What are the best prenatal vitamins (PNV) to take?
Choosing a prenatal vitamin (PNV):
When choosing a PNV, look for a brand that has a drug identification number (DIN) or natural product number (NPN) indicating approval by Health Canada. Unfortunately, this type of regulation does not exist in the US and prenatal vitamins do not require FDA approval.
A prenatal vitamin should contain at least:
0.4 mg of folic acid
16 to 20 mg of iron.
Look for supplements that contain minimal non-medicinal ingredients/fillers or dyes. Most prenatal vitamins will also include additional vitamins like B12, D, A, calcium, and may include DHA.
Your specific needs may be different if:
You are vegetarian or vegan (more vit B12)
You are anemic (more Iron)
You are on anti-seizure medications
You have malabsorption disorders
You have a higher risk for neural tube defects (family history, diabetes)
For specific advice related to your nutrition in pregnancy, speak with your doctor or midwife. Additional advice can be sought via a registered dietitian or perinatal naturopathic doctor.
Prenatal vitamins and morning sickness:
Sometimes prenatal vitamins can increase feelings of morning sickness or nausea. In this case you may find it easier to switch brands, or consider taking your prenatal vitamin before bed with a light snack. Alternatively you can consider taking folic acid alone for a short time.
When to take prenatal vitamins:
Prenatal vitamins are best started 3 months before getting pregnant. Only take 1 prenatal vitamin per day (as directed) as some vitamins like vitamin A are harmful in excessive doses. Maintaining a well balanced diet can ensure you get many of these vitamins and minerals through food sources as well.
Choosing a prenatal vitamin by Dr Laura Von Hagen