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10 of the best prenatal vitamins 2022 – picked by an expert

2 ladies holding hands on the sofa with smiling expressions. Lady on right has tattoos
With so many prenatal vitamins out there, it can be difficult to know which ones to choose to see you through your pregnancy journey.

Do you need just one or more than one? When’s the best time to take them and what do they do exactly? Here, we explain all you need to know about prenatal vitamins. We also share our top prenatal vitamin picks, which have also been tried-and-tested and highly recommended by many of our customers!

What do prenatal supplements do?

As the name suggests, prenatal supplements are supplements that provide women with a dose of vitamins and minerals they need to help keep themselves and their baby healthy during pregnancy.1 Of all the prenatal vitamins, folic acid is up there as being one of the main supplements to take before getting pregnant. Part of the vitamin B family, folic acid is essential for cell growth and development.

Taking 400mcg of folic acid every day for at least 1 month before and during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of your baby developing brain and spine health issues, which are known as Neural Tube Defects (NTD). According to the NHS, you should continue to take folic acid until you are 12 weeks into your pregnancy.2 Vitamin D is also recognised as being an important prenatal vitamin too. Ideally, we all need 10mcg of vitamin D a day and should consider taking a supplement to make sure our levels are maintained during September and March when we have limited sun exposure. 

This particular vitamin is responsible for regulating our calcium and phosphate levels, which keep our bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Taking more than 100mcg of vitamin D a day can be harmful to you and your baby. Folic acid and vitamin D aside, there are also prenatal supplements that contain a blend of several vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, selenium, vitamin D and vitamin B6, all rolled into one prenatal multivitamin. As is the case when taking any supplement, speak to your GP first if you are planning on taking prenatal vitamins. They will advise you on what to take, how much to take of them and if they’re safe for you.

Summary
  • Prenatal supplements are supplements that provide women with a dose of vitamins and minerals they need to help keep themselves and their baby healthy during pregnancy
  • The most important prenatal supplements are folic acid and vitamin D
  • It’s also possible to buy prenatal multivitamins that contain a range of minerals and vitamins, all aimed at supporting mum and baby

What're the best pre-pregnancy vitamins?

We’ve spoken about the importance of taking prenatal vitamins and the fact that folic acid and vitamin D are up there as being the more important prenatal supplements to take, but which brands should you choose when you’re shopping around?

Fret no more because we’ve listed our top 10 prenatal supplement product picks, which have been tried and given the thumbs up by many of our customers too!

Summary
  • Prenatal vitamins should be taken before you conceive
  • They provide your baby with all the essential nutrients it needs to develop and grow healthily
  • If you believe you may be pregnant and aren’t yet taking a prenatal vitamin, make sure you do it right away

Vitabiotics Pregnacare Conception

Pregnacare Conception provides a carefully balanced comprehensive formulation of micronutrients, including the nutrients, inositol, l-arginine, n-acetyl cysteine and selenium. It also contains vitamin B12 and folic acid at 400mcg, the exact recommended level by the Department of Health.
Key benefits
  • Helps to maximise chances of conception
  • Free from preservatives, gluten, gelatin, artificial colours, salt and yeast. Not tested on animals 
  • Contains a carefully balanced comprehensive formulation of micronutrients, vitamins and folic acid

Customer reviews
Loz1999 – Great product! – 5/5 stars
“I wanted a product that made sure that I had been taking the right vitamins to give any baby the best start should I fall pregnant. The first cycle I took these I fell pregnant! I am now taking Pregnacare Plus and hoping for a healthy pregnancy for the rest of the way!”

Vitabiotics Pregnacare Original

Pregnacare Original tablets contain 400mcg of folic acid and 19 vitamins and minerals that are essential for the health of mother and baby. Pregnacare Original has been developed for women, who are planning a pregnancy, already pregnant or breastfeeding.
Key benefits
  • Colourful balance of 19 vitamins and minerals
  • Easy to swallow tablets
  • Free from artificial colours, preservatives, gluten, lactose, salt and yeast.
  • Not tested on animals Suitable for vegetarians
Customer reviews
Imziman – It’s what you would want during pregnancy – 5/5 stars “The only product for pregnancy. Used during first pregnancy and now for second, there is nothing better.”
Becky1426 – Just what I was looking for! – 5/5 stars “I've used this product throughout all 4 of my pregnancies (alongside a healthy/good diet) and I feel they helped with growing healthy children.”

Vitabiotics Pregnacare Breastfeeding

Vitabiotics Pregnacare Breastfeeding is an all-in-one supplement, formulated with key specific ingredients for the postnatal period, including essential fatty acids, such as DHA.
Key benefits
  • Ideal follow-on product for mums after childbirth
  • Key specific ingredients for the postnatal period
  • Perfect for those who are breastfeeding and suitable for those who aren’t 
Customer reviews
Dani32 – The best – 5/5 stars “My favourite all-around vitamin whilst breastfeeding and then beyond.”
Anonymous – Breastfeeding mums – 5/5 stars “Excellent supplement while feeding. Have used it while feeding my other two babies.”

Active Folic

These Active Folic capsules deliver x3 greater absorption than standard folic acid and work in tune with your body for optimum absorption.
Key benefits
  • Contains folic acid in methyl folate form
  • Provides 3 times greater absorption than standard folic acid
  • Suitable for vegans and vegetarians
Customer reviews
Hannah W – Great! - 5/5 stars “I started taking these last month and after one cycle, I am pregnant! I have set up a subscription to take these for the duration of my pregnancy!”

PROCEIVE® Pregnancy Trimester 1

These capsules contain a blend of 29 vitamins, minerals and amino acids. This supplement is tailored to support you and your baby during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy.
Key benefits
  • Tailored nutrition for you and your baby during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy
  • 29 vitamins and minerals scientifically formulated for this stage
  • Contains folic acid as L-Methylfolate to support greater absorption
  • Suitable for vegans
Customer reviews
Chiara – Healthy baby at 12 weeks! – 5/5 stars I have been taking this throughout my first trimester along with the Omega capsules, and have had my 12 week scan — where my doctor has confirmed that I have a well-developed healthy baby!! Her exact words were “You’ve been taking all the right nutrition!”eiv

PROCEIVE® Pregnancy Trimester 2

Proceive’s Pregnancy Trimester 2 capsules contain a comprehensive, active blend of 31 vitamins, minerals and amino acids. They are tailored to support you and your baby during months 4, 5 and 6 of your pregnancy.

Key benefits
Tailored nutrition for you and your baby during weeks 13 to 27 of pregnancy 31 vitamins and minerals scientifically formulated for this stage Contains folic acid as L-Methylfolate to support greater absorption Suitable for vegans

Customer reviews
SandraN – Just what I was looking for – 5/5 stars “It reassures me to know that even if I've not eaten much or well that day, my baby’s definitely getting the right nutrients from premium ingredients. They’re easy to take and I don't feel nauseous after taking them, even if I forget to eat straight after. I'll definitely be getting the ones for the 3rd trimester!”

You also asked...

Is it a good idea to take prenatal vitamins when not pregnant?

Yes, it is. Prenatal vitamins are designed to be taken before you get pregnant and some products can continue to be taken during pregnancy too.

These supplements are aimed at plugging any nutritional gaps you may have so that your baby has all the vital nutrients it needs to develop and grow healthily.

While it’s possible to get these nutrients from your food, some women may not eat their daily quota of goodness every single day, which means their bodies and baby aren’t getting all of the goodness that’s required.

Plus the fact, having to provide for two people can be draining on mum’s body, and supplements are a quick and easy way of making sure she continues to provide enough nutrients for herself and her baby.

 

When should you start taking a prenatal vitamin?

Ideally, you should take a prenatal vitamin 3 months before trying to get pregnant.

This is due to the fact that the egg starts maturing around 3 months before being released, and when that happens, it’s important it gets all the nutrients it needs from the outset.3

If you believe you may be pregnant and aren’t yet taking a prenatal vitamin, make sure you do it right away. NTDs develop in those early stages, usually during the first 4 to 6 weeks of getting pregnant.

That’s why it’s essential women start taking folic acid straight away at the very least to help minimise the risk of NTDs happening. 

 

Takeaway

Prenatal vitamins provide essential health support for you and your baby. They can be taken before you get pregnant and certain formulas can continue to be taken while you are pregnant. Meanwhile, other supplements have been formulated to support you and your baby’s needs post-pregnancy too.

Disclaimer

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
 
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