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How to Choose a Prenatal Vitamin

By Kerry Weiss
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.
January 08, 2024

Good nutrition is important when you are pregnant. This means getting enough vitamins and nutrients to support your health and your growing baby.

Eating right while pregnant helps you feel well, says Casey Seiden, R.D. It also prevents problems and helps the baby grow, she says. Seiden is a dietitian who works in New York City. A dietitian is an expert who helps people meet their diet needs.

Eating a healthy diet is most useful. But taking a special vitamin also helps you get what you and your baby need. Here is what to know about prenatal vitamins.

Why Are Prenatal Vitamins Important?

Most of your diet needs are met by healthy eating, says Ngina Connors, M.D. Connors is an ob-gyn at Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina. The prenatal vitamin makes sure you get everything you need.

This means taking your vitamins every day. You can set an alarm on your phone to remind you.

Start taking prenatal vitamins as early as you can. It is best to start taking them one to two months before you get pregnant, Connors says. But it is not too late to start now.

Do not stress if you forget to take it a few times. “Missing your prenatal vitamin every once in a while won’t hurt the pregnancy,” says Deanna Sverdlov, M.D. Sverdlov is an ob-gyn at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

What to Look for in a Prenatal Vitamin

Your vitamin should contain:

  • Folic acid
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Choline
  • Omega-3s, or DHA
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin C
  • Magnesium

The exact dose needed may change from person to person. You may need to take a higher dose or an extra pill based on your health. Your doctor can tell you the amount you should take.

How to Find the Right Prenatal Vitamin for You

You can buy prenatal vitamins in most drug stores or grocery stores. Or your doctor may prescribe you a vitamin that you would need to pick up from the pharmacy. Most of these products are similar and contain all the things you need, Sverdlov says. “Just find one that works for you and doesn’t cost too much.”

Tell your doctor about any medicine you are taking, Connors says. That way, they can help you find the right vitamin for you.

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