While prenatal vitamins don’t directly increase your chances of conception, they do play a hugely important role in helping your body become a healthy, well-nourished home to support a potential pregnancy — which is why they’re highly recommended for any time you’re trying to have a baby. 

But with never-ending options on the market, it can feel nearly impossible to decide on a prenatal supplement to support you when you’re TTC (as if that time weren’t stressful enough!) 

We've got your back, though. Below, we give you the lowdown on everything you need to look for in your prenatal and our top picks that meet that criteria. 

woman taking a prenatal vitamin

Here's what to look for in a prenatal vitamin.

Quality Standards

1. Third-party testing

This can verify the accuracy of ingredients listed on the label, ensure the absence of contaminants like heavy metals, and validate the strength of the product.

2. GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and other certifications

GMP ensures the product is made in a safe, controlled environment and meets quality standards. 

An NSF (NSF, Certified for Sport) certification is the most rigorous since these brands are approved for use by professional and Olympic athletes. USDA Organic demonstrates the ingredients were grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified organisms. 

Usually, brands with specific certifications will list it on their website or directly on their packaging. 

3. Ingredient transparency

It's important to look for a clear and comprehensive list of both active (therapeutic compounds) and inactive (non-therapeutic) ingredients. Inactive ingredients tend to be fillers, gums, and other additives.

In minor amounts, these aren’t much to worry about but you don’t want to be consuming a large quantity of inactive ingredients, especially if you’re taking multiple supplements daily. Avoid supplements that list their ingredients as proprietary and don’t disclose them. 

4. Professional recommendations

When in doubt, ask your doctor or take into account brands that have been regularly recommended by a handful of reputable healthcare providers such as physicians (MDs), registered dietitians (RDNs), registered nurses (RNs), physician assistants (PAs), etc. 

Ingredients

According to ACOG, the leading body of OB-GYNs in the country, these are the most important nutrients your body needs before and during pregnancy (and in which amounts): 

1. Folic acid (folate), 600 micrograms (mcg) daily 

Critical for fetal neural tube development, aka the original formation of a baby’s central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. 

2. Iron, 27 milligrams (mg) daily 

Key for the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin, the protein in blood responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. 

3. Choline, 450 milligrams (mg) daily 

Crucial for fetal brain development, including the creation of neurons and neurotransmitters, as well as healthy gene expression and protection from environmental stressors. 

4. Calcium,​​ 1000 

Key for supporting fetal teeth, bones, muscle function, and nerve signaling. 

woman using her laptop

5. Iodine, 220 micrograms (mcg) daily 

Critical for maintaining your thyroid function, which supports fetal metabolism and overall growth, and prevents you as the mother from developing hypo- or hyperthyroidism postpartum. 

6. Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA), 650 milligrams (mg) daily 

Crucial for fetal brain and eye development, reducing the risk of preterm birth, and your mental, cardiovascular, and immune health as the mother.

7. Vitamin B12 and B6, 2.6 micrograms (mcg) and 1.9 micrograms (mcg) daily

Key for converting food into energy to support you and your developing baby, red blood cell formation, DNA synthesis, and homocysteine metabolism (an amino acid that’s associated with increased risk of preeclampsia and preterm birth when at consistent, elevated levels).

8. Vitamin D3, 600 international units (IU)

Necessary to support your mental health, mood regulation, and immune function, as well as reduce your risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. It’s also critical for fetal skeletal development. 

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9. Vitamin A and C, 770 micrograms (mcg) and 85 milligrams (mg) daily

Necessary for fetal organ development, including retinas and the formation of immune cells, collagen production that forms the connective tissue in skin, bone, and blood vessels, iron absorption, and protection from environmental stressors. 

woman consulting with her obgyn

Our 10 Top Trusted Prenatal Brands

1. Ritual ($35.99)

2. Needed Multivitamin for Prenatal ($37.99) 

3. Garden of Life Prenatal Vitamin ($17.09) 

4. Thorne Basic Prenatal ($28.80)

5. Natalist Prenatal Daily Packets ($39.56)

6. TheraNatal Core Preconception Prenatal Vitamin ($39) (for TTC only) 

7. SmartyPants Prenatal Formula ($22.79), Free of Sugar Alcohols

8. New Chapter Advanced Perfect Prenatal Vitamins ($31.84) 

9.  Binto Prenatal Kit ($48.88)

10. Ancient Nutrition Prenatal Vitamins, Multivitamin for Women ($33.03)


Caroline McMorrow is a Content Strategist at Rescripted.