DNA—our founder is vegan, and started Ritual when she struggled to find a prenatal multivitamin that met her standards. So while you should always loop in your doctor to ensure you’re doing everything right for you and baby, know that we created our Essential Prenatal Multivitamin with you in mind.*
Don't Forget About Protein
Sure, supporting micronutrient needs during pregnancy can be made easier with a prenatal multivitamin. But it's also important to focus on macronutrient needs (protein, carbs, fats), too—and for vegans, getting enough quality protein can be a challenge. By "quality," we mean consuming a complete amino acid profile. The thing is, some plant-based protein sources come up short on certain essential amino acids, and are therefore considered "incomplete."*
It's why we formulated a protein supplement for this life stage specifically. Essential Protein Pregnancy & Postpartum features pea protein fortified with the amino acid l-methionine to create a complete amino acid profile. Plus we added choline for additional support—not to mention a creamy, hand-crafted vanilla flavor. (It's sugar-free, too!)*
Already Gave Birth? Consider Switching to a (Vegan) Postnatal Multivitamin
Once baby has arrived, nutrition needs look a little different—in fact, the postpartum period may require even more supplemental support than during pregnancy, especially for those who are breastfeeding. (Among the 29 essential micronutrients, lactation increases the demand for more than half of the micronutrients compared to pregnancy and other life stages.)*
That's why we recommend opting for a multivitamin that's suited specifically to this important time, like our Essential Postnatal—it was formulated with 15 nutrients to support those new demands. (And yes—it's vegan-friendly, too.) Bottom line? Women should consider switching to a postnatal multivitamin as soon as they give birth, and continue taking one for six months postpartum (or longer, if they’re continuing to breastfeed).