You’re pregnant or planning – congrats! Now it’s time to choose a prenatal vitamin, but with so many options on the market, it can be hard to know what to look for. Ultimately, the decision should be based on your personal needs and preference. Here are five key factors that may be helpful for you to note when choosing a prenatal vitamin.
What to Look for in a Prenatal Vitamin
- Key Nutrients. A prenatal vitamin is intended to help meet mom’s growing nutritional needs and complement a healthy well balanced diet (it’s not a substitute, keep choosing from all of the food groups!). Look for a prenatal supplement that contains key nutrients (as recommended by the Institute of Medicine), like folate, iron, iodine and vitamin D, which help support baby’s development. Calcium is also important, but generally needs to be met through diet or additional supplementation.
- DHA. This essential fatty acid has so many benefits to both mom and baby, including helping to support baby’s developing brain and eyes†. Either take a supplement with DHA included or take it alongside your prenatal vitamin.
- Made Without. Look for a supplement without artificial colors, preservatives, artificial flavors or dyes. Remember what you eat, baby does too!
- Format. One of the most important factors about a prenatal supplement is that you are able to take it. Find the supplement that meets your nutrient needs and is in a format that you are able to consume regularly.
- Formulation. Be a label-reader and talk to your doctor about your specific needs. There are many different formulations on the market and you may tolerate one better than another, so look at the nutrient levels and other added ingredients and select the formulation that suits you best.
Always discuss the supplements that you take with your doctor, healthcare provider or pharmacist. This is an exciting and important time in your life, and it’s critical to stay in open communication with them.