My Prenatal Supplements

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on May 5, 2014

prenatalvitamins-7742

Like most expectant mothers, my pre and postnatal nutrition is very important to me. Last fall, I started reading about nutritional requirements for a healthy pregnancy. I was already taking some of these vitamins on a fairly regular basis before (such as B12, DHA, and Iron), so it was really only a matter of adding a few things to my regime to round it out.

I started by reading the Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide by Sayward Rebhal. This is a quick read, but it has most of the info I was looking for in a concise, friendly writing style. Sayward talks about the key aspects of prenatal nutrition such as protein requirements (70g per day), iron, calcium, B12, Folate, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and other aspects of pregnancy health.

Once I had this info, I corroborated it with other sources online and finally, with my family physician and OB. I was happy to have complete support from my physicians for my vegan pregnancy. (In case there is any doubt: yes, it’s totally possible to have a healthy, balanced vegan pregnancy if that’s your goal; it just takes planning). In the end, I’m glad I figured out a system that works well for me and I haven’t had any side effects from the supplements (like constipation from iron pills) to speak of.

So in addition to a healthy diet, here are the supplements I’m taking.

Mega Food Baby & Me Prenatal Supplement (Herb Free)

My friend turned me onto this whole foods prenatal supplement and I’m so glad she did. Since it’s made with whole foods rather than synthetic vitamins, the dose is quite large (4 pills a day) and it’s one of the more expensive prenatal supplements on the market. I try to space the 4 pills out as much as possible over the course of the day. The only drawback to this supplement is that it tastes pretty horrible and I struggled to get them down during the first trimester. The good news is that I can take these on an empty stomach and they have never once given me nausea after consuming!

Natural Factors B12 (1000 mcg)

B12 is not found in the vegan diet naturally so it’s essential to make sure your intake is consistent. I take about 4 pills a week. My B12 levels are measured a couple times per year to make sure I’m on track. My 32 week blood work showed excellent levels of B12!

Solgar Gentle Iron (25 mg – Iron Bisglycinate)

This is my all-time favourite iron supplement and it’s one of the only iron supplements I’ve tried that doesn’t give me bad stomach pain (I can even take it on an empty stomach!) or constipate me. I take about 3-4 pills per week. My Baby & Me prenatal supplement provides me with an additional 18mg of iron per day and I also eat plant-based sources of iron too. I recently had prenatal blood work done and my iron levels are doing great which is very reassuring. Be sure to take iron with a bit of Vitamin C (such as citrus fruit) to help it absorb better. The RDA for iron during pregnancy is 27-30mg.

Update: In the 2nd trimester, I started taking 1 iron pill per day and in the 3rd trimester I bumped it up to two pills per day due to increased iron needs. A blood test around 32 weeks showed that my iron was at the low end of the normal range so I wanted to make sure it didn’t dip any lower during the 3rd trimester. I found taking 2 iron pills per day backed me up a bit, so I started taking one 150mg magnesium pill each day to offset this. Worked nicely!

Vitamin D3 drops

This source of Vitamin D3 is not vegan as it’s lanolin-based (a fat found on sheep’s wool), but vegan D3 drops do exist. The only problem is that I haven’t been able to find a vegan D3 drops in Canada. Nordic Naturals makes Vegan D3, but they don’t ship to Canada (neither does Amazon.com) and I haven’t found it in stores yet. If anyone knows where to source this in Canada, please leave a comment below. I really want to be able to find the oil drops as they are so easy to take and I don’t want to take more pills. (Side note: Vitamin D2 is vegan, however it’s said to be only 60% effective as D3 so I’m sticking with D3 during my pregnancy just to be sure.)

Garden for Life Vitamin Code Raw Calcium

A calcium supplement is necessary for me because the Baby & Me supplement only has 75mg of calcium. My body seems to digest these fine, but I don’t like that each pill only has 150 mg calcium each. So I’m taking about 4-5 per day and getting the rest from my diet. I might switch to a different brand that has 350mg of calcium each so I only have to take 2 a day in addition to what I get in my diet. (side note: Calcium-fortified orange juice and tofu prepared with calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride are both high in calcium, in addition to other vegan foods.) You can also open these pills up and mix the powder into juice or water, but drinking sand is not my cup of tea so I don’t tend to do that. hah. The RDA during pregnancy for calcium is 1,000 mg.

NutraVege DHA Algae Oil

DHA is a form of long chain omega-3 fatty acid and it’s very important for brain development and vision. This DHA supplement is a plant-based, sustainable alternative to fish oil and it’s completely vegan. Many people think that fish make their own DHA, but they actually get it from feeding off green algae. I figure why not just get it directly from the source? I take 1/2-1 tablespoon per day which provides me with 300-600 mg of DHA per day.

Update: When my supply runs out I’m going to try a new brand I heard about which is a vegan DHA and EPA oil by Dr. Fuhrman.

~~~

So those are my prenatal supplements! Please keep in mind that this post is not meant to be nutritional advice for your own pregnancy – it’s simply what is working for me right now. I always recommend that you speak with your physician/health care provider to find a plan that will work for you!

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

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Tasha October 20, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Hi Angela!

Love, love, love your blog. Question, how did you get the solgar iron supplement to be shipped to Canada? I am having the hardest time finding it or ordering it.

Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 21, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Hey Tasha,
I bought from iHerb website – however I think there was a customs charge on top of the bill. I can’t quite remember what it was now.

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Britni October 26, 2014 at 9:14 am

Hi! I am trying to get pregnant, and my doctors have suggested to begin taking prenatal vitamins. I’ve been doing a lot of research, and you provided a wealth of information here. I am just wondering, was this just your pregnancy regimen, or do you take these when not pregnant as well?

Thanks.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 27, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Hi Britni,

Some of the pills I took before hand, but now I take all of these supplements even postpartum because I feel so good on this regimen.

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Lisa November 9, 2014 at 2:24 pm

This is a great list! I have a soy allergy, so my supplements have to be soy-free and so I am using Gentle Iron, MegaFood Baby and Me, MegaFood D3 and Megafood B12.
I cant find a DHA that is vegetarian and is free of soy. Dr. Fuhrman’s doesnt mention soy at all, but it also doesnt say that it is free of soy. Do you know of any soy-free DHA out there?

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Meagan December 21, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Thank you so much for this post! I’m vegan and it gave me a great start finding the supplements I want to take. I am disappointed that Natural Factors B12 that was linked contains lactose. I did not check it carefully enough and only realized when I got it in the mail.

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Meagan December 21, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Can anyone recommend vegan B12 supplement?

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Jackie January 10, 2015 at 8:47 am

Hi- I am very late on this post! Congrats!!! I am a fairly new vegetarian (who tries to eat vegan as much as possible!) been so for about 5 months. I just found out I am pregnant- literally JUST- so obviously I will be speaking to my doc about this but it is Saturday morning and I want to know as soon as possible— why, if taking a parental with b12 and iron in it, do you need to take extra b12 and iron? I have been taking the Kind Irganics b12 spray daily- 500mcg plus I now take a prenatal which also contains b12 and iron. I have been wondering if I should stop the b12 since it’s in the prenatals I just started taking. Is there such thing as too much? I know iron can be iffy to take too much so I haven’t supplemented that since it is in the prenatal. I hope you can answer my questions! I am very excited and nervous and of course want to be as healthy as can be to grow a healthy happy babe!! Thank you for your time! I just discovered your recipes via Pinterest- THANK YOU FOR THEM!!!

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Melissa January 29, 2015 at 9:37 pm

Hi Angela,

I live in the GTA and was wondering where you buy your iron supplement Solgar Gentle Iron? Or do you buy it online?

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Robin February 12, 2015 at 4:15 pm

So excited reading through your pregnancy again because I am 9 weeks tomorrow! I love your blog and cookbook. So fun to have someone to look up to that was pregnant right before me! Lucky for me I don’t have any nausea but that doesn’t mean my stomach isn’t rumbling anyway! It’s just not nausea. I can’t eat tomatoes or raw broccoli. My stomach feels best with carbs like oatmeal, rice, quinoa, and potatoes. I’m worried about too much starch though!

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Carolyn February 19, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Ive been intently reading your baby posts as we are planning to get pregnant soon. I’m currently looking to start a prenatal multi vitamin and rainbow light looks like the best option to me. I noticed you commented that you weren’t a fan of the added food ingredients. Can I ask why? Just curious if you know something I don’t.

Your daughter is absolutely angelic BTW…I love reading about all your experiences with her:)

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Erin March 5, 2015 at 11:23 pm

Hi Angela!
I am wondering what made you decide to take prenatals/calcium etc….I have read Dr McDougall’s opinion on vegan pregnancies along with a few others that insist supplements are not necessary, but like you, my health and my future baby’s health is so important to me. Did you ever question whether taking supplements was the right decision or am I being crazy? I don’t mean to judge your decision at all, I am just very interested in whether you ever thought about the decision, and if so, what ultimately led you to choose supplementation? :) Thanks!!
Erin

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L May 8, 2015 at 5:55 pm

http://www.wholeearthsea.com/en-ca/product/pure-food-vitamin-d3/

These are made in Canada and vegan

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heather July 4, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Thanks so much for this! I’m finding it overwhelming to learn everything about pregnancy and what to expect and this made the diet portion a breeze. Ordered all my supplements and will take right away. I have been taking Baby & Me since day one, but now will order herb free and the balance of supplements.

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Melanie September 20, 2015 at 9:26 am

Hi Angela, did you end up liking the Dr Furhman’s DHA?

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courtney December 21, 2015 at 7:40 pm

I was wondering if you can mix the vitamins together or if you take them different days or times from each other.

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Kristin February 10, 2016 at 7:31 am

Hi — just wondering what brand of megnesium you use, I’d like to give it a try!

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Nicole March 5, 2016 at 2:51 am

I was wondering which vitamins you took before getting pregnant? I’m switching to a plant based diet and want to cover all my bases and make sure I’m not lacking anything while I make this switch. This is a great list though, and will come in handy later this year as we try for baby #2!

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Nicole April 26, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Hey! You can get Nordic Naturals in Sherwood Park AB at the Urban Organics store; you can also get it at Get Real Natural in Fort Saskatchewan AB. Don’t know if you are in Alberta but these are the stores I know that carry it so it is in Canada!

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@Travelpanties May 19, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Great post, this is really helpful for new moms to be! I’m on the same regiment as you! And doctor approved! Your readers may also enjoy this great article about easy tips to stay healthy during your pregnancy! http://travelingpanties.com/2016/05/16/tips-to-stay-healthy-while-pregnant-and-another-pregnancy-vlog-at-18-weeks/

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kensy May 21, 2016 at 7:04 pm

Hello! i’m curious on your thoughts on Ashwagandha during pregnancy? 1st trimester on… i found a liquid iron supplement, Mykind Organics Iron + Herbs, looks great and a liquid would be nice instead of anotherrrrr pill. my only concern is the herb blend: Ashwagandha, Amla & Curry.
thanks

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Angela Liddon May 24, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Hi Kensy, I recommend speaking with your OB or midwife about it. I’m not qualified to give that kind of advice and I wouldn’t want to try. ;) Congrats on your pregnancy!

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Melanie September 19, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Hi Angela,

Your website is a amazing I am a total fan -being a vegan myself- I was wondering if you had tips to boost fertility as we are trying to start a family: I am having issues with irregular periods and was wondering if it could be related to being vegan. Seeing you going through healthy vegan pregnancy is really inspiring :)!

Warmly,
Melanie

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Angela Liddon September 26, 2016 at 7:29 am

Hi Melanie, Thank you so much for the kind words! I’m sorry but I don’t have any tips or real knowledge in this area and would hate to steer you wrong. I have simply tried to eat very balanced, but I’d recommend speaking with your physician as a first step! All my best :)

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Vanessa October 5, 2016 at 11:01 am

I just called Mega Food to ask what the differences are between the Baby & Me Herb Free and the Baby & Me 2 (replacement for Herb Free) Unfortunately although both are herb free, neither one of them is vegan because they both contain Lanolin.

Do you have any suggestions of herb free vegan prenatal vitamins? It has been extremely difficult to track these down.

Thank you very much!

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Eliana Neath October 17, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Hi Angela,

Have you had the chance to try the DHA and EPA oil by Dr. Fuhrman? If so, please share your thoughts in comparison to the NutraSea.

Kindly,
Eliana

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Aurore December 30, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Hi there, I’m wondering about the supplements you chose for yourself and overdose on the FAT soluble vitamins like A, D, E & K?? I say this because I’ve been struggling to find a plant based calcium supplement and they ALL have lots of Vitamin D – isn’t this potentially harmful?
Also, many of the raw/food based multi’s have lots of vitamin A, far more than the RDI’s – any thoughts? Thanks!

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chelsea September 24, 2017 at 9:59 pm

Awesome info! Thank you! I love your blog so much. xoxo www.prenatals.com

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Stacey May 23, 2018 at 6:02 am

I’m taking 1,000 mcg B12,the Baby and Me 2, Nordic Naturals D3, Omega 3, and the calcium, but someone at work mentioned high levels of B12 and folate are both linked to autism so now I’m a bit anxious. Has anyone ever heard of this?

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Jess June 20, 2018 at 1:01 pm

Hi, I looked up the supplements you mentioned and most of them are suitable for vegetarians containing milk,these are not good for vegans. I think a 100% vegan should be buying only products labelled as vegan.

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Michelle August 12, 2018 at 11:27 am

Hi Angela!
Did you keep taking any supplements after your babies were born?
Im 35 weeks pregnant now and Im really getting sick of all these pills. I just take them because i had very low apetite during my entire pregnancy and I’ve lost (!) a bunch of weight, so i figured i will take extra supplements just in case…

But I’m very tempted to stop everything as soon as the baby is born.

What was your supplement experience postpartum?
Also, did you have any supplements for the baby?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 14, 2018 at 10:50 am

Hi Michelle, Oh such a great question. I can totally understand your “getting sick of taking supplements”! haha. That was/is so me. Especially because my prenatal required 3-4 pills a day. I took the Megefood herb-free prenatal for several years…I took it both during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I switched to a new prenatal a few months ago to Naturelo prenatal multi…it’s good too. As for my babies, I think the only supplements I gave them were vitamin D drops and a baby-friendly probiotic. Hope this helps and all the best with you in the remaining weeks of your pregnancy and beyond!

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Nichole W September 20, 2018 at 9:57 pm

I don’t know when this was posted. But I get my vitamin D3 oil spray from amazon.ca by My Kind Organics.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 21, 2018 at 7:23 am

Thanks Nichole!

Reply

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