top of page

Best prenatal vitamins and supplements for pregnancy.

Get the essential vitamins and nutrients you need during pregnancy and beyond.


Whether you’ve just found out you’re pregnant, or you’re trying to get there, health during pregnancy can be a minefield.

Between the foods we’re recommended not to eat (soft cheese and sushi, anyone?), nausea and aversions that can accompany early pregnancy (or the whole nine months if you’re unlucky!), and all the extra energy it takes to grow a human, it can be hard to get the right balance of vitamins and nutrients.

You might feel bombarded with nutritional information (and opinions) from influencers shilling the latest product, or rumours you heard from that friend of a friend. Then there’s your gran’s stories about drinking a pint of Guinness a day. So how do you sort fact from fiction and get the best for you and your baby?

We spoke with Wilma MacDonald, a qualified and registered nutritional therapist from Maverick Motherhood, who specialises in working with mothers, and Elisa Gomez de Bonilla, Nutritionist for Oxford Online Pharmacy to give us the low-down on prenatal vitamins and supplements.

What vitamins and supplements do I need in pregnancy?

The NHS guidelines only make a specific recommendations for two supplements during normal healthy pregnancy: 400 micrograms of folic acid every day – from before you’re pregnant until you’re 12 weeks pregnant, and 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day between September and March.

All the supplements we tested contain at least these recommended amounts of folic acid and vitamin D.

MacDonald, however, advises that a ‘good’ prenatal supplement will also cover these key bases:

  • Iron: “Requirements for iron increase rapidly during pregnancy,” she says, but “many women don’t have the iron reserves needed to meet this increased requirement.” All the supplements we tested contain iron.

  • Choline: Choline is a nutrient that shares some properties with B vitamins, and is “active in neural tube and brain development.” Only some of the premium brands, and none of the budget brands, we tested contain choline, though almost all of them do contain B vitamins (with the exception of Nourished The Prenatal Stack).

Gomez de Bonilla also lists essentials, including:

  • Thiamine and Riboflavin: These micronutrients are “recommended during the third trimester.” While many of the prenatals we tested do contain them, Glo Vitamins, Nourished The Prenatal Stack, and Wild Nutrition Food-Grown Pregnancy do not. Interestingly, all the budget options do contain thiamine and riboflavin.

  • Vitamin C: Pregnant people are recommended to increase their intake to 10 mg daily, “to help with iron absorption”. While many of the prenatals we tested do contain vitamin C, including all the budget options, Glo Vitamins and Nourished The Prenatal Stack do not.

Are there any vitamins and supplements I should avoid in pregnancy?

Both NHS guidelines and the nutritionists we spoke with warn pregnant people to avoid vitamin A because excessive vitamin A can harm your baby.

In many cases, this means avoiding cod liver oil when you’re pregnant.

What extra prenatal vitamins and supplements might I need for a vegan or vegetarian pregnancy?

The NHS guidelines say that, if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you might find it more difficult to get enough iron and vitamin B12 during pregnancy.

If you are vegan or vegetarian, or if you follow another restricted diet because of food intolerance, you are advised to speak with your midwife or GP for nutritional advice.

MacDonald says that people with extra dietary requirements during pregnancy may need more:

  • Iron: As the highest level of absorbable dietary iron is found in red meat

  • Zinc: As the highest level of zinc is found in animal and fish products

  • B12: As B12 is only found in animal products and dairy/eggs

Almost all of the prenatal vitamins and supplements that are suitable for vegans or vegetarians contain iron, zinc and vitamin B12, with the exception of Glo Vitamins which do not contain zinc and Nourished The Prenatal Stack which do not contain B12.

When should I start taking prenatal vitamins?

As folic acid is particularly important in the first trimester - even before you may know that you are pregnant - the NHS advise you to take folic acid if there is “a chance you might get pregnant.”

Many non-pregnancy multivitamins formulated for women do contain folic acid.

Equally, there is no harm in non-pregnant people - particularly those trying to conceive - taking prenatal vitamins and supplements.

When should I stop taking prenatal vitamins?

Again, there is no harm to non-pregnant people continuing to take prenatals for as long as they feel they need or want to.

MacDonald advises people to continue to take prenatals post-birth for as long as they bleed, or as long as they breastfeed if they choose to do so.

This is important because as soon as the baby arrives, all focus moves on to them: “The mother’s recovery is often forgotten about in the midst of the chaos. Repair, recovery and supporting the mother’s physical and mental health may benefit from continued supplementation.”

Here is our roundup of the best prenatal vitamins and supplements for pregnancy.

0 views0 comments


bottom of page