The Best Prenatal Vitamins

If you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant, you should first talk to your doctor about your dietary needs. But if your doctor recommends prenatal vitamins, we have some suggestions. We surveyed the ingredients labels of 67 over-the-counter brands, and then talked to a panel of doctors to find out what to look for in the best prenatal vitamin. The answer: a safe and effective amount of folate, a few key nutrients, plus a third-party to vet it — so you actually know what you're taking.

The 3 Best Prenatal Vitamins

Best
Comprehensive Prenatal
The Honest Company Prenatal Multivitamin
The Honest Company
The Honest Company offers the best all-around mix of nutrients, but at a higher price than our other picks
Pros
Every essential ingredient
+1 extra credit nutrient
Vanilla aftertaste
Cons
Bigger capsules
Higher price

Why we chose it

Every essential ingredient

This capsule contains 650 mcg of folate, which is a high dose without going near the daily recommended maximum. And if you need a little more iron, calcium, or iodine in your system, The Honest Co. has 27 mg of iron, 200 mg of calcium, and 200 mcg of iodine — more than our other top picks.

If vitamin D is a concern for you, The Honest Company Prenatal Multivitamin has plenty: 1,400 IU, verified through Labdoor’s third-party testing. Our bodies produce vitamin D naturally when exposed to sunlight, but a 2009 study published in Scientific American shows at least three-fourths of American teens and adults are still vitamin D-deficient. One study suggests women take a whopping 1,000-2,000 I.U. of vitamin D a day, but most prenatals don’t have those high levels.

+1 extra credit nutrient

Like Deva, this prenatal vitamin also contains a bit of choline (30 mg to Deva’s 50). Again, that’s not enough to truly be effective, but it’s more than Garden of Life’s zero. Overall, the Honest Company’s prenatal really loads up on all the essentials.

Vanilla aftertaste

The Honest Co. adds natural vanilla to its prenatal vitamins for flavor. The immediate aftertaste is surprisingly pleasant as a result. Amazon reviewers were split on whether this is a pro, though: Some found the vanilla flavor not to be very gentle for those suffering morning sickness. For others, the vanilla hint was the only way they could get it down. Either way, don’t let it sit on your tongue; the coating does come off and reveals a salt-water fishy taste.

Points to consider

Bigger capsules

This pill’s the largest of our picks at a bit wider than a quarter. If you know swallowing pills is tough for you, consider Deva’s littler tablets instead.

Higher price

A bottle of 30 supplements costs $20 — that’s $0.66 per tablet, or six times the price of each Deva vitamin.

Best
Prenatal for Low-Folate Diets
Deva Vegan Prenatal Multivitamin
Deva
A high-folate vitamin that’s best for women who get very little folate in their diets
Pros
Every essential ingredient
+1 extra credit nutrient
Affordable
Convenient
Cons
Higher folate levels
Insufficient vitamin D
Tastes like medicine

Why we chose it

Every necessary nutrient

Deva’s Vegan Prenatal Multivitamin had every nutrient we were looking for, plus it was third-party tested, had no artificial sweeteners, and contained safe and effective levels of folic acid. That last part is rarer than it might sound: The research around folic acid being absorbed at higher concentrations than folate pushes many supplements over the upper tolerance level of 1,000 mcg DFE. However, Deva’s conversion managed to maintain that safe-but-effective balance at 935 mcg. Among the products that met our requirements, this was easily the most folate equivalent without going over the maximum recommended amount, making it great for women who get very little folate in their diets.

+1 extra credit nutrient

Deva Vegan Prenatal Multivitamin had the most choline of the supplements that passed our criteria. Choline has only recently gained traction as an important nutrient during pregnancy, and most supplements don’t include it yet. Though Deva’s 50 mg of choline isn’t quite enough to make a significant impact, any at all is a bonus.

Affordable

Deva offers those nutrients at a cheaper price than either of our other picks. A bottle of Deva’s supplement is only $10 for 90 servings ($0.11 per serving), which means $50 will get you about 15 months worth of Deva Vegan vitamins (perfect for continuing supplements during lactation.)

Convenient

The tablets are the smallest of our top picks — smaller than a quarter — and you only have to take one pill per day.

Points to consider

High folate levels

The amount of daily folate equivalent in Deva (935 mg) is near the tolerable upper limit recommended by the CDC (1,000 mg). So, if you eat a lot of folate-rich foods (leafy greens, beans, fruits, and grains), Deva might put you over that threshold. If you have a folate-heavy diet, we recommend The Honest Company’s prenatal vitamin, which contains less folate (650 mg) and is less likely to put you over the recommended limit.

Insufficient vitamin D

Third-party testing company Labdoor found Deva’s prenatal to carry 85% less vitamin D than the label claims — only 60 IU, instead of 400. But we feel that Deva’s overall nutritional benefits — particularly when it comes to folate and choline — were still worth recommending. If you live in a sunnier area or already take a vitamin D supplement, Deva is the best prenatal multivitamin. For those who want to prioritize vitamin D, The Honest Company Prenatal Multivitamin passed Labdoor’s vitamin D label claim testing with 1,000 IU.

Tastes like medicine

You’ll want to swallow these tablets quick: As their coating wears off, a bile-heavy after-taste seeps in. Still, we’d take a small, bad-tasting tablet over a big horse pill any day. And remember, you only need one per day.

Best
Food-Based Prenatal
Garden of Life myKind Organics Prenatal Multi
Garden of Life
Complete prenatal nutrition from organic, food-based sources
Pros
Every essential ingredient
Entirely food-based
Cons
Less convenient
Pricey

Why we chose it

Every essential ingredient

As our only fully food-based recommendation, Garden of Life is great for people who prioritize organics and food-sourced nutrients. You’ll get all the recommended nutrients while maintaining your dedication to all things natural. Keep in mind, though, that natural nutrients doesn’t mean more nutrients: Compared to our other top picks, Garden of Life has less folate (800 mcg), calcium (15 mg), and iron (18 mg).

Entirely food-based

Garden of Life uses only food-based ingredients, with the source of each listed on the label: Its folate is derived from organic broccoli, and its vitamin C comes from organic lemon. The vitamin is also organic, vegan, and gluten free. Food-based vitamins are often claimed to be easier on your stomach and healthier because they’re derived from natural sources; however, there isn’t conclusive evidence proving they’re superior to vitamins with nutrients created in a lab. If these kinds of supplements give you peace of mind, though, Garden of Life is your best bet for food-based prenatal vitamins.

Points to consider

Less convenient

Garden of Life is our only pick that requires you take three tablets daily. Especially since they’re quarter-sized, we could see the routine of downing one of these grassy-tasting tablets with every meal
getting old pretty quickly.

Pricey

A bottle of 180 tablets for $80 means that each tablet costs $0.44 (less than The Honest Co.’s supplements), however, you’ll be taking three per day. So your ultimate daily cost will be much higher than either of our other recommendations (about $1.33/day).

How to Find the Right Prenatal Vitamin for You

Always consult with your doctor

Every woman has unique nutritional needs. Some need more iron than others, while others need more calcium. If you live in a cloudy area or really slather on the sunscreen, you might need a higher dosage of vitamin D. The best way to know what’s best for you is to talk to your doctor.

Don’t rely on a vitamin alone for nutrition during pregnancy

Our expert panel emphasized the fact that prenatal vitamins can’t completely compensate for a poor diet during pregnancy. Good supplements supplement healthy eating habits and conscientious nutrition.

Dr. Scott Sullivan, an associate professor at the Medical University of South Carolina told us, “Some people need even more supplementation; other people need to pay attention their diet as well.”

Prenatal Vitamin FAQ

Do I really need to take a prenatal vitamin?

Every doctor we talked to unanimously agreed: Taking a prenatal vitamin regularly before and during pregnancy is a smart idea. It can only help reduce the risk of birth defects and improve your own health during pregnancy.

But what about the study that said they’re unnecessary?

A 2016 study published in the journal Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin concluded that only folic acid and vitamin D are necessary in supplement form for growing fetuses; our experts questioned the research.

“While I think it was a nice review, it wasn’t really a study,” Dr. Sullivan told us. “There wasn’t any new data … it was an opinion piece.”

Why is folate so important?

Inadequate folate levels early in pregnancy can lead to neural tube defects, which sometimes result in infants being born with paralyzed legs or improperly formed skulls, among other problems. Doctors and researchers widely agree that pregnant women and women trying to conceive should take folate (or its synthetic alter ego, folic acid) in supplement form.

How can I work more folate into my diet?

Folate exists naturally in leafy green vegetables (brussels sprouts have some of the highest folate levels of any food) as well as fruit, grains, beans, and some dairy products. Folic acid is also added to most breads, grains, pasta, and cereals manufactured in the US, following a 1998 government mandate aimed at improving general public health.

When should I start taking prenatal vitamins?

Neural tube defects happen during the first month of pregnancy, when a fetus is in the earliest stages of development. Since it’s critical to have sufficient levels of folic acid during those first weeks of pregnancy, doctors recommend women start taking a daily prenatal vitamin one or two months before trying to conceive (this includes undergoing in vitro fertilization).

The Best Prenatal Vitamins: Summed Up

The Honest Company Prenatal Once Daily Multivitamin
Deva Vegan Prenatal Multivitamin
Garden of Life myKind Organics Prenatal Multi
Best Comprehensive Prenatal
Best Prenatal for Low-Folate Diets
Best Food-Based Prenatal
Folate or Daily Folate Equivalent (DFE)
650 mcg
935 mcg
800 mcg
Choline
30 mg
50 mg
0 mg
Price per Serving
$0.67
$0.11
$1.33
Synthetic or Food-Based Ingredients
Both
Synthetic
Food-based