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The best prenatal vitamins in 2023 to support your pregnancy journey

Find the best prenatal vitamin to help support your body and baby’s growth, before, during and after pregnancy

A prenatal vitamin is an important part of any pregnancy journey, with GPs and midwives advising that pregnant women take one daily. This type of vitamin doesn’t replace a healthy-balanced diet, but it can help you and your baby get the additional nutrients required for good growth and development.

Prenatal vitamins are each specially formulated for the different stages of pregnancy. Some work best for before pregnancy while trying to conceive, while others are designed to support pregnant women during those all-important first 12 weeks. For anyone still trying to conceive, it is recommended to start taking prenatal vitamins three months before you hope to get pregnant.

The NHS also recommends that anyone pregnant, or trying to be, should take a folic acid supplement. It is advised that you take folic acid daily throughout pregnancy. This is very important as it can help prevent major birth defects in a foetus’s brain (anencephaly) and spine (spina bifida).

The daily folic acid recommendation of 400 micrograms is said to reduce the likelihood of these potential problems in a baby’s development in the early weeks. In addition, the NHS also recommends a daily dose of vitamin D. Ideally, pregnant women need 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day and should consider taking this between September to March when there is less exposure to the sun.

To help find the best prenatal vitamins for you, ask your GP to either recommend their top picks or prescribe them to you. We’ve also curated a list of the best prenatal vitamins for you to choose from below, and a brief guide on what you should be looking for when shopping around for them.

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Best prenatal vitamins: At a glance

How to choose the best prenatal vitamins for you

Whether your pregnancy is straightforward or you have pregnancy complications, prenatal vitamins can help you on your journey. Seek advice from your doctor for prescribed prenatal supplements, or choose some popular tried-and-tested over-the-counter prenatal vitamins from our list below. It’s worth noting that a well-rounded prenatal vitamin should include all the necessary ingredients required to support a healthy pregnancy, which we’ve explained in more depth below.

What types of nutrients should I look for in prenatal vitamins?

Here are some of the most important ingredients to look out for in a good prenatal vitamin:

B vitamins: Most prenatal supplements include some or all the eight different B vitamins needed during pregnancy. The most important when it comes to supporting a healthy pregnancy are B12, B9 (folate) and B6. Folate in particular helps the body form healthy red blood cells and reduces the chance of birth defects.

Choline: Choline is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in placental and foetal development. A good prenatal vitamin should include this in some form as it can help the baby’s spinal cord and brain development and potentially protect against defects in the neural tube.

DHA and EPA: These are fatty acids which are important for your baby’s brain development. Some women opt for a DHA and EPA supplement in the form of a fish oil or algal oil supplement.

Vitamin D: The NHS recommends taking a daily vitamin D supplement during pregnancy. You’ll need 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day.

Vitamin A and C: Vitamin A supports the baby’s eye and organ development, while vitamin C can help maintain both foetal and maternal health. Taking these vitamins is linked to reduced complications in pregnancy, such as preeclampsia and preterm birth. However, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists warns that “Too much vitamin A can harm the development of your baby’s nervous system. During pregnancy, avoid any supplements that contain more than 700 micrograms (µg) of vitamin A and don’t eat foods such as liver, liver products (pâté) or fish liver oils that may contain this vitamin in high levels.”

Minerals: Minerals are another important ingredient to look for in prenatal vitamins. Some of these include magnesium, calcium, zinc and iodine. Your doctor may also recommend that you take iron, although these needs vary from person to person, so only take iron after consulting with your doctor.

In addition to ensuring that your prenatal vitamin provides you with all the essential nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy, it’s also important to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. Supplements can only provide support to a healthy lifestyle and cannot deliver everything your body requires during pregnancy.

What factors should I consider when looking for a prenatal vitamin?

When choosing the best prenatal vitamin for you, the most important thing is that it contains a well-rounded list of all the necessary nutrients to support the demands of pregnancy. Look for supplements that are made of good quality ingredients without too many fillers, and that are free from artificial additives. Another crucial factor is ensuring that the supplement you choose is vetted by your GP or midwife before you start taking it.

Have a look at our picks for the best prenatal vitamins to help support your pregnancy journey. It’s important to note that all of these supplements are to be taken as part of a healthy lifestyle and are not a substitute for a varied diet.

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The best prenatal vitamins you can buy in 2023

1. Vitabiotics Pregnacare Before Conception: The best pre-pregnancy prenatal vitamin

Price: £9 (30 tablets) | Buy now from Superdrug

To help maximise the chances of conception, this highly-rated and popular prenatal vitamin by Vitabiotics provides micronutrients including inositol, l-arginine, n-acetyl cysteine and selenium. It’s free from preservatives, gluten, gelatin, artificial colours, salt and yeast so shouldn’t cause any bloating.

With ingredients including vitamin B12 and 400 micrograms of folic acid, this multivitamin has the exact levels recommended by the NHS for women trying to conceive. Many women who took this supplement praised it for helping them get pregnant during their first cycle of trying.

Key specs – Type: Tablet; Dosage: One per day; Dietary: Gluten free; made on site that may handle nuts

Buy now from Superdrug

2. Proceive Trimester 1: The best first trimester prenatal vitamin

Price: £20 (60 capsules) | Buy now from Holland & Barrett

This supplement by Proceive is tailored to support you and your baby in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The supplement comes in capsule form and contains 29 vitamins, minerals and amino acids, including all-important folic acid. It also provides calcium and vitamin D support to help maintain normal bone development.

The main reason this supplement is great for that first trimester is that the formula focuses on supporting hormone balance, cell division (the period of rapid growth) and energy (the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are notoriously exhausting). The vitamin B1, iron, magnesium and vitamin B2 included are all key players for reducing tiredness and fatigue and boosting those energy levels.

Key specs – Type: Capsule; Dosage: Two per day; Dietary: Suitable for vegans and vegetarians; from week 13, move on to Proceive Pregnancy Trimester 2

Buy now from Holland & Barrett

3. Proceive Conception & Pregnancy: The best prenatal vitamin for conception and pregnancy

Price: £20 (60 capsules) | Buy now from Boots

Plenty of women praised these vitamins for helping reduce those dreaded pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea, and that they were also easier to swallow as they come in capsule form. Each dosage contains the daily requirement of omega 3 with DHA. DHA contributes to the normal development of a baby’s brain and eyesight.

In addition, this prenatal supplement also helps the proper function of the baby’s heart. It’s one of the only supplements on our list that helps women before, during and after pregnancy and can see you through the entire pregnancy journey.

Key specs – Type: Capsules; Dosage: Two capsules once a day; Dietary: Contains fish oil

Buy now from Boots

4. Solgar Prenatal Nutrient: The best prenatal vitamin for pregnancy and breastfeeding

Price: £10 (60 tablets) | Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy

Yet another great prenatal vitamin that is suitable for before, during and after pregnancy, the Solgar Prenatal Nutrient can support your body not only while you try to conceive, but also during pregnancy and breastfeeding, too.

This supplement includes vitamin B3, vitamin D, vitamin C and vitamin E, which can all contribute to reducing fatigue and protecting cells from oxidative stress. If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any other medication, make sure to consult with your GP before taking these.

Key specs – Type: Tablet; Dosage: Two per day; Dietary: Kosher, vegan, free from gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, preservatives, artificial flavours and colours

Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy

5. Pregnacare Him & Her Conception: The best prenatal vitamins for couples

Price: £20 (60 tablets) | Buy now from Boots

You may think that prenatal vitamins are only for women, but this isn’t the case. To increase the chances of conceiving, both parents-to-be should be taking a good supplement. With two blister packs in the box – one for women and one for men – these micronutrient tablets include all the vitamins and minerals you need to help increase the likelihood of a healthy conception.

The tablet for her includes 400 micrograms of folic acid to help maintain healthy foetal development and vitamin B12 to support reproductive health and conception. The tablet for him is formulated with zinc to support the male reproductive system. It also includes selenium to assist sperm formation and mobility.

Key specs – Type: Tablet; Dosage: One per day (pink blister for women, purple blister for men); Dietary: Contains soya

Buy now from Boots

6. Seven Seas Trying for a Baby: The best value prenatal vitamins

Price: £6 (28 tablets) | Buy now from Boots

This is another great supplement for when you’re trying to get pregnant. It contains vitamin B6, which helps regulate hormones, and other essential vitamins and minerals to support fertility and normal reproduction. After trying for months to conceive, many women said these vitamins successfully helped them get pregnant.

What we love about this vitamin is that you can continue taking it for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy while the baby’s spine is still developing. As with most good prenatal supplements, this Seven Seas product contains the precise recommended dose of 400 micrograms of folic acid with iron and vitamin D.

Key specs – Type: Tablet; Dosage: One per day; Dietary: No common allergens, best taken with food

Buy now from Boots

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