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Whether you’re pregnant, trying for a baby or undergoing fertility treatment, it’s important that you are healthy and well-prepared for what’s to come.
You may already be aware of what you can and can’t eat, but what about choosing a prenatal vitamin?
What are prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are supplements that contain all the vitamins and minerals you need throughout pregnancy and beyond. Some prenatal vitamins can be taken while trying for a baby and continued into pregnancy, while others just help to give your body a boost and aid conception.
What are the benefits of prenatal vitamins?
Despite your best efforts at eating healthily, during pregnancy you may find that your body falls short of key nutrients. Prenatal vitamins help to up your nutrient levels and ensure that your baby is developing as they should. For example, taking folic acid reduces the risk of serious neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
We’ve trawled expert review sites and the Mumsnet forums to find out which prenatal vitamins our users recommend and reveal our top picks below.
Here are the best prenatal vitamins to buy in 2021.
1. Best overall prenatal vitamins: Vitabiotics Pregnacare Liquid
Price: £7.95 for 200ml | Buy now from Amazon
“I struggled to keep my Pregnacare down so I've been using the liquid version! Just two teaspoons a day, tastes like orange and stays down.” Moggymorn
“I take Pregnacare Liquid as I struggle with tablets.” Joeylucy
“I'd recommend the Pregnacare Liquid as well. It has an orange flavour and you keep it in the fridge so it’s pretty palatable. I had hyperemesis and found it near impossible to swallow the tablets.” Suite88
Vitabiotics Pregnacare Liquid is hugely popular among mums-to-be, particularly those who struggle swallowing tablets.
This orange-flavoured liquid is gentle on the stomach, which makes it ideal for women who are suffering from morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum (severe nausea and morning sickness), and who struggle to keep vitamin pills down.
Packed with no less than 18 vitamins and minerals, including the recommended dosage of folic acid and vitamin D, Pregnacare Liquid is also suitable for vegetarians.
For those who like their vitamins on the solid side, Pregnacare is also available in tablet form.
- Good for women who can’t swallow tablets
- Great option for those with morning sickness
- Pleasant flavour
- Taking too much can have a laxative effect
- Not suitable for women on Warfarin and other oral anticoagulants (blood thinners)
2. Best value prenatal vitamins: Boots Folic Acid + Vitamin D
Price: £3.80 for 60 tablets | Buy now from Boots
“You can get a combined folic acid and vitamin D supplement in Boots’ own range.” 2021ComeAtMe
There are two things that every mum-to-be needs during pregnancy - folic acid and vitamin D. And Boots’ own-brand tablets deliver the recommended dose of both for just a fraction of the price of its competitors.
Free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives, and lactose-free to boot, just take one tablet a day to help keep you and your baby healthy and well.
- Delivers both essential vitamins needed for pregnancy
- If you need extra nutrients, you’ll need to buy an additional product
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3. Best chewable prenatal vitamins: Bump and Me Folic Acid Pregnancy Vitamin Gummies
Price: £12.99 for 60 tablets | Buy now from Amazon
“I have recently started on Known’s Bump and Me. They are chewy gums and so much easier. They are a fair bit more expensive though and you take two a day. They have vitamins C, D, K B12, E and then folic acid, biotin and zinc. I got them from Amazon.” catinthehat12
If you struggle to swallow tablets, the Bump and Me Folic Acid Pregnancy Vitamin Gummies are a great alternative.
These raspberry-flavoured chewable gums contain eight vitamins and nutrients, including the recommended dose of folic acid. As well as being the perfect one-stop-shop in terms of pregnancy vitamins, Bump and Me vitamins are also recommended for the conception stage too.
- Good for those who can’t take tablets
- Nice flavour
- Suitable for vegans
- Pricey compared to other brands - 60 tablets is one month’s supply
4. Best complete prenatal vitamins: Seven Seas Pregnancy Multivitamin with Folic Acid
Price: From £4.19 for 28 tablets | Buy now from Amazon
“Personally I prefer the Seven Seas one to the Pregnacare ones. They have ginger in [them] so are more soothing on the tummy - the Pregnacare ones made me feel really nauseous.” SillyBry
“I changed to Seven seas ones and felt so much better within a day!” Lotsalotsagiggles
Seven Seas has provided everything you could possibly need for the duration of your pregnancy in one handy box.
Containing no less than 21 vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, vitamin D and iron, these tablets also come with added ginger to help with morning sickness and nausea.
If you’re looking for prenatal vitamins to take beyond pregnancy, Seven Seas also offers a Pregnancy Plus vitamin which helps to support breastfeeding.
- Great for morning sickness
- No other supplements needed
- Only one month’s supply per box
5. Best folic acid prenatal vitamin: Natures Aid Folic Acid
Price: £3.29 for 90 tablets | Buy now from Amazon
“I use Nature’s Aid along with their folic acid tablets. I like them because they’re small and I struggle taking tablets!” WalkingMeAway
When trying for a baby, experts recommend taking folic acid supplements for three months before conception. This handy tub of tablets from Natures Aid provides a three month supply of your recommended daily dose. One tub will also see you through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
As well as containing no artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, lactose, yeast or gluten, Natures Aid Folic Acid has also received a big thumbs up from the Vegan Society.
- Suitable for vegans and vegetarians
- Great value
- Easy to swallow
- No Vitamin D included
- Need to buy additional products for other vitamins
6. Best prenatal vitamins for fertility: Zita West Vitafem Boost
Price: £27.50 for 60 tablets | Buy now from Amazon
“I'm trying Zita West vitamins Boost this month because I'd heard really good things about them.” A1b2c3d4e5f6g7
“Thank you so very much for your comments. I know it helped me when I was trying to see how many others conceived at 40 plus. I didn't do anything in particular but two things really: regular sex and I used Zita West vitamins and that was it!” Ttc2020no2
It may be on the pricey side, but Mumsnetters swear by Zita West Vitafem Boost when it comes to trying to conceive (TTC).
The supplements contain antioxidants such as Vitamin E and Manganese to neutralise damaging free radicals which have been linked to poor egg quality. It’s particularly good for women over 40 who are TTC.
- Enhances fertility
- Good choice for older women
- Pricey - only one month’s supply per bottle
- To be used in conjunction with another multivitamin supplement - not intended as a standalone alternative
7. Best natural prenatal vitamins: NATURELO Prenatal Multivitamin
Price: £39.75 for 180 capsules | Buy now from Amazon
“I take Naturelo as they were one of the few that had the recommended amount of folate.” Janefx40
“I used it! Felt good throughout and baby was healthy.” Pamparam
“I eventually decided on the Naturelo Prenatal as it was recommended in the fertility book It Starts with the Egg. Two capsules a day gives you more than the NHS recommended dose of folate, Vitamin D3, B12 and iron amongst others.” IamnotwhouthinkIam
Plant-based Naturelo Prenatal Multivitamin is jam-packed full of 25 nutrients to support you and your baby throughout pregnancy.
Easy to digest and absorb, these supplements even include a gentle non-constipating form of iron to help make those nine months just a little bit easier.
These great all-round supplements are non-GMO (produced without genetic engineering), contain no preservatives, colours or flavouring, and are suitable for vegans. The only downside is the tablets are quite large, so if you have difficulty swallowing tablets, you may want to consider something else.
- Contains no soya, gluten, yeast, gelatin, dairy and sugar
- Plant-based formula
- Good for the preconception stage
- Large tablets
- Pricey - 180 tablets last for just two months
8. Best omega-3 prenatal vitamin: Bare Biology Mums & Bumps Pure Omega-3 Fish Oil Capsules
Price: £19 for 30 capsules | Buy now from Amazon
“I tried Pregnacare and Holland & Barrett ones which came with omega-3 but found the omega-3 supplements had too much of an aftertaste (plus they made my morning sickness even worse!). I've now got Bare Biology Omega-3 - not cheap but they seem good!” WetherspoonsCarpet
“A private fertility doctor recommended the following: Bare Biology Omega-3.” Elsbeth1
Omega-3 fatty acids are important in pregnancy as they help to develop baby’s eyes and brain. But if you don’t get enough omega-3 in your diet, don’t worry, because fish oil capsules can help.
Mumsnetters rate the Bare Biology Mums & Bumps Pure Omega-3 Fish Oil Capsules highly, with each daily capsule providing more omega-3 than a whole tin of sardines.
The capsules are made from sustainably caught fish and, unlike other fish oil capsules, don’t contain vitamin A, which means they are perfectly safe for pregnant women.
But the best bit is that these tablets are gentle on the stomach and easy to absorb, so there’s no chance of any fishy burps after swallowing.
- Free from pork or beef gelatin
- Not suitable for women on blood thinning medication
9. Best prenatal vitamins when trying to get pregnant: Proceive Conception for Women
Price: £20.53 for 60 capsules | Buy now from Amazon
“We [DH and I] both take them. We’ve been taking them for about three months now and started a month or so before starting to TTC. I really liked the idea that they ‘prepare’ your body for conception and supposedly give you all the vitamins and nutrients it needs.” Danani
“Proceive I've used and they were good, and also have methyl-folate in them - more absorbable than folic acid.” A1b2c3d4e5f6g7
With 28 vitamins, minerals and amino acids crammed into one capsule, Proceive Conception for Women contains pretty much everything you need when TTC.
These twice-a-day fertility supplements support egg production, cell division and boosts your immune system and energy levels.
Proceive Conception also offers a dual pack for men and women so you can make sure your other half is getting all the vitamins and minerals they need too.
- Suitable for vegetarians
- May make your wee turn yellow
- Recommended for women under 35 only
10. Best prenatal vitamins for IVF: Health Thru Nutrition Ubiquinol (with Kaneka)
Price: £20.99 for 30 capsules | Buy now from Amazon
“I used it for my successful IVF cycle at age 40 (you need to use it for around three months before it has an effect). Obviously I can't say that this was what made the difference but I'm sure it contributed - there’s evidence to support that it helps egg quality in older women. Those called Kaneka Ubiquinol are generally the highest quality - and the most expensive!” SamoyedFan123
“Yes, I take Ubiquinol. I'd read a lot about it before starting. Apparently if the packet has kaneka on it, the active ingredient is absorbed easier/better. Something to do with it being oil-soluble.” Elouera
Many mums and mums-to-be swear by Ubiquinol as fertility aid. The science behind the supplement is that it contains antioxidant coenzyme Q10 which helps to stop cell damage. This includes egg cells, which means that Ubiquinol can potentially improve egg quality. The added ingredient kaneka enables the Q10 to be absorbed into the body more quickly.
And as an extra bonus, Ubiquinol is also great for your heart and brain health too.
- Aids fertility
- Doesn’t contain folic acid or vitamin D
- You’ll need to switch to pregnancy supplement once pregnant
When should I start taking a prenatal vitamin and for how long?
Eggs mature inside your body about three months before they are released into the womb, so you might like to start taking prenatal vitamins three months before you start trying for a baby.
But if the pregnancy was unplanned, or spur of the moment, don’t worry - just start taking them as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
You should take folic acid every day from before you're pregnant right up until 12 weeks of pregnancy. It’s also recommended that you take a daily vitamin D supplement right through to the end of your pregnancy.
Prenatal vitamins can be found in your local pharmacy, health food shop or online retailers such as Amazon – but always speak to your doctor if you’re concerned you’re not getting enough vitamins, or have suffered from vitamin deficiency in the past.
What happens if you don't take prenatal vitamins while pregnant?
Folic acid is by far the most important vitamin to take during pregnancy. Folic acid can help prevent birth defects, known as neural tube defects, including spina bifida (where the bones of the spine don't form correctly around the spinal cord) and anencephaly (where part of the brain, skull and scalp don't form properly).
Prenatal vitamins can help to boost your overall health, but these should not be a substitute for a healthy diet.
How do I choose a prenatal vitamin?
Whether you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, there are a number of things you should consider when choosing a prenatal vitamin.
It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to get the correct dose of folic acid. The NHS recommends taking 400 micrograms of folic acid a day while trying to conceive and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, as the first trimester is when your baby's neural tube develops and defects may occur. Most prenatal supplements will contain the recommended 400mcg of folic acid.
However, you will need a higher dose of folic acid if you have a child or close relative with a neural tube defect such as spina bifida (or if you or your partner do), if you have diabetes, take anti-epilepsy medicine or take antiretroviral medicine for HIV. If any of these apply to you, your doctor will write you a prescription for a higher dose of folic acid.
You can also get more folic acid into your diet through eating lots of green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, fortified cereals, and citrus fruits, but it’s difficult to get all the folic acid you need from food alone, so it’s worth taking a supplement too.
The second most important ingredient in prenatal supplements is vitamin D. According to the NHS, you need 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to summer sunlight, so it’s particularly important to take vitamin D during the winter months.
If your iron levels are low, you’ll get very tired and possibly suffer from anaemia. A multivitamin containing iron will help to keep your levels up. This is particularly important if you are a vegetarian, vegan or following a restricted diet for health reasons. Iron helps your blood to carry oxygen to the placenta.
Other important vitamins and minerals
It’s a good idea to invest in a multivitamin that contains calcium, which helps ensure you don’t lose bone density during pregnancy, and vitamin c, which encourages cell production.
Avoid vitamin A
Make sure the multivitamins you buy are suitable for pregnant women. Some other supplements contain things such as the retinol form of vitamin A or fish liver oil, neither of which are suitable during pregnancy.
Check whether your chosen multivitamin meets your dietary requirements. Some of the products on our list are vegan-friendly, gluten-free and so on while others aren’t.
Tablets or liquid?
If you struggle to swallow tablets, you may wish to consider an alternative, such as a liquid multivitamin or chewable gummies. A liquid supplement may be a good option if you’re suffering from morning sickness and are struggling to keep anything down.
Pregnancy or pre-pregnancy
Make sure you choose a multivitamin or supplement which is suitable for the stage of your pregnancy journey to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
Can you take too much folic acid?
No, but taking more than 1mg of folic acid regularly can cover up the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, which can damage the nervous system if not spotted and treated. This is particularly important if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, as B12 deficiency is more common.
Should I stop taking folic acid after the first three months of pregnancy?
After three months, your baby’s neural tube will have developed, so you can stop taking folic acid if you'd like to. However, you can keep taking the recommended 400mcg per day, especially if it's part of your chosen prenatal supplement.
What prenatal vitamins do doctors recommend?
Every doctor in the land will recommend taking folic acid to help reduce the risk of serious neural tube defects. The neural tube is part of the embryo from which your baby's spine and brain develop, and it's crucial to healthy development.
Your doctor will also recommend taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day. But don’t take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful.
What are the best prenatal vitamins?
Mumsnetters recommend Vitabiotics Pregnacare Liquid. Easier on the stomach than the tablet version, this orange-flavoured liquid is the prenatal multivitamin of choice for women with morning sickness and those who struggle to swallow tablets.
How we chose our recommendations
We scoured Mumsnet forums to find out which prenatal vitamins our users rate highly - and which ones they weren’t impressed by.
We also consulted consumer watchdogs and took note of what they looked for in prenatal vitamins and which brands they were recommending to their readers.
Finally, we collated all that information and then looked at other online reviews to see which prenatal vitamins had received the best recommendations.
Why you should trust us
We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.