If you’ve ever had a baby — or are thinking of having one in the near future — it’s likely that you’ve Googled “best prenatal vitamin” or “prenatal vitamin that won’t make me barf”. Just me? There are so many options out there, many of which are shilled by influencers a with high price tags and fancy branding to try to convince you that they are the “best” and “only” prenatal vitamin you could need.
So what’s worked for me? How did I choose a prenatal vitamin and successfully take it everyday without feeling nauseous or having the fish oil burps? I’m divulging my tips for choosing a prenatal vitamin, taking a prenatal vitamin, and which prenatal vitamin I personally use.
Tips for Choosing a Prenatal Vitamin
Whether you’re browsing Amazon.com or the aisle at your local drugstore, there are probably at least 20 different prenatal vitamin options available. Vegan, gummy, non-GMO, fish-oil free… you name it, they have it. Here’s what I looked for in a prenatal vitamin and what were important factors for me personally.
Choose a Softgel Formulation
Prenatal vitamins usually come in a few formulations: tablets, capsules, caplets, chewables, gummies, and softgels. For me, the clear winner is a softgel. Tablets, caplets, and capsules are often gritty and you can taste the vitamin in your mouth and going down, which is both gross and uncomfortable. Gummies, on the other hand, have varying levels of efficacy according to studies, and often don’t contain the right level of iron that pregnant women need. Softgels have that soft outer coating that is tasteless and smooth, so I don’t taste or feel anything when I swallow them.
Make Sure It’s Actually Fish-Free
Ah – dreaded fish oil burps. They are terrible normally, but even worse when you’re pregnant and nauseous. Make sure you closely read the label on your prenatal to ensure it doesn’t have fish oil. Look where each vitamin is listed alongside the % daily value. Oftentimes its written plainly as “fish oil”, which is easy to catch. Other times, it’s hidden under “Omega 3 Fatty Acids” or “Other ingredients” at the end of the list. Fish oil can be labeled as other names, including DHA, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), EPA (fish oils), fish oils, marine oils, menhaden oil, N3 fatty acids, omega 3 PUFA, polyunsaturated fatty acids, PUFA, W3 fatty acids, and shark liver oil.
Realize That Fancy Branding Doesn’t Mean It’s a Better Product
I see so many women fall victim to the trendy health items that have ads on every podcast, and the truth is that these are often overpriced and have additional fillers or sugars that aren’t needed. You really just need a vitamin that has the appropriate ingredients, not one that comes in a fancy bottle or has a minty aftertaste.
Tips for Taking a Prenatal Vitamin
It sounds silly to give tips for taking a vitamin — after all, you put it in your mouth and swallow it. But I’ve followed a few tips myself that have helped, so I wanted to share.
Take It at Night
To avoid the dreaded aftertaste or nausea that is associated with a prenatal, take it at night. For me, this means taking it immediately after dinner with a full glass of water. If you try that and still feel nauseous, you can take it immediately before bed. This way you’ll (hopefully) fall asleep before the nausea hits. I also find that my mornings can be a bit chaotic, whereas I always remember to take it right after dinner.
Take It with Food
You don’t have to take it with food, but I’ve found that in general taking vitamins (of any kind) alongside food helps settle your stomach a little better. You know yourself best, and if you often feel sick when taking things on an empty stomach, then do the same for your prenatal.
Start Before Trying to Conceive
Obviously you should speak to your doctor about this, but generally you should start taking a prenatal 3 months before you are start trying to get pregnant, and a few months after you deliver. I ended up taking mine after I delivered for a few months (to use up the last bottle I had), and I think it greatly helped me stay healthy.
The Best Prenatal Vitamin I’ve Found
Beware that this may shock you, but the best prenatal vitamin I’ve found is the generic CVS version. Yup. The CVS Health Prenatal Multi+DHA Softgels are the winner winner chicken dinner for me. I try to buy in the 60ct (as it’s a better deal), and try to purchase when they have a BOGO sale or when I have a CVS coupon. Prenatal vitamins are expensive in general, so any way I can save I try to. These don’t have fish oil, don’t make me feel nauseous, and are easy to swallow.