3 Tips before you choose the best prenatal vitamins

Before you start to choose the best breast pump, during the pregnancy period, you will have to know which is the best prenatal vitamins, you should learn some tips before you pick up prenatal supplement in the market or GNC store.

1, You should know the information in the product label.

For example, FDA required each of the nutrient supplement should have DV (Daily Value) marked for each of the vitamins and minerals in the multi-vitamins product. But as we know, the DV was established in 1968, it’s totally outdated comparing the current RDAs.

best prenatal vitaminsLet’s take the vitamin A as example, for the 4-8 aged children, the DV is 5,000 IU, but actually the UL(Upper Intake Level – which means the highest dose of daily intake that is likely show no harm or risk of side effects to the health of most the people) value established in 2001 is only 3,000 IU. It’s really dangerous when you want to know whether the vitamins or minerals are over dose for you or your family member.

So please read some files about the RDA, you may learn RDI (it’s based on the older standard RDA – Recommended Dietary Allowance from 1968) for each of the common vitamins or minerals.

Especially, before you choose the best prenatal vitamins, you may need to know that some over dose vitamins, like vitamin A, vitamin D or iodine will cause some problem potentially may hurt the pregnant women and infants.

2, the UL of the nutrients vary according to people’s age and gender, just like the RDAs. So for the health person you don’t need to take over dose vitamins or minerals. Unless you get the profession advise from a doctor’s for certain conditions. For example, a pregnant woman may need extra iron if she’s with anemia caused by iron deficiency.

3, Some measurement you need to know about:

1 gram= 1,000 mg (milligram)

1 mg=1,000 mcg (micrograms or μg)

But for some vitamins or minerals, you will find it is marked in IU – International Units that is measured by its activity not by weight. E.g. Vitamin D and vitamin E.

Maybe the above tips are still not enough for you make the final decision to choose the best prenatal vitamins. But I still hope you can feel more confident when you’re reading a supplement label before the vitamin shelf.

The Importance of Essentials in Prenatal Vitamins

We already know how to find the best prenatal vitamins, but we may also need to learn what the benefit the prenatal vitamins can help us before we take it. Researcher had some evidences that supporting the prenatal vitamins brought about the healthy benefit for the pregnant women.

best prenatal vitamins

So here, we can collect some useful information as listed below:

For iodine

Due to concerns about inadequate iodine intake among pregnant and lactating women, in May 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement advising such women to take an iodine-containing supplement. Unfortunately most prenatal supplements currently do not contain the amount of iodine being recommended (150 mcg of elemental iodine from 197 mcg of potassium iodide). (Don’t worry about this, the prenatal vitamins we recommended here are with adequate iodine dosage)

Too much iodine intake during pregnancy can cause problems in infants, but so can too little. Three cases were reported of infants born with congenital hypothyroidism apparently due to their mothers having taken the high potency iodine supplement Iodoral (Optimox, Corp) which contains 12.5 mg of iodine/iodide per tablet more than 11 times the UL and nearly 57 times the RDA for iodine for pregnant women. Congenital hypothyroidism has also been reported in infants born to mothers taking an herbal supplement high in iodine-containing kelp.

For vitamin A

Do not take too much vitamin A. The most important risk involves pregnant women. Vitamin A given in modestly excessive doses can cause birth defects. Much higher doses of vitamin A can potentially damage the liver, central nervous system, bone and skin. The UL for daily intake should not exceed 2,000 IU for children 1 to 3 years old, 3,000 IU for those 4 to 8, 5,666 IU for those 9 to 13, 9,333 IU for those 14 to 18, and 10,000 IU for adults. To minimize the risk of birth defects such as cleft palate, heart defects, and hydrocephalus, the March of Dimes recommends that a pregnant women should not use a multivitamin or prenatal supplement that contains more than 5,000 IU of preformed vitamin A. It also advises that a pregnant woman should not take any vitamin A supplements beyond that amount and minimize consumption of liver, which contains preformed vitamin A. However, these ULs apply only vitamin A consumed from supplements, fortified foods, and animal sources, and does not include vitamin A as beta-carotene or intake from fruits and vegetables.

For folate

Folate is known to reduce the risk of certain birth defects. Supplements are generally recommended for women who are pregnant or may soon become pregnant.

In addition, folic acid supplementation at 1,000 mcg per day has been associated with a more than doubling of the risk of prostate cancer.

RDAs of folate for pregnant women, you may refer to here.

Folate – An Essential in Prenatal Vitamins

Folate, also known as folic acid, vitamin B9, plays a key role in cell division in human body. It is an important essential in prenatal vitamins. In some researches, we found it reduce the risk of heart disease, and it is helpful lessen the incidence rate of some cancers.

folate-prenatal vitaminsYou can find the folate from dark green leafy vegetables, and oranges. These are natural good source of folate, but the synthetic source of folic acid seems has a twice absorption and a more bioavailability as well as the natural source folate.

There are two new synthetic source of folate products, Metafolin and Quatrefolic were accepted by FDA individually in 2001 and 2010. With stabilized form in Metafolin (calcium salt, Metafolin® is a registered trademark of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany) and Quatrefolic (glucosamine salt, Quatrefolic® is a registered trademark of Gnosis S.p.A. Corporation), they have an active compound, called L-5-methylfolate, which is same created in the body as folate and folic acid does. People with common genetic mutations were suggested to take these new forms, as it was proved to have more effectiveness than folic acid in a short term.

Benefits for pregnant women
It is helpful to reduce the risk of spina bifida in fetus if folate consumed in prenatal vitamins by pregnant women. Folate is also proved to lessen the occurrence of leukemia and some other defects among infants.

A research from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo announced that, the women took folic acid (400 mcg per day) from 4 weeks before to 8 weeks after their pregnancy had a 39% lower risk of autistic disorder in children, compared to the children whose mothers didn’t have any folic acid supplement.

But many pregnancies are unplanned, it is difficult to recommend a folic acid supplement before conception. Most of time the neural tube defects may have already occurred, because the average of first antenatal visit normally is 9 weeks.

Since 1998, folic acid were fortificated in cereal grains mandatorily and as a result, there is less than 1% of people in Americans have folate deficiency. Then over 50 countries around the world have followed this mandatory fortification with folic acid.

Recommended dose
As a result, the RDAs doses are based on the regular food sources, if you are taking folic acid in prenatal vitamins or fortificated food, which are twice absorbs in the body, you have to take 1/2 following RDAs:

For Children 1 – 3 years old: 150 mcg
Children 4 – 8 years old: 200 mcg
Children 9 – 13 years old: 300 mcg
Over 14 years old: 400 mcg
Pregnant women: 600 mcg
Lactating women: 500 mcg

The ULs of folate (total amount from fortified food and supplements):
For Children 1 – 3 years old: 300 mcg
Children 4 – 8 years old: 400 mcg
Children 9 – 13 years old: 600 mcg
Children 14 – 18 years old: 800 mcg
Individual over 19 years old: 1,000 mcg

There are increasing concerns for the folic acid intake 1000 mcg per day from supplement, associated with a more than doubling risk of prostate cancer. Meanwhile, the folate from natural sources was not found any risk raised.

Although folate may reduce the incidence rate of cancer, e.g. the notably colorectal cancer, there are some concerns about the exceed folic acid from supplements and fortificated foods may increase the risk of cancerous tumors or pre-cancerous. For example, it was observed that the risk of colorectal cancer was increased after the country began to fortify the wheat flour with folic acid in Chile and other countries in 2009.

But according to a recent study in U.S. (2011), there was no significant association found between the colorectal cancer and folic acid serving. In contrast, this study found a 19% reducing in the risk of colon cancer comparing the people took the highest dose of folic acid (including both of the natural folate and folic acid) to those with the lowest dose intake.

How to choose the best prenatal vitamins?

This article is about to find out the best prenatal vitamins you can choose.

We get benefits from the prenatal multivitamins supplement with sufficient nutrition for both maternal and fetus. Pregnant woman will suffer from nutrient deficiency, e.g. lack of vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, folate, zinc and iron may lead to fetal defects. To ensure a healthy pregnancy, we need more nutrient than our normal time and it is suggested by health care professional to take prenatal vitamins three months early when you have conception plan.

It is able to soothe your stomach and reduce the vomit and nausea symptom that the mom-to-be will be possibly experiencing in the morning during pregnancy. The symptom often begins in the first trimester, mostly caused by a kind of hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). It is generated when in pregnancy, especially the nutrition deficient women in vitamin B6.

Here are some tips for your reference when you’re facing hundreds of prenatal products on the market:

  •  Are the ingredients safe for you?

Most of the time, we should choose the nutrition sourcing from natural fruit/vegetable. Natural source means more biological activity than the supplement from synthetics, and fewer side effects than synthetics do. Sometimes if the product has a Non GMO label, it gives us more confidence when we take it.

  • Is the dosage perfect for you?

The institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of the Sciences has some recommendation for the pregnancy women. You can refer to the RDAs (Recommended Dietary Allowances) and ULs (Upper Tolerable intake levels) for each nutrient from here. Meanwhile we shall watch carefully for the daily life when you are pregnant. Is the calcium dosage enough for you even after you consume some milk but still feel contraction in your legs?

  • Is the nutrition formula reasonable?

For example, for the best absorption of calcium to keep the bone healthy, we’d like to see there are the magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K ingredients listed in the formula at the same time.

  • Does the formula contain a complete nutrition ingredient?

You can find the folate (folic acid) in each of prenatal product, as we know that the folic acid intake before and during the early pregnancy will prevent fetus from spina bifida. But one of the most important nutrients is missing from some brand products, iodine. Iodine deficiency is a major cause of intellectual disability for children; research has shown that the mothers with low iodine intake will possibly lead to an autistic child. In U.S. there are one-third of conceptional women are minimally in short of iodine. So the American Academy of Pediatrics had a statement announced in May 2014, suggesting pregnant women to take 150 mcg iodine containing prenatal vitamins.

  • Easy to swallow, easy to break apart in stomach without nausea

Disintegration, it means the supplement ingredient will be more efficiently absorbed by your body. And your stomach will not feel any discomfort when you swallow it if all ingredients are coming from natural food or herb.

We recommend the following prenatal vitamins for your consideration

These prenatal vitamins have the natural organic ingredients, not only that the vitamins and minerals are included in their formula, but also there are additional herb, vegetable and fruit extract enriched to provide a healthy metabolism for pregnant women.

  1. New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin, 192 Tablets; New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin Trimester , 270 Tablets (same formula with 192 tablets)
  2. MegaFood Baby & Me Prenatal Vitamin Tablets 120 tablets
  3. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw
    Prenatal Multivitamin, 180 Capsules
  4. Garden of Life Kind Organics Prenatal Multivitamin, 180 Organic Tablets
Product Ingredient Non GMO Easy to
1.New Chapter Perfect Prenatal
Multivitaminbest prenatl vitamins
Folate: 600 mcgCalcium:
from Algae 75 mgIodine:
90 mcg
Herb; Organic vegetable food
Probiotics Contains Fermented soy and fermented wheat
2.MegaFood Baby & Me Prenatal Vitaminmegafood_prenatal_vitamins Natural Folate: from broccoli 800 mcg Calcium: 75 mg Iodine: 150 mcg Organic Herb; Organic fruit Digestive Enzymes Soy Free
3.Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw
Prenatal Multivitamin, 180 Capsulesbest prenatal vitamins
Folate:800 mcgCalcium:
125 mgIodine:
150 mcg
RAW Organic Fruit
& Vegetable Blend;RAW Organic Sprout
Ginger;Probiotics;Enzymes Contains (Fermented) soy
4.Garden of Life Kind Organics Prenatal Multivitamin, 180
Organic Tablets
best prenatal vitamins
Natural Folate: from organic lemon 800 mcg Calcium: from organic wrightia tinctoria 5 mg Iodine from organic Kelp: 150 mcg USDA organic certificated;Non GMO verified Organic ginger; organic peppermint to soothing
No soy,
no corn

Although New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin is the best seller in Amazon Prenatal Vitamins department, we here found that other two products MegaFood Baby & Me Prenatal Vitamin and Garden of Life Kind Organics Prenatal Multivitamin, 180 Organic Tablets are more preferred products than it. Both of them don’t contain any soy ingredient that someone may suffer from soy allergy.

Finally, which is the best prenatal vitamins within above two products?

So from the daily cost consideration, we recommend that:

Garden of Life Kind Organics Prenatal Multivitamin

is the best prenatal vitamins as it provides a complete nutrient with a lower cost than MegaFood’s.

The data in above table indicates that, the multivitamins vary in their ingredients. It is not so easy to precisely to compare two products. Garden of Life Kind Organics Prenatal Multivitamin has less calcium (5 mg per day) than MegaFood Baby & Me Prenatal Vitamin (75 mg daily). You may have other calcium supplement intake while you take this prenatal multivitamins.

For the best fish oil for pregnancy, you may refer here;

For the best calcium supplement, you can learn from here.

We don’t recommend following prenatal multivitamins though they’re very popular among some people.

Product Reject Reason
Rainbow Light Prenatal Petite Mini, 180-Count use folic acid, synthetics source
Rainbow Light, Prenatal One Multivitamin, 90 Tablets use folic acid, synthetics source; no iodine
Light Complete Prenatal System Food Based Tablets 180 tablets
use folic acid, synthetics source
Nature Made
Prenatal Multi + Dha, 200mg, 150 Softgels
use folic acid, synthetics source; no iodine; It contains artificial colors red 40, yellow 6, blue 1, as you
know red 40 will lead to an ADHD or Attention Deficit Disorder for children
Twinlab Pre-Natal Care, Multi Vitamin Caps, 120 Capsules use folic acid, synthetics source

If you’re taking some medicine or before surgery, please consult your obstetric doctor or pharmacist before you take the prenatal product.

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