Types of Prenatal Vitamins

Pregnant Woman Holding Different Types Of Prenatal Vitamins In Her Hand

While eating a healthy and balanced diet is one of the best ways to support a healthy pregnancy, it can be difficult to meet the daily recommended vitamin and nutrient intake. This is why many professionals suggest supplementing your diet with a good prenatal vitamin while trying to conceive and during pregnancy.

With so many different types of prenatal vitamins available, how do you know which one is best for you?

First and foremost, it is highly recommended to consult with your healthcare provider about the vitamins you’re taking. Some obstetricians will prescribe certain vitamins based on your individual nutritional needs, or they will be able to assist you in choosing the right over-the-counter (OTC) prenatal vitamin for your pregnancy.

In the meantime, we’ve compiled a short list below to help you discern between the various types of prenatal vitamins currently available on the market.

Organic & Vegan Vitamins

Vitamins are commonly derived from animal sources. As such, if you’re in the market for a vegan prenatal vitamin, you’ll want to ensure the nutrients contained within are all plant-based. There are also vitamins that are certified to be made from organic sources.

Many organic/vegan prenatal vitamins will be made available in tablet-form rather than capsules, as capsules are usually made from gelatin, which is derived from animal ingredients.

Keep in mind there are pros and cons to each type of vitamin. Some disadvantages associated with vitamins in tablet form include:

  • Limited protection (no gelatin coating) for sensitive ingredients
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • May cause gastrointestinal irritation
  • Potentially poor breakdown and absorption in the GI tract
  • Potential sensitivities to tablet coating(s)

Due to these disadvantages associated with tablets, it may be more suitable to find an organic/vegan prenatal vitamin that utilizes veggie capsules.

With some vitamins, you will have the choice of animal or plant-based sources, such as with vitamin D. If you are vegan, vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, is the plant-based version you would choose. However, the animal counterpart, vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol, has been said to be better absorbed and declines in action slower than D2 (though other studies have shown that it is as effective). Therefore, it is important to be aware of advantages and disadvantages when choosing a vegan supplement.

Prescription Vitamins

Prescription prenatal vitamins may be an option for you during your pregnancy; however, it’s important to note that having a prescription is not a requirement.

Many women associate prescriptions with a higher quality prenatal vitamin, yet this is not always accurate.

What is important are the ingredients within the prenatal vitamin. There are multivitamins that can be an excellent prenatal vitamin because they contain adequate amounts of iodine, folate, vitamin D, vitamin B, calcium, and other vital nutrients needed in higher levels during pregnancy.

Checking in with your physician for your specific needs is always important. However, it is good to be aware that prescriptions are not always needed, as there are many natural OTC alternatives available!

One potential benefit of having a prescription for prenatal vitamins is that your insurance plan may cover most, if not all of the cost.

OTC (Over-the-Counter)

OTC prenatal vitamins can be purchased without a prescription at grocery stores, supercenters, and drug stores, and are usually more cost-effective than those prescribed by your doctor (unless your insurance covers the prescription vitamins).

However, it is important to keep in mind that not all prenatal vitamins are created equal—many OTC brands are formulated with lower-quality ingredients, including synthetic vitamins and mineral salts. This may take some research on your part to find the brands that are held to high-quality standards and ones that include the most necessary vitamins and minerals.

For example, research has shown that natural vitamin E is more biologically active and better retained than its synthetic counterpart. When looking at your OTC prenatal vitamin, you can identify the kind of vitamin E within the formula based on the label—natural vitamin E begins with “d” (d-alpha-tocopherol), while the synthetic version begins with “dl” (dl-alpha-tocopherol).

Research has shown that the human placenta has the ability to deliver natural vitamin E to the fetus much more efficiently than synthetic vitamin E. Moreover, research has also shown a correlation between premature babies and low vitamin E levels.

Choosing Your Prenatal Vitamin

As a soon-to-be mom, it is imperative you supplement with a high-quality prenatal vitamin to support a healthy pregnancy.

You may find it helpful to talk with your healthcare provider as well as other expecting moms to get recommendations or to validate a prenatal vitamin you are considering.

Prenatal Oxylent is a corporate sponsor of the American Pregnancy Association. Here is what we like about their vitamin and why we welcomed them into our family. Prenatal Oxylent® is a premium-quality, easy-to-digest prenatal effervescent multivitamin drink specially formulated to nourish, balance, and support all of our future moms and their babies!

Many women have trouble getting down the large-sized prenatal vitamins during their pregnancy, and some women mention that it is made especially hard when dealing with morning sickness/nausea. Prenatal Oxylent® offers women another option – drinking their prenatal vitamin!

Utilizing high-quality multivitamin/mineral ingredients within the formula, you can trust you and your baby are receiving the essential nutrients needed to support a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Just shake or stir into your favorite beverage, and enjoy.

Here is a look at the quality Ingredients found in Prenatal Oxylent®:

  • Ferrochel® Iron by Albion Minerals at 13 mg 100% DV
  • Vitamin E as D-Alpha Tocopherol at 30 IU 100% DV
  • Methylated Folate as 5-MTHF at 400 mcg 100% DV
  • Iodine as Kelp at 150 mcg 100% DV
  • Choline Bitartrate at 38 mg
  • DimaCal® Calcium by Albion Minerals at 250 mg
  • TRAACS® Magnesium by Albion Minerals at 100 mg
  • TRAACS® Zinc by Albion Minerals at 15 mg 100% DV
  • TRAACS® Manganese by Albion Minerals at 2 mg 100% DV
  • TRAACS® Chromium by Albion Minerals at 100 mcg
  • Vitamin A as Retinol Palmitate and Beta-Carotene at 2500 IU
  • Vitamin C as Calcium Ascorbate at 520 mg 867% DV
  • Vitamin D3 as Cholecalciferol at 800 IU 200% DV
  • Thiamin at 1.7 mg 100% DV
  • Riboflavin at 2 mg 100% DV
  • Niacin at 20 mg 100% DV
  • Vitamin B6 at 10 mg 400% DV
  • Vitamin B12 at 50 mcg 625% DV
  • Biotin at 300 mcg 100% DV
  • Pantothenic Acid as D-Calcium Pantothenate at 10 mg 100% DV
  • Sodium as Sodium Bicarbonate at 50 mg
  • Potassium as Potassium Bicarbonate at 275 mg

We invite you to explore Oxylent and the drinkable prenatal vitamin and let us know what you think.  Oxylent is a corporate sponsor of the American Pregnancy Association.  Learn more by visiting our page about Oxylent.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Between the confusion that is pregnancy health and nutrition, make sure you take the time to enjoy this nine-month journey; hopefully, the information on this site can help reduce some of that confusion!

Last updated: November 30, 2017 at 10:18 am


Compiled using information from the following sources:

1. Vitamin D2 is much less effective than vitamin D3 in humans. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. November 2004. doi: 10.1210/jc.2004-0360

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15531486

2. Vitamin D2 is as effective as vitamin D3 in maintaining circulating concentrations of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. March 2008. doi: 10.1210/jc.2007-2308

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2266966/