Best prenatal vitamins for every stage of pregnancy

Pregnancy is all about growing a little human—and keeping mama feeling good in the process! Eating healthy, just-right foods should be on the top of your must-do list, as well as adding a prenatal vitamin. Prenatal vitamins can’t fix a poor diet, but they can boost nutrition to account for any deficiencies. 

If you’re not sure when to take prenatal vitamins, plan to throughout pregnancy, and even before and after, if you’re breastfeeding. For the best prenatal-vitamin fit, talk with your healthcare provider for a whole-health assessment of what you need for a feel-good and grow-good pregnancy. In the meantime, here are the best prenatal vitamins for every stage of pregnancy. 

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First trimester

The first trimester is a busy time for your baby! A prenatal vitamin is important from the first trimester on. In fact, consider taking a prenatal vitamin at least one month before you plan or actively try to become pregnant. Some healthcare experts even recommend women take a prenatal vitamin on the off chance they could become pregnant—early development is that quick and important!

Cellular foundations for systems, such as the circulatory, digestive and nervous systems are forming around 4 weeks, among other leaps and bounds of development. A key nutrient that is important throughout pregnancy, but particularly in the first trimester, is folate. Supporting brain and spinal cord development is critical, and folate helps to avoid any neural tube defects such as spina bifida. 

Morning sickness—as if it were contained to the morning only—may affect the type of prenatal vitamin that works for you. Nausea can be an unwelcome side effect of prenatal vitamins. You can adjust the time of day when you take the prenatal, or take the prenatal vitamin with food, but if you are still nauseas, you may want to try another prenatal vitamin. Both liquid and gummy forms are available, but be aware that gummy prenatal vitamins may contain lower amounts of the nutrients you need.

Second trimester

Your baby is continuing to grow during the second trimester, meaning you need to consistently—and according to dosage instructions—take a prenatal vitamin throughout the second trimester. Cartilage is changing to bone (hellooo, calcium!), myelin is forming around the nerves and the lungs are beginning to grow during the second trimester. All of that growth requires you to maintain a healthy level of minerals and nutrients. Continue to touch base with your healthcare provider to make sure your nutrient needs haven’t changed from the first trimester. 

Third trimester

A lot of growth and fine tuning of organs and systems occur during the third trimester. An increase in brain tissue, eye maturation, movement, and continued digestive system and lung growth are all happening, which means you need to keep up with your prenatal vitamin (and stellar diet!). As your pregnancy continues, including the third trimester, your healthcare provider can help you determine if you need more or less of a specific vitamin or mineral.

Nearing delivery day can mean your aches and pains—along with your baby—have grown. Herbs that are generally believed to be safe, such as German Chamomile, can alleviate some inflammation, but talk with an herbalist, homeopathic physician, midwife or other expert before you begin taking any supplement.