Choosing a Prenatal

Updated April 2020

My top recommendations for prenatals are:

All of these contain natural folate (Garden of Life) or methylfolate (the other 3 brands).  This is preferred over standard prenatals, which typically contain poorly absorbed synthetic folic acid.  These prenatals also contain preferred forms of other B vitamins, such as B6 and B12, along with iodine and selenium – two minerals that are important for fertility and are not always included in prenatal supplements.

Deciding between the options

Question 1: Do You Need Methylfolate ? 

If testing shows that you have an MTHFR gene variant, it is best to choose a prenatal that contains methylfolate, to compensate for your reduced ability to convert folate into the active methyl form.

For the reasons discussed in the book, if you haven’t had any genetic testing done, but have a history of miscarriage or infertility,  the best approach is still to choose a prenatal containing methylfolate, just in case you do have a mutation.  The only downside to this is that some people experience side effects from methylfolate. You can always start with methylfolate and switch to another option if side effects bother you.

If you know that you do not have a significant MTHFR mutation, then a prenatal containing natural food folate, such as Garden of Life Organic Prenatal Multivitamin is likely sufficient, but you may also decide to take a prenatal with methylfolate, since this reflects the form naturally found in many foods.

Question 2: Would You Rather Take Your Prenatal Once or Three Times Per Day?

The suggested dose of the Thorne Basic Prenatal and Naturelo is three tablets per day, whereas Theranatal Core Preconception is one tablet per day.  Some nutrients may be absorbed slightly better if divided over the course of the day, but for those who are likely to forget some of the doses, taking the full dose once per day is a better plan.  In addition, some people have trouble sleeping if they take B vitamins later in the day.

Question 3: Do Iron Supplements Disrupt Your Digestive System? 

Thorne’s basic prenatal contains a superior form of iron that is less likely to cause digestive problems, so this may be the best choice if you experience side effects from iron supplements. If you have high ferritin levels and need to completely avoid iron in supplements, Mama Bird’s Iron & Iodine free prenatal is a good choice.

Question 4:  Do You Need a Higher Dose of B12? 

Another main difference between the Thorne prenatal and the other options is that it contains a much higher dose of vitamin B12. (7000% of the RDI). B12 is very helpful for fertility, particularly for those with anemia, celiac disease, or MTHFR mutations. Yet excessive amounts can sometimes cause side effects such as itching skin and anxiety.  For this reason it might be better to choose another option unless you have reason to take a higher dose of B12 (or need the preferred form of iron in the Thorne prenatal).

Question 5: Are You Located Outside the U.S? 

Naturelo’s Prenatal  is one good option available outside the U.S. Another alternative is to take a standard prenatal and add on a 400-800 mcg methylfolate supplement.

Comparative Costs

Theralogix Core Preconception is one of the most cost-effective options, at $29 for a 90-day supply.  Thorne prentals are approximately $25 for a one month supply, while Naturelo is $40 for a two-month supply.

If you are on a particularly tight budget, one option is to take a standard prenatal and add on 400-800 mcg of methylfolate (this will only cost around $5).

The Bottom Line

Although different options will suit different individuals, if I had to choose just one prenatal that will work well for most people, it would be Theralogix Core Preconception

Comparison of Thorne and Mama Bird Supplement Facts 

Thorne Basic Prenatal Supplement Facts: 

Thorne basic prenatal

Theralogix Core Preconception

Theralogix Core preconception

 

 

 

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