You're pregnant! And you know you need a prenatal vitamin. But wondering where to start? What is folate, anyways? We're here to help.
All prenatals are not created equally. With countless options we know that it can get overwhelming quickly and ingredient labels start to read like gibberish. To guide you through with data, here’s a breakdown of the essential ingredients every prenatal vitamin needs—plus key differentiators to look out for.
Prenatal Vitamin Essentials
When it comes to prenatal vitamins, folate is one of the most crucial elements to include. Taking folate before and during early pregnancy is important for healthy early neural, heart, and face development especially during the first month or two of pregnancy.
Perelel Differentiator: Many prenatal vitamins use the synthetic form of folate, folic acid, in their formulas. But up to 60 percent of women have a gene variation that interferes with their ability to properly metabolize folic acid. Translation: Up to 60 percent of women may not be getting enough folate from their prenatals. Additionally, research shows that folic acid poses health risks in certain conditions such as megaloblastic anemia and in cases where the liver cannot convert folic acid due to genetic variants or during some pharmacotherapies. Because of that, we only use the active form of folate, L-5 methylfolate, in our products.
Iron requirements are significantly increased during pregnancy. Most notably, the mineral is generally needed to support growth and development of the fetus and placenta during pregnancy, in addition to meeting the increased demand for red blood cells to transport oxygen.1
Perelel Differentiator: Here at Perelel our formulations include a chelated format of iron to allow for optimal absorption and limited constipating side effects. We also followed science’s lead to include the combination of iron and Vitamin C to allow for optimized iron absorption. We polled Dr. Caitlin O’Connor to explain exactly how this combo works. “Vitamin C allows non-heme (not from animal sources) iron TO become more absorbable across the lining of the intestines,“ O’Connor says.
Vitamin A is involved in the regulation of gene expression, growth, and development, cellular production, vision, and immunity. Forms of Vitamin A, known as retinoids, are essential for embryonic and fetal development including the formation of the eyes, ears, limbs, and heart.1
Vitamin B Complex
B-vitamins are an essential supplement during pregnancy. Vitamin B deficiencies during pregnancy can cause fetal abnormalities and various side effects to the mother including hair loss, anemia, digestive problems, lower immune response, weakness, and fatigue.1
This antioxidant vitamin supports strong teeth and bones2, helps in iron absorption, supports a healthy immune system3, plays a role in collagen synthesis, and heals and repairs skin tissue postpartum. Some studies have shown that vitamin C may help prevent preeclampsia.2
Vitamin D is thought of most for its function in bone health, but this vitamin also affect pregnant women’s blood pressure, mood and brain function, and immunity.1 It’s estimated that up to 50% of people have Vitamin D insufficiency, which makes supplementation especially important. 4
This powerful antioxidant supports eye health, brain health, repairs cells and supports healthy skin and supports healthy egg quality and reproductive health. It is also decreases oxidative stress within the body during pregnancy, which may aid in preventing hypertension diseases such as preeclampsia. 5
According to Dr. O’Connor, choline is a common nutrient deficiency. During pregnancy, a mother naturally delivers large amounts of choline to the fetus across the placenta which places a larger demand on internal stores.1
Perelel Differentiator: We’ve included a significantly higher dose of choline than in most prenatals to support fetal neurodevelopment and DHA metabolism.
Omega DHA + EPA
Omega 3s are important for your baby’s brain development and for supporting your mood throughout pregnancy.
Perelel Differentiator: Having a formula that includes both (DHA + EPA) is important as EPA plays an important role in helping DHA cross the placenta, which is why we use both in our formulation.
It may be surprising to learn that zinc deficiencies are common in pregnant women due to rapid cell growth. Zinc deficiencies during pregnancy have been associated with adverse outcomes including low birth weight, premature delivery and labor complications.1
“Iodine is crucial for thyroid support, and it is not commonly found in our diets,” making it a crucial supplement, Dr. O’Connor says.
Shop Prenatal Vitamins
Perelel 1st Trimester Prenatal Pack ($50)
These prenatal vitamins were formulated by OB/GYNs and maternal-fetal medicine doctors and are targeted to your exact trimester of pregnancy to give you and your growing baby the exact nutrients you need, when you need them.
Wherever you are in your motherhood journey, we have the right vitamin to match the nutritional needs of your exact stage. Plus,
- American Pregnancy Association. Prenatal vitamin ingredients. Jul 2017
- Karla Walsh, What to Expect. How much vitamin C do you need during pregnancy? May 2020
- Apta Club. Vitamin C during pregnancy. July 2020
- Omeed Sizar; Swapnil Khare; Amandeep Goyal; Pankaj Bansal; Amy Givler.Vitamin D deficiency. Jan 2021
- Patricia Van Leer, MD. Vitamin E in pregnancy. Apr 2017.