Mom to Be? Try These 6 Prenatal Vitamins

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If you're pregnant or trying to conceive, prenatal vitamins can help fill any nutritional gaps. When it comes to shopping for prenatal vitamins, there are questions you need to ask yourself: Does it support maternal nutrition before and during pregnancy? Does it support a healthy pregnancy outcome? Does this vitamin provide key ingredients to promote healthy physical and mental development for the baby?

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With so many brands and varieties to choose from, it can be overwhelming to sort through them all. That’s where we come in. Not all prenatal vitamins are created equal, which is why it’s important to do your research and eliminate the guesswork.

Top Choices:

  1. Xymogen Prenatal Essentials™ * Note: Xymogen only sells through practitioners on their website - at no extra cost you can sign up on their website and order from a practitioner. Each packet contains 5 multivitamin/mineral capsules and one OmegaPure DHA softgel. Xymogen Prenatal Essentials premium formula includes OmegaPure DHA™, vitamin D, choline, all the necessary B vitamins and gentle, yet bioavailable minerals and antioxidants – all of which are important for healthy fetal development. Our top choice also contains 5-TTHF the most biologically active from of folate and vitamin k2, now recognized as a key addition to any prenatal. Xymogen supplements are manufactured to meet GMP (Good Manufacturing Standards).

  2. Klaire Labs Prenatal & Nursing Formula - This supplement contains a balanced mix of 20 vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and other important nutrients in bioavailable forms of vitamins and minerals to meet every pregnant woman’s nutritional needs. Klaire Labs Prenatal & Nursing Formula contains the superior phosphatidylcholine, a bioavailable form of choline and the Active form of folate (Metafolin® L-5-MTHF) Klaire contains both vitamin K1 and K2 and is free of common allergens: milk/casein, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, and wheat. Contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Klaire labs follows cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices).

  3. Naturelo - Prenatal Whole Food Multivitamin - This top choice contains natural, plant-based multivitamin made of real, organic whole food, like Vitamin C from Acerola Cherries and Vitamin E from Rice Bran? This supplement is easy to digest because it is made of real food. The addition of choline and vitamin K2 round out a complete prenatal., Naturelo Prenatal Whole Food Multivitamin supports healthy pregnancy, nourishment for the baby and can also be taken during postnatal breastfeeding. Naturelo Does NOT contain GMOs, soy, gluten, milk/dairy, eggs, corn, coloring, preservatives, flavoring or animal-derived ingredients and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Made in America and manufactured to meet GMP (Good Manufacturing Standards).

Runners Up

  1. Vitanica Maternal Symmetry This prenatal vitamin is further down on the list due to a few minor concerns about the vitamin D being from D2  and lack of choline and vitamin k2. That being said, Vitanica Maternal Symmetry is a high quality, high potency multivitamin that uses the more bioavailable Methylated folate (L-5-MTHF)and contains beneficial herbs that promote healthy digestion and promote calming.

  2. Designs for Health Prenatal Pro This prenatal vitamin contains high quality supplementation for pregnant women, lactating women, and women wishing to become pregnant.This prenatal multivitamin contains aproprietary NatureFolate™ blend of active isomer naturally-occurring folates in place of synthetic folic acid. However there is no K2, which we believe is crucial to fetal bone development. Designs for Health Prenatal Pro is non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegetarian-friendly. This would be right up there with our #1 Choice if it had K2, so this would be a great choice if combined with .

  3. Metagenics Wellness Essentials With a formula that supports fetal development, heart and overall health, Metagenics Wellness Essentials offers personalized nutrition all the way from preconception to nursing. The only downside is that this prenatal multivitamin lacks K2.

The Health Benefits of Prenatal Vitamins

When you’re trying to conceive and throughout pregnancy, your body has different nutritional needs, and prenatal vitamins are designed specifically for pregnant women.

Increases your chances of conception

If you’re trying to get pregnant, prenatal vitamins can boost your fertility while also preparing your body for conception and pregnancy. According to one study, women taking a variety of micronutrients had a higher pregnancy rate (66.7 percent), compared to the women who were taking only folic acid - their pregnancy rate was 39.3 percent.

Supports the baby’s growth and overall health

The specific ingredients in prenatal vitamins promote the healthy development of the brain, spine, bones and red blood cells in the fetus. For example, unlike most multivitamins, prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, which is scientifically-proven to help prevent birth defects. Folic acid is responsible for making red blood cells and plays an important role when it comes to development of the nervous system in the first trimester. Studies show that folic acid significantly decreases the risk of neural tube defects (NTD).

Fills the nutritional gaps in your diet

Even if you eat healthy, your nutrient requirements increase during pregnancy. Remember, you’re eating for you now! Prenatal vitamins are designed to replenish your nutrients and ensures that you are getting what is missing from your diet.

Here’s What to Look For:

High quality source of ingredients

Of course, you want only the best for you and your baby. When shopping for prenatal vitamins, the first step is to check the label for seals from the following organizations:

Getting the stamp of approval from any of the organizations above shows the product has a high-quality source of ingredients. Check that it has verified third party testing for contaminants and that it is manufactured in a GMP, cGMP lab or the EU or Canadian equivalent.

Includes Vitamin K2 - Studies show that as many as 50 percent of all newborns are deficient in vitamin K. This vitamin is essential for healthy bone development. “Without adequate vitamin K2 (specifically, MK-7) to activate osteocalcin, calcium cannot be properly utilized to build healthy, strong bones,” Natural Products Insider reports. “The amount of activated osteocalcin (a protein that helps build dense and strong bones) should be high, and correspondingly, circulating amounts of inactive (also called undercarboxylated) osteocalcin should be low; osteocalcin depends on vitamin K2 to activate it.”

Contains Choline - While this nutrient is not one of the most common ingredients in prenatal vitamins, it’s beneficial for healthy fetus development. Although the body naturally makes choline, the amount your body needs goes up significantly during pregnancy. "Choline helps the baby's brain cells to develop and function normally and protects against birth defects like spina bifida," says Eric Hodgson, M.D., a maternal and fetal medicine specialist. "Some studies have shown that it can also improve a baby's IQ and protect them from other mental problems like depression.

What to Avoid:

Cyanocobalamin - Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic form of vitamin B12.

  • Chemical fillers - To be more cost-effective, some companies will include chemical fillers in the vitamins. These harmful chemicals can not only harm you, but the baby as well.

  • Cheap forms of calcium or cheap calcium carbonate - In one 11-year-long study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers examined 24,000 men and women between 35 to 64 years of age, and found that those who used calcium supplements had a 139 percent greater risk of heart attack during the length of the study. Intake of calcium through food did not affect the risk factor.

Read the Label

Before you make any purchases, read the label. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Check the % daily value: How much is that single serving actually giving you? Now that you know the ingredients to look for, you can see if the vitamin meets your nutritional needs.

  • Check the diet size: Servings are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, but this can be more or less depending on what stage you’re at in your pregnancy. For example, in the third trimester, most women average 2,300 calories per day. In this case, you may want to shop for a prenatal vitamin that has a stronger dosage.

  • Read “other ingredients”: This is where you are likely to see any chemical fillers and artificial ingredients.

The Difference Between Natural and Standard Prenatal Vitamins

Natural prenatal vitamins contain ingredients that are taken directly from natural sources, such as plants and fruits. These vitamins are chemical-free. Standard prenatal vitamins, on the other hand, often contain synthetic ingredients, chemical fillers and artificial flavoring. The bottom line: Your health and the health of your baby are important. When it comes to prenatal vitamins, be sure you’re making smart choices.

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