Whether it’s your first time or your fourth, preparing for the arrival of a new baby is nothing short of exciting, albeit overwhelming. Between doctor’s appointments, morning sickness, and getting acquainted with your changing body, the last thing you want to worry about is whether your prenatal supplement is performing the way you need it to.
No two prenatal supplements are exactly the same, and many of them aren’t appropriate for vegan diets. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best vegan prenatal supplements money can buy, all of which were chosen based on nutrition content, ingredient quality, and nutrient bioavailability.
Our Picks At a Glance
- Best Overall: Ritual Essential Prenatal
- Best With Iron: NATURELO Prenatal
- Best Capsule: SmartyPants PhD Prenatal
- Best Single Caplet Dose: Best Nest Mama Bird Prenatal Multi+
- Best Gummies: Garden of Life Prenatal Gummies
What to Look For in a Prenatal Vitamin
There is no standard formula for prenatal supplements. Hence, the tremendous variation in nutrient provisions between brands.
When you become pregnant, your needs for specific nutrients such as folate, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D increase. Most high quality prenatal supplements will include these nutrients to varying degrees, but the exact quantities will differ. If you follow a strict vegan diet you’ll also want to pay close attention to your intake of vitamin B12, choline, iodine, vitamin K2, and omega-3 fats—specifically DHA (1, 2, 3).
It may also be worthwhile to look for supplements that contain the most bioavailable forms of specific nutrients. For instance, research suggests vitamin D3 may be more effective for raising vitamin D levels in the body compared to vitamin D2. Some early research indicates that methylated B vitamins—like folate and B12—may be more suitable than other forms for sustaining healthy pregnancy in some women (4, 5).
It’s important to remember that your prenatal is just a supplement and it will not have 100% of the nutrients you need to support a healthy pregnancy. Supplements are designed to fill potential nutrient gaps in your food intake, but they cannot replace the need for a balanced, healthy diet.
That’s why the process of choosing the best prenatal should begin with careful consideration of your diet. Ask yourself which nutrients you have the most difficult time obtaining through food and prioritize those when you’re shopping for your prenatal.
Before adding any supplements to your routine, consult with a qualified healthcare provider to ensure the one you choose is the right fit for you.
The Best Vegan Prenatal Vitamins
Ritual is a female owned and operated supplement company that produces some of the highest quality prenatal supplements on the market. Vegan-friendly and specially formulated to reduce nausea, Ritual’s Essential Prenatal supplement is made with sustainable ingredients that can be traced directly to the source.
What’s more, all of Ritual’s supplements are third-party tested for purity and potency so you never have to wonder if you’re really getting what you’ve paid for.
Each two-capsule dose includes methylated forms of folate and vitamin B12, plus a substantial quantity of vegan DHA, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2.
It provides just 67% and 10% of the daily values for iron and choline respectively, so you’ll still want to make sure you’re getting plenty of iron- and choline-rich foods in your diet.
Unlike some other brands, Ritual’s prenatal doesn’t contain any calcium or vitamin C. If you struggle to get enough of either of these nutrients from your diet, talk with your doctor to see if adding an extra supplement to your routine is appropriate.
NatureLo’s prenatal supplement is vegan-friendly, third-party tested for purity, and it contains one of the most diverse selections of nutrients of any prenatal supplement on the market.
It contains 100% or more of the daily value for a variety of important nutrients like iron, zinc, vitamin D3, folate, vitamin B12, and iodine. It also features vegan DHA, vitamin K2, and methylated forms of B-vitamins.
NatureLo’s prenatal only provides about 10% and 20% of the daily recommendation for choline and calcium respectively. Thus, you’ll want to prioritize including plenty of choline- and calcium-rich foods in your diet, or consider taking an additional supplement to cover your needs.
Another potential drawback to the NatureLo prenatal is that you need to consume each 3-capsule dose with food and a glass of water. If you’re struggling with nausea, it may be difficult for some people to stomach all 3 capsules with a full meal each day.
SmartyPants is well-known for producing high quality, third-party tested supplements and their PhD prenatal is no exception.
Made only with the best vegan-friendly ingredients, the PhD prenatal contains a wide variety of important nutrients for vegan mothers-to-be including DHA, iron, iodine, choline, vitamin D3, and methylated forms of vitamin B12 and folate. It also features inositol, a compound that may be helpful for regulating blood sugar during pregnancy (6, 7).
SmartyPants’ PhD prenatal has slightly lower doses of nutrients compared to some other brands on this list. But whether this characteristic is a strength or a weakness depends entirely on the individual taking it.
If you’re able to maintain a balanced diet, you likely don’t need high doses of every nutrient. Conversely, if you’re having difficulty keeping your food intake up, you may want to opt for a supplement that does feature higher doses of certain nutrients.
Best Nest is a physician-created supplement brand that prioritizes using the highest quality, third-party tested ingredients.
Their Mama Bird Prenatal Multi+ combines a robust selection of vegan-friendly nutrients conveniently packaged in a single caplet dose. It features methylated forms of folate and B12, vitamin D3, choline, zinc, iron, iodine, and calcium. It also contains a unique blend of digestive enzymes, probiotics, and pregnancy-safe herbs to help minimize nausea symptoms.
Although it features a wide array of nutrients, the doses of choline, vitamin D3, and calcium are fairly low. It also doesn’t include any vitamin K2 or DHA. However, they do offer a secondary vegan DHA supplement that you can add to your order at a discounted rate.
Garden of Life is a popular brand with a long-time reputation of producing some of the highest quality whole food supplements.
Their prenatal gummies are certified organic, vegan-friendly, and third-party tested for purity. They’re a great option for anyone who may be interested in a gummy version of a prenatal supplement as gummies can sometimes be easier to stomach compared to traditional supplements.
These gummies provide substantial amounts of important nutrients like vitamin D3, vitamin C, folate, and methylated B12.
One major drawback to gummy supplements is that they’re considerably more difficult to formulate with a robust selection of nutrients. As a result, the Garden of Life prenatal gummies lack DHA, choline, iron, vitamin K2, iodine, and calcium. Thus, you’ll want to make sure your diet contains an adequate supply of these nutrients, or consider taking an additional supplement.
Prenatal Vitamin FAQ
It depends entirely on the contents of your diet. Prenatal supplements are not a requirement, but most people benefit from taking one because your nutrient needs change and your nutrition intake can become more sporadic, especially in the early stages of your pregnancy.
There is no set standard, but most prenatal vitamins will contain at least 600 mcg DFE, or 100% of the recommended daily value.
There is considerable variability in the iron content of prenatal supplements and some don’t contain any at all. The amount you need depends on your dietary intake and your current iron status. Adequate intake of iron is important during pregnancy, but too much can lead to adverse effects such as constipation or nausea. Talk with a qualified healthcare provider to find out how much you should be taking.
It may be a good idea for some people to begin taking a prenatal supplement up to 3-6 months before you conceive.
No, prenatal vitamins cannot significantly affect fertility.
Taking a prenatal supplement can be beneficial if you may become pregnant, but they’re not necessary if your risk of becoming pregnant is low. Prenatal supplements contain nutrients specifically designed for pregnancy, not all of which are necessary if you’re not pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Prenatal vitamins often contain nutrients that can support healthy hair growth, but there is no evidence that taking more than your body needs will independently influence hair growth patterns.
It depends on the person. Some people may experience nausea or upset stomach when they take prenatal supplements as a result of the particular nutrient composition or supplement formulation.
No, prenatal vitamins cannot regulate your menstrual cycle.
No, there is no evidence that prenatal supplements influence weight fluctuations.
Some people may experience increased acne as a result of taking prenatal vitamins that contain certain B-vitamins like B12 and biotin.
Prenatal supplements don’t expire in the traditional sense, but they do become less potent as the nutrients degrade over time. Use the best-by date on the supplement label to assess when it’s time to refresh your supply.