What Prenatal Vitamin Should I Take?

One of the most important things you can do when you are pregnant is to take prenatal pills. Not only are they beneficial for your health, they are vital for the development of your baby.

But with so many prenatal vitamins to choose from, knowing which pill is best for you can be a difficult decision.

How do you know which version that you need?

How do you determine if you need a prescribed prenatal pill or an over the counter version?

Which additional vitamins and minerals are available to address other health concerns related to the pregnancy?

All these questions and more are reason enough to distinguish between the various options and determine which fits best in your situation.

Prescription Pills

The biggest difference between prescription prenatal pills and those you can buy over the counter is the concentration of folic acid.

Many prescription pills have a higher amount of the protein, sometimes reaching as much as 1000 mcg.

This amount is the absolute maximum that your body can absorb, and whatever is not absorbed right away, passes out of the system through your urine.

It is this high level of folic acid that normally makes women feel nauseous after taking prenatal pills.

Otherwise, prescription prenatal pills have the same vitamins and minerals, and about the same amounts, as over-the-counter pills.

Over-The-Counter Pills

A straight line comparison between the two options will show minimal variations between vitamins A, B complex vitamins, vitamins C, D, E, K, calcium, copper, iodine, magnesium, and zinc.
As long as you do not have any deficiencies in these nutrients, then you will get the same benefit from prescription prenatal pills as you will from a regular over-the-counter pill. You should consult your healthcare provider if you are concerned.

Iron Enhanced Over-The-Counter Pills

Women who are suffering from anemia have low iron levels, which results in feeling cold. Even if you did not have anemia before getting pregnant, you can possibly develop the condition during pregnancy. Iron enhanced pills are often needed by pregnant women, as the fetus will begin to deplete the mothers iron level by week 20, and without a supplement, both the mother and fetus may become ill.
That is why many doctors will prescribe iron pills to expecting mother in addition to prenatal pills as a precaution. But with an over-the-counter prenatal pill that is iron enhanced, most pregnant women can avoid taking the extra pill and get their iron supply from the enhanced pill.

Folic Acid Enhanced Pills

The most common vitamin deficiency is folic acid, which is critically important for embryos because they need it for proper spinal development during the earliest stages of development.

That is why mothers are encouraged to take folic acid even before they get pregnant to ensure that their womb has a sufficient supply from the very start.

Folic acid helps to produce healthy red blood cells and allow for normal cell division and bone formation.

When combined with vitamin B12, folic acid also aids in the development of brain neurotransmitters while structuring the DNA.

DHA and Omega-3 Enhanced Pills

Omega-3 fatty acid are usually supplemented with fish oil, but prenatal pills are often enhanced with DHA, a specific type of omega-3 that aides in fetal development and growth. While in the womb, the fetus needs DHA in order to develop proper immune function and in order for the nervous system to fully form.

Eye health is also contributed to DHA levels while in the womb, as well as brain formation.

Later in life, after the fetus is born, the fatty acid consumed during pregnancy will determine brain development, learning habits, and concentration abilities.

Additional Considerations

The size of the pills can be a deterrence from wanting to take the pills. Most prenatal pills are double the size of an aspirin, which makes them difficult to swallow. That is why some prescribed prenatal pills are separated into three pills as opposed to one large pill. That will help expecting mothers consume the full range of nutrients needed while reducing the size of the pills to make them easier to swallow.

Over the counter pills are generally one single pill, and if they are too big to swallow whole, they can be split in half to reduce their size.

How the pills make you feel is another consideration that will dictate how you take the prenatal pills. Many women experience nausea if they take the pill during the day. The way to avoid that feeling from overcoming your body to take the pill at night before bed.

This allows you to take the pill after you’ve eaten dinner so there is something in your stomach and sleep through any possible side effects.

Other women find that if they eat before they take the pill, then they are able to elevate that feeling.

Regardless of your selection, prenatal care is vital. Your fetus is drawing nutrients from your body, and taking prenatal pills replenishes that supply. Without them, your body will become deficient, which could lead to the development of anemia, preeclampsia or even cause a miscarriage.

If you’re wondering which prenatal vitamin is right for you, talk to your healthcare provider.  If you have additional questions about your pregnancy, contact Your First Look.