Choosing the Best Pregnancy Vitamins for You & Your Baby

Choosing the Best Pregnancy Vitamins for You & Your Baby

This article is written in partnership with Wild Nutrition, a supporter of Peanut and women alike.

Getting the right fuel and nutrition for you and baby is fundamental.

After all, your body’s going through some serious changes, mama.

So it’s up to you to make sure your body is in tip-top condition ‒ for your health as well as baby’s.

But when it comes to the wide world of pregnancy vitamins and supplements, it can be tough to know what works best for you.

After all, every body is different, and every pregnancy journey is different.

So here’s our guide on how to choose the best pregnancy vitamins for you and your babe.

In this article: 📝

  • Do I need to take vitamins in pregnancy?
  • When should I start taking vitamins for pregnancy?
  • What vitamins should I take while pregnant?
  • What vitamins should you avoid when pregnant?
  • How can I choose the right pregnancy supplements for me?

Do I need to take vitamins in pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a very powerful and demanding time for your body and feeding it with the right fuel is so important.

In an ideal world, the nutritional needs of you and your baby would be met by eating the right macronutrients and micronutrients as part of your pregnancy diet.

But in an age of mass-produced food and busy lifestyles, we know it’s not always that easy.

Taking pregnancy supplements is now recommended for all expectant mothers ‒ it’s no longer seen as simply a sign of a “poor diet”.

Research has shown that quality of nutrition before and during these nine months has lifelong effects and can improve your baby’s resistance to infection and degenerative disease later in life.

Eating well during pregnancy is thought not only to benefit your baby but even their children, too.

So while it’s not necessary to take pregnancy supplements when you’re expecting, it certainly is advised by most medical authorities, like the UK NHS, US FDA, and various medical journals.

What happens if you don’t take prenatals?

It depends ‒ on your existing diet, your current health and well-being, and baby’s well-being in the womb.

Many pregnant women find that their iron levels in particular deplete, making them feel faint ‒ there’s also a risk of baby being born at a lower birth weight if you have an iron deficiency.

Generally, non-pregnant women need around 18mg of iron per day, but during pregnancy, that increases to 27mg ‒ that’s to allow for the requirements for absorbed iron rising from 1.5 mg per day to 4 mg per day.

So getting your iron from pregnancy foods or a pregnancy vitamin can help against a low birth weight.

Low levels of Vitamin B6 can also exacerbate pregnancy nausea, so it’s worth choosing a pregnancy supplement with B6, too.

What happens if you don’t take folic acid during pregnancy?

Folic acid is one of the key supplements that doctors recommend pregnant women take while they’re expecting.

Why? Well, the UK NHS describes it as “an essential ingredient for making healthy babies”, and recommends taking folic acid before you’re actually pregnant, while you’re TTC (trying to conceive).

As embryologist Navya Muralidhar explains, “folate is involved in improving ovarian function, development, and growth of the embryo, implantation and throughout the process of pregnancy”.

Folic acid can “help protect your unborn baby from serious conditions like spina bifida”, which can cause pregnancy loss or, sometimes, stillbirths.

Many women don’t take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy, and go on to have healthy babies, but studies do show that taking folic acid pregnancy supplements can reduce the risk of baby developing spina bifida and potentially improve their cognitive performance as children.

When should I start taking vitamins for pregnancy?

If you’re planning to start actively trying to conceive, it’s recommended to start taking pregnancy supplements 3 months before you start your TTC journey.

But if you’re already pregnant, you can check with your doctor about when is best to start taking pregnancy vitamins ‒ generally speaking, the sooner, the better.

What vitamins should I take while pregnant?

As we know, a balanced diet is fundamental to getting the nutrition you need, but if you need a bit of help, pregnancy supplements can help bridge the gap.

It can be worth having a check of the nutritional value of the foods in your diet before consulting your doctor about taking pregnancy vitamins, so you can be sure that you’re not getting too much.

There are a few pregnancy vitamins that the UK NHS recommends making sure are in your pregnancy supplements:

  • Folic acid or Vitamin B9: To reduce the risk of spina bifida and to improve baby’s cognitive function.
  • Vitamin D: To help with iron absorption.
  • Iron: To help avoid a low birth weight, and to help your red blood cells deliver oxygen to your growing baby.
  • Vitamin C: To help maintain your health and avoid illness during your pregnancy.
  • Calcium: For strong bones ‒ both yours and baby’s.
  • Vitamin B12: Ideal for baby’s brain development and helps form red blood cells.

Some studies show that the following pregnancy vitamins can also be beneficial in different ways:

  • Vitamin E: To help with your postpartum recovery.
  • Selenium: Since your selenium levels can deplete during pregnancy.
  • Zinc: To help moderate your hormone levels during and post-pregnancy.
  • Vitamin B6: To help with pregnancy nausea.
  • Iodine: For baby’s brain development.
  • Biotin: For baby’s brain development.
  • Choline: To protect the unborn baby from developing chronic stress-related illness in later life.
  • Magnesium: Reduces the risk of low birth weight.
  • Copper: Reduces the risk of “structural and biochemical abnormalities”.
  • Vitamin D3: Reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia.

Which vitamin is most important during pregnancy?

Folic acid is generally recommended as one of the most important supplements you can take during your pregnancy.

This is because it’s been proven to reduce the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

So making sure your pregnancy supplement includes folic acid is fundamental when choosing your pregnancy vitamin.

What vitamins should you avoid when pregnant?

Most vitamins are considered safe during pregnancy ‒ everything in moderation, though, as overdosing on any vitamin can have dangerous effects.

However, the UK NHS advises avoiding supplements with Vitamin A, as these are often in retinol form, which can be harmful to your baby.

It’s also recommended that liver and liver products (even supplements like cod liver oil) should be avoided during pregnancy, as they’re also high in retinol.

Add liver to the list of pregnancy foods to avoid!

How can I choose the right pregnancy supplements for me?

Every body is different and every pregnancy is different.

So it’s worth checking with your doctor before taking any pregnancy supplement.

But if you’ve spoken with your doctor and you’re still not sure which pregnancy supplement is right for you (after all, there are thousands out there!), here are our handy tips:

  • Go for a pregnancy-specific supplement, as they’re more likely to contain the vitamins you and baby need, like folic acid and iron. They’re also less likely to contain retinol-based Vitamin A (although it’s always worth checking, just in case!)
  • Opt for a pregnancy vitamin that doesn’t use many fillers or binders, as these can be added to ‘bulk’ them out. According to Wild Nutrition, these can include ‘anti-caking’ agents such as magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide, potato maltodextrin, sucrose, acacia gum, microcrystalline cellulose, cornstarch, and even talc.
  • If you’re unsure about the ingredients, ask! Ask the vitamin brand or even your doctor ‒ there are no such thing as “silly questions”.
  • It’s worth noting that budget pregnancy supplements can mean their ingredients are also cheap and less effective.

What’s the best pregnancy supplement for me and my baby?

Well, that choice is entirely yours, mama.

But we asked our Peanut mamas which pregnancy supplements they preferred, and there was a clear winner: Wild Nutrition’s Food-Grown Pregnancy supplements.

A daily dose of Food-Grown Pregnancy contains the essential vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy, along with some handy vitamins, like B6, to help with some of the unwanted symptoms of pregnancy (looking at you, pregnancy nausea).

So we chatted with the founder of Wild Nutrition, Henrietta Norton, about how they put together their unique formula:

“The formula is really geared to support some key areas of health and energy production, so you’re making sure you’ve got enough energy during your pregnancy. As a nutritional therapist and mum of three, I know how taxing pregnancy can be on the body. I wholeheartedly know the intensity of physical and emotional growth that comes with carrying your child, both in pregnancy and after birth and my deep hope is that our formulations serve to nourish and support each pregnancy and blossoming child through this incredible time in their lives.”

If you’re keen to try Wild Nutrition’s Food-Grown Pregnancy supplement, we’re happy to offer you 25% off when you use the code PEANUT25.

Still not sure? No problem ‒ you can book a free 15-minute consultation with their dedicated nutritionist team to find the right supplements for your specific needs.

Whatever you choose, we’re sure you’ll make the right choice for pregnancy supplements for you and your babe.

And as always, if you want to chat with other moms-to-be or veteran moms who have been there, you can always ask the Peanut Community for advice.

They’re there for you, 24/7, whatever you need. ❤️


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