Well, everyone knows good nutrition is crucial for a successful pregnancy.
However, if you’re a brand-new vegan and haven’t read up on nutrition at this stage, I highly recommend you seek a professional that can review your diet. It’s important to understand whether or not you’re getting all the nutrients you need from the foods you’re eating.
It’s hard to know if you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals from the foods you’re eating, and that’s where prenatal vitamins come in.
They’re not a replacement for a well-balanced diet, but they’re a handy backup that ensures you don’t fall short on essential nutrients that are necessary during pregnancy.
Here’s what you’ll find in this article:
- Vegan Foundry’s Best Vegan Prenatal Vitamins
- What Are Prenatal Vitamins?
- What Are The Benefits of Prenatal Vitamins?
- When Should You Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?
- What Should You Look For In Prenatal Vitamins?
Let’s start with the 5 best vegan prenatal vitamins:
5 Best Vegan Prenatal Vitamins
Ritual Essential Prenatal Vitamins
Although not always available to consumers due to high demand, once you sign-up for the Ritual monthly subscription, you can expect to receive it without fail.
Ritual also gives you the liberty to choose between rushing your order, delaying it, or even canceling the WHOLE subscription at any time. Basically, you’re in control.
This formula comes with 30 servings per container and 12 essential nutrients that will ensure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy pregnancy.
Garden of Life Raw Prenatal Vitamins
Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal is a rather complete whole food multi-nutrient formula designed to meet the needs of women during pre-conception, pregnancy, and lactation.
This formula contains over 20 powdered organically grown fruits and vegetables with supporting antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrient cofactors.
Each bottles comes with 30 servings, at 3 daily pills per day, which, to be frank, is not that convenient for anyone without time to spare.
mykind Organics Prenatal Vitamins
The mykind Organics prenatal vitamin supplement is very similar to the previous supplement; it contains a variety of powdered organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
In fact, it has more than 30 ingredients designed to support women during all stages of pregnancy.
However, what I highly appreciate about this supplement is convenience, as you only need to take one tablet per day, and not 2 or 3 like with other supplements.
Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA Vitamins
This a great plant-based prenatal supplement if you’re looking to up your intake of DHA during your pregnancy.
With 500mg of DHA per serving, it surpasses the daily intake recommendations of Omega-3’s for your baby’s brain development.
This brand is also certified to be free from environmental toxins, including heavy metals, and has also earned a seal of approval by NSF International, which is a third party that tests supplements for quality and safety.
Rainbow Light Certified Prenatal Vitamins
According to the manufacturer, the Rainbow Light prenatal multivitamin is a comprehensive formula comprised of whole foods that is significantly more affordable than some of the options we’ve listed on this blog post.
It contains a blend of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, prebiotics, and real whole foods to support digestive and liver health, and boost energy levels.
Akin to some of the options we’ve mentioned, unfortunately, it also contains proprietary blends, which don’t reveal the exact dosage of each ingredient even though it seemingly contains most of the vitamins and minerals to support a basic diet.
What are Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins, also known as prenatal supplements, are vitamin and mineral formulas intended to be taken before and during pregnancy, and postnatal lactation.
They’re not substitutes for a healthy diet but they exist to help you cover any nutritional gaps.
That’s because, during pregnancy, the recommended nutrient intakes for women increase, and it’s also around this time that morning sickness can seriously interfere with your appetitive, which inevitably messes up your nutritional intake.
When pregnant, it’s natural to require more nutrients than usual, namely ones like folic acid and iron, which are more frequently lost during pregnancy.
What Are The Benefits of Prenatal Vitamins?
Here’s why it’s recommended that you take prenatal vitamins, whether you have a vegan or omnivore diet, and even before you’re pregnant:
Covering For Nutritional Mishaps
During pregnancy, it’s not unusual to have some mishaps and run into bad dietary habits, especially because of morning sickness.
For that reason, it might be difficult to cover all your nutritional bases, which can be very dangerous not only for you but also for the baby.
Prenatal vitamins essentially work as dietary insurance and ensure that both you and your baby get all the needed nutrients.
The vitamin B6 in prenatal vitamins plays an important role in regulating mood, as well as treating nausea during pregnancy, which is one of the things that might mess up your diet.
If your prenatal vitamin supplement doesn’t alleviate your morning sickness, there’s the potential it could make it worse; as such, you should look for one with vitamin B6 content.
Reducing Risk of Birth Defects
Maybe the most important nutrient in a prenatal supplement is folic acid (vitamin B9 or folate in food form).
Studies show that taking folic acid and vitamin B12 before conception and during the early stages of pregnancy can reduce the risk of neural tube defects, as well as the risk of congenital heart defects in your baby.
Potentially Reduce Risk of Autism and Preterm Birth
Studies show that moms taking prenatal vitamins before and during pregnancy may be less likely to have autism spectrum disorder.
Additionally, there’s a link between taking prenatal vitamins and a lower risk of preterm birth, probably due to vitamin B12.
However, as you know if you’re vegan, you should obtain vitamin b12 from an isolated supplement, simply because it’s hard to comprise the ideal dosage in a supplement with multiple nutrients.
When Should You Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins?
If you’re pregnant and have not started taking prenatal vitamins, then you might want to start taking one right away.
Generally speaking, a prenatal supplement should be taken even before you conceive.
As we’ve mentioned before, research advocates for folic acid supplementation before conception because it can reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly, which are, unfortunately, conditions that may appear soon after conception.
What Should You Look For In Vegan Prenatal Vitamins?
This is probably the most important part of this blog post, and that’s because we’re going to dive a bit deeper into which nutrients your prenatal vitamin supplement should contain.
Folic Acid (400-600 mcg)
Ideally, you’ll want your prenatal vitamins to contain 400 mcg before you conceive to prevent conditions like neural tube defects, and then you should pump up that intake to 600 mcg per day during pregnancy, which is the ideal amount during this stage.
Iron (27 mg)
Iron is crucial for the production of healthy red blood cells, which essentially helps transport the oxygen throughout your body.
Once you’re pregnant, you need more iron to meet the demands of your blood supply, which will serve to provide your baby with oxygen.
By not taking in enough iron, there’s a huge risk of developing pregnancy-induced anemia.
Even if you have a vegan diet rich in iron (by ingesting foods such as lentils or beans), you still might need the support of a prenatal supplement.
Calcium (+250 mg)
Calcium is one of the nutrients that most vegans might get less of in a plant-based diet (except vitamin B12).
It’s a nutrient that you can typically find in leafy green vegetables, and also in vegetable milk, although not every vegetable milk contains good amounts of calcium.
That’s why you should opt for the ones that are richer in calcium.
If you’re NOT mindful about eating a diet rich in leafy greens and other calcium-rich foods, it’s quite easy to fall WAY below the daily recommended amount.
Vitamin D helps regulate the calcium and phosphate in the body, and these nutrients are very important to keep the bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. As a result, it’s very important to have a sustainable intake of vitamin D for the optimal development of the baby.
The best source of vitamin D is the sun, however, if you live in an environment where you have little to no sun exposure, then it’s likely that you’ll need to supplement Vitamin D.
As such, acquiring prenatal vitamins with Vitamin D is quite significant.
Not every prenatal supplement contains DHA (which is usually obtained from fatty fish or certain types of algae), a crucial nutrient for the baby’s brain and eye development.
Most vegans obtain DHA from ALA-rich seeds since it gets converted into EPA and DHA.
However, if you feel like it’s not something you’re getting in your diet, then it would be a good idea to check with your doctor even before planning a pregnancy.
Vitamin B6 (2 mg)
Vitamin B6 can, as we’ve mentioned, can reduce the risk of morning sickness during pregnancy, which can be an important factor for overall health.
Iodine (150 mcg)
Iodine helps your body produce thyroid hormones, which in turn helps the baby’s brain develop.
However, it’s common for pregnant women to have a mild iodine deficiency, which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends taking a prenatal supplement with at least 150 mcg of iodine.
If you’re vegan, you’re either obtaining your iodine from algae or iodized salt, so it would be wise to check your iodine levels to see where you’re at. If you conclude that you’re not consuming enough iodine to sustain your baby, consider a prenatal supplement.
When thinking about which prenatal supplement you should order, think about where you may fall short with your diet.
For example, vegan diets can be short in calcium, as well as iodine (especially, if you avoid green leafy greens or iodized salt, or algae), so perhaps choose a supplement that contains both of these nutrients to avoid running into a nutrient deficiency.
When pregnant, it’s paramount that you get all the right nutrients since that’s how you can best guarantee a healthy child.
The prenatal vitamins on this list are a good starting point, so if you’re interested in optimizing your health during pregnancy, consider a few of the options in this blog post.
Hopefully, this humble blog post has helped you conclude.
Thank you for reading and don’t forget to visit your doctor or go do blood tests to verify important health markers, which is essential for any stage in our life, especially as vegans.