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How do I Choose the Best over-The-Counter Prenatal Vitamins?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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Every pregnant woman should be taking a daily prenatal vitamin, whether prescription or over-the-counter. If you choose the latter, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of choices available, but there are a few ways to narrow down your selection. First, you need to make sure that the over-the-counter prenatal vitamins that you are considering include the correct quantity of nutrients for pregnant women. You should also consider your preferences when it comes to the type of pill and frequency of ingestion. Finally, you should include the cost in your decision, since you will be taking the vitamins for nearly a year, perhaps longer if you breastfeed.

Most over-the-counter prenatal vitamins include about the same types of minerals, but the amount of each often varies. The majority of supplements contain vitamins A, C, D, E, B6, and B12, as well as zinc, iron, niacin, folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, and calcium. Some brands add more of a certain mineral to their vitamins than others, such as iron or folic acid, so ask your doctor if such over-the-counter prenatal vitamins would be beneficial to you. Additionally, be aware that most vitamins do not contain the proper amount of calcium for pregnant, women since the addition of this mineral often makes pills quite large, so consider taking a calcium supplement as well.

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If you have trouble swallowing large pills, you should find out the size of the over-the-counter prenatal vitamins before you purchase them. If you do not enjoy swallowing pills at all, consider chewable over-the-counter prenatal vitamins, as they often have a pleasant flavor and are better tolerated by pregnant women who cannot swallow normal pills. You can also take the liquid form, but be aware that some contain herbs not recommended for pregnant women, so check with your doctor and look at reviews before you go this route. You may also be surprised to find that some types of over-the-counter prenatal vitamins require you to take more than one a day, sometimes up to six, so be sure to find out the recommend dosage if you do not think you could fit that many pills into your daily routine.

Affordability should also be factored in, particularly if you are either not yet pregnant, or plan on breastfeeding, as you will likely be taking over-the-counter prenatal vitamins for at least a year. Most people like to save up money during their pregnancy since having a child is quite expensive, so spending a lot of money on a pill for over nine months is not recommended unless you have budgeted for it. Keep in mind that just because a pill is more expensive than others, does not mean that it is better. Instead, compare the ingredients of the most expensive brands to those of store brands. If they are about the same, and your doctor has no issue with you taking the cheaper brand, it should be okay to save money by purchasing the less expensive version.

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candyquilt
Post 3

@fBoyle-- That's a great idea. I was reading about it the other day, how omega 3 is very important during pregnancy. I ought to take it too.

My only issue is that my vitamins have to be small or they have to be gummy vitamins because I have trouble swallowing large pills. And price is important for me too. I'm already spending a lot of money on quality fresh produce. So I can't afford the most expensive prenatal vitamin right now. I'm not even pregnant yet. Once I'm pregnant, I might get something more expensive. Right now, since I'm trying to get pregnant, I'm just using a store brand prenatal vitamin. It seems fine.

fBoyle
Post 2

There really are so many different kinds of prenatal vitamins out there. A new one seems to be added to the shelves every day.

I don't enjoy taking lots of different vitamins per day. So I got something that is very comprehensive. It doesn't just have the essential vitamins and minerals, but also DHA (found in Omega 3) and probiotics. It's a lot of stuff in one pill but it makes my life easier. I just have to take this and that's it.

ddljohn
Post 1

Aside from the supplement having all of the vitamins and minerals I need, I'm also worried about quality. I wasn't something natural and pure. I don't want any unnecessary additives. Even though well know brands cost a little bit more, I think there is a difference in terms of quality. That's why I've decided to go with a reputable brand for my prenatal vitamins.

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