What is the Best Prenatal Vitamin For You?

In hopes of a beautiful, healthy child, you start your search for the perfect prenatal vitamin. The results are overwhelming.

Hundreds of options to choose from, and all with varying types and amounts of nutrients! 

Some have iron, some don’t. Isn’t this important for everyone?

Some have vitamin A as retinol, others have beta carotene. Which one?

Some have herbs and plants. Are these nutrients necessary?

All you want is to hold your beautiful, healthy baby in your arms.

It is overwhelming, and we get it. 

That is why we are here to squelch the confusion and to help you find the perfect prenatal for you.

pregnant belly prenatals

Which Prenatal is Best for You?

Seeking Health has six different prenatal multivitamin formulas. Dr. Ben Lynch has developed each of these products with a large focus on using natural, active forms of essential vitamins. These bioavailable forms help to support common genetic variations that can prevent us from absorbing the nutrients from the foods and supplements we consume. For example, MTHFR gene mutations can reduce the amount of folate available for brain and spine development. By formulating each prenatal with the most active form of folate (methylfolate), we bypass these genetic variations to support the optimal growth and development of your baby.* (1, 2)

Each mother has different needs depending on her unique genetics and lifestyle. Your prenatal vitamin should be tailored to suit your individual needs. Not all women can swallow capsules during pregnancy, while others may prefer a taste-free option. Some need powerful nutrient support, while others already have a well-rounded diet. Some women may not tolerate methylfolate and other methylated B vitamins very well. In this case, a non-methylated (methyl-free) option that still uses natural forms would be the best option.

Let’s walk through the differences between Seeking Health’s six prenatal formulas to see which one best suits your needs.

  1. Optimal Prenatal (capsules)
  2. Optimal Prenatal with Plant-Based Protein (powder)
  3. Optimal Prenatal Chewable (chewable tablets)
  4. Prenatal Essentials (capsules)
  5. Optimal Prenatal Methyl-Free (capsules)
  6. Prenatal Essentials Methyl-Free (capsules)

Here is a helpful comparison chart that summarizes the major differences between all six of our Seeking Health prenatal vitamins to help you choose the formula that’s right for you.

best prenatal vitamin chartAdvanced nutrition means formulas that are nutrient-dense and very comprehensive, often containing additional plant extracts and supportive compounds.
Basic nutrition is a pared-down version with just the essentials.

What are Methylated Nutrients?

Wondering what “methyl” and “methylated” mean? Many important B vitamins are bound to compounds called “methyl groups” which are essential for a process called methylation. Methylation is a sort of restructuring within your cells that happens every single second. It’s vital for life, including brain chemical creation, antioxidant formation, and immune system function. However, these methyl groups can be overwhelming to some people on a biochemical level, giving them side effects. We will explain this in more detail later in the blog. (3)

Whether methylated or non-methylated, all of Seeking Health’s prenatals contain the following essential nutrients (4, 5, 6, 7):

  • Active, true folate (as L-5-MTHF or folinic acid)
  • Active B12 (adeno and methyl forms)
  • Active vitamin A (retinyl palmitate)
  • Active vitamin D3
  • Vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-7)

The Problem with Folic Acid

Arguably, the most important of these nutrients is the active folates. If you noticed, there is no folic acid in any of our prenatals or supplements at Seeking Health.   

Why?

Most people think folic acid is the most important vitamin in a prenatal. But at Seeking Health, we don’t have a single supplement with folic acid in it! Dr. Lynch has read hundreds of articles showing that the folic acid commonly added to prenatals doesn’t work like the natural forms of folates. It can even slow and block folate absorption. Ironically, it is still prescribed today by many health professionals for a healthy pregnancy. While folic acid may be cheaper and easier to manufacture supplements from, we think the risks far outweigh any benefits. Here at Seeking Health, we only use natural forms of folate that support the normal development of your baby’s cells.* (1 ,2, 3)

What are Essential Nutrients?

Essential nutrients are essential for living. In order for your body to function adequately without deficiency-caused disease symptoms, you need certain amounts in your diet every day, called a daily value. During pregnancy, these daily values increase drastically to adhere to the amount of energy needed for pregnancy. (4, 5, 6, 7) 

Why are Seeking Health Prenatals Iron-Free?

Although iron is an essential nutrient for pregnancy, Dr. Ben Lynch does not add iron to any of our prenatal multivitamins. He does this for two main reasons:

  1. Most women need customized dosing of this nutrient or none at all. If you need additional iron, check out our Optimal Iron With Cofactors or Optimal Iron Chewable.
  2. Iron can compete with calcium absorption, and calcium is contained in our prenatal formulas. If you do take an iron supplement, be sure to take it two hours apart from your prenatal multivitamin for optimal absorption of these two nutrients. For more information about iron during pregnancy, click here.

Why Should My Prenatal Be Third-Party Tested?

GMP certified prenatalsIt’s understandable to be concerned about the purity and potency of the supplements you are taking, especially when you are pregnant!

You can rest assured that at Seeking Health, each supplement batch lot we produce is third-party tested to ensure label claim amounts. That means you’re getting what it states on the label. We also test to ensure our products always meet the standards for microbial or heavy metal contamination.

Whether you are about to have your first child, need nutritional support for conception, or have struggled with pregnancy loss or birth defects, we are here to provide you the right tools for your 9-month journey. 

Optimal vs. Essential

Here at Seeking Health, we have two main types of prenatals. They are the “Optimal” prenatal line and our “Essential” line.

The Optimal line is best for people who need a nutrient-dense formula, such as those who have experienced troublesome pregnancies and want to support a healthy pregnancy.

Our Optimal Prenatal product line consists of a suite of four formulas to choose from. Available in a capsule, chewable, or protein powder, this product line is perfect for you if you have a less than adequate diet, higher stress levels, or have a history of difficult pregnancies, and want to support a healthy pregnancy.

Please note that we classify our Optimal Prenatal Chewable as “Advanced – limited” (see chart above). This means the chewable contains lower levels of essential nutrients and are without some of the extra nutrients for those who do not need the high strength servings of the capsules and protein powder. However we still include it in our “Optimal” line rather than our “Essentials” line because it contains a stronger servings of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, and has the added antioxidant compounds, CoQ10 and milk thistle.

The Essentials line is best for people who already have a well-rounded diet and healthy stress levels, and need only the nutrients necessary for a healthy baby, nothing more. It is also a great option for those who are looking for a cost-efficient prenatal.* 

Our Essentials product line consists of two products. This product line is perfect for you if you are looking for a more concise prenatal multivitamin with a simple, two-capsule dose, and already have a well-rounded, healthy diet and lifestyle.

Now that you understand the difference between our Optimal and Essentials lines, let’s talk about each of these prenatals so you can find the one that’s right for you. Keep in mind that not everyone needs a full capsule serving size, for any product. It’s about tailoring to your specific needs based on your lifestyle.

Optimal Prenatal

best prenatal vitamins optimal prenatal

Are you having difficulty conceiving? Want to support healthy fertility? Have you experienced recurrent pregnancy loss? Have you had a child with congenital birth defects? Healthy fertility relies on specific nutrients to keep your reproductive system functioning at its best. Inadequate nutrition is closely linked to female reproductive issues.* (6)

To address debilitating nutrient deficiencies and the need for powerful, comprehensive care, Dr. Lynch created the Optimal Prenatal Line, available in capsules, chewables, or protein powder.

Let’s start with the original capsule version.

Optimal Prenatal capsules are great if you:*

  • Need a nutrient-dense formula to support healthy fertility, and healthy growth and development
  • Want a taste-free option
  • Are on-the-go with a busy schedule
  • Tolerate methylated nutrients (meaning, you don’t get side effects when you take B vitamins)

In addition to potent doses of active, superior forms of essential nutrients, Optimal Prenatal capsules also contain:*

  • Antioxidant CoQ10 to support heart health and normal blood circulation
  • Red raspberry leaf to support healthy uterine strength
  • Milk thistle to support healthy liver protection
  • Marigold flower-sourced antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin to support healthy vision
  • Choline to support a healthy brain, cell membranes, and liver

Each 8-capsule serving size is designed to provide optimal dose adjustability. Dr. Lynch recommends starting out with a lower number of capsules, and slowly working your way up, only if needed. You and your health professional will be able to decide the right serving size based on your symptoms and feelings.

Optimal Prenatal with Plant-Based Protein

best prenatal vitamins optimal prenatal protein powder

Just like the original Optimal Prenatal capsule formula, Optimal Prenatal with Plant-Based Protein contains similar potent doses of essential nutrients and other plant extracts. However, this formula contains an additional extremely important macronutrient…protein!

Protein is an essential building block for our bodies, especially during pregnancy. It is needed for the growth of your baby’s muscles, organs, and other tissues. Without adequate protein, proper fetal development cannot occur.* (9)

This formula comes in a delicious vanilla or chocolate option, that is low in sugar and free from GMO markers and common allergens. This powder version is great for your morning smoothie or just mixed in with your milk of choice for a quick, creamy, nutritious drink.

Optimal Prenatal with Plant-Based Protein is great if you:*

  • Need a nutrient-dense formula to support healthy fertility, and healthy growth and development
  • Need additional protein in your diet, such as a vegan or vegetarian diet (9)
  • Love to make smoothies or drink your nutrition
  • Tolerate methylated nutrients (meaning, you don’t get side effects when you take B vitamins)

In addition to potent doses of active, superior forms of essential nutrients, Optimal Prenatal with Plant-Based Protein also contains:*

  • Antioxidant CoQ10 to support heart health and normal blood circulation
  • Red raspberry leaf to support healthy uterine strength
  • Milk thistle to support healthy liver protection
  • Marigold flower-sourced antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin to support healthy vision
  • Plant-based protein isolates sourced from pea and rice
  • Choline to support a healthy brain, cell membranes, and liver 

Optimal Prenatal Chewable

best prenatal vitamins optimal prenatal chewable

If you’re one of the many women who cannot swallow capsules, or you don’t have time to mix powders, then you might prefer our delicious chewable prenatals. Optimal Prenatal Chewable is intelligently simple. In contrast to our Optimal Prenatal capsules and Optimal Prenatal with Plant-Based Protein, our Optimal Prenatal Chewables contain lower levels of essential nutrients and are without some of the extra herbs and other nutrients to suit those who don’t need that much extra nutrition.

Optimal Prenatal Chewable is great if you:

  • Need a ‘lighter’, less potent version
  • Want a delicious chewable option
  • Tolerate methylated nutrients (meaning, you don’t get side effects when you take B vitamins)

In addition to the active, superior forms of essential nutrients, Optimal Prenatal Chewable also contains:*

  • Antioxidant CoQ10 to support heart health and normal blood circulation
  • Milk thistle to support healthy liver protection
  • Marigold flower-sourced antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin to support healthy vision

Free from sugar, each delicious tablet is sweetened with monk fruit extract, stevia, licorice root extract, and natural flavors. This flavoring profile is designed to be the perfect balance between sweet and tart. 

Unlike the other Optimal Prenatal products, this chewable offers a slightly lower strength of nutrients. If a higher dose of nutrients is needed, simply talk to your health professional about increasing the serving size. Remember, each woman’s nutritional requirements are individual to her lifestyle.

Prenatal Essentials

best prenatal vitamins prenatal essentials

Are you already eating a healthy, well-rounded diet and just need the ‘essentials’ for a healthy baby? 

Prenatal Essentials was designed by Dr. Ben Lynch to include the nutrients to help to fill any “gaps” in your diet, and to complete a well-rounded diet for pregnancy. This formula is a cost-effective way to get the nutrients you need for a healthy baby.*

This formula is great if you:*

  • Prefer a taste-free, capsule version
  • Need a slimmed-down formula, with just the essentials
  • Tolerate methylated nutrients (meaning, you don’t get side effects when you take B vitamins)
  • Want a cost-effective option
  • Prefer a minimal 2-capsule dosage

In addition to lower doses of essential nutrients, Prenatal Essentials contains:*

  • Marigold flower-sourced antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin to support healthy vision

What Does “Methyl-Free” Mean?

As we discussed earlier, many important B vitamins are bound to compounds called “methyl groups” which are essential for a process called methylation. These methyl groups can be too much for some people on a biochemical level, giving them side effects. The non-methylated forms of B vitamins are still natural, true forms of B vitamins. Your body must perform a few steps of enzymatic conversions on the biochemical level before they become methylated in your body. Non-methylated nutrients, such as folinic acid (folate) and hydroxocobalamin (B12) are powerful nutrients that even have their own unique roles in the body. They are often combined with methylated nutrients, however, in the case of our “methyl-free” prenatals, only the non-methylated forms are included. (3)

In our “methyl-free” formulas, we also remove any methylated nutrients that do not have non-methylated options. Though these are great for directly supporting methylation processes by providing those important ‘methyl groups’, the body does have its own ability to methylate nutrients. The body can convert non-methylated forms to methylated forms, though it may simply be a slower process requiring more energy. 

We have two methyl-free prenatals that are perfect for those who are sensitive to the following methylated nutrients:

  • Inositol
  • Choline
  • Methylfolate
  • Methyl B12

In place of folate as methylfolate and B12 as methylcobalamin, our methyl-free formulas contain folinic acid (non-methylated folate) and hydroxocobalamin (non-methylated B12). 

People who are sensitive to methyl groups commonly report side effects such as anxiety and headaches. If you get these side effects when you consume B vitamins or multivitamins with methylated nutrients in them, talk to your healthcare provider about using a non-methylated prenatal vitamin instead.

Now, let’s talk about our two methyl-free prenatals: Optimal Prenatal Methyl-Free and Prenatal Essentials Methyl-Free.

Optimal Prenatal Methyl-Free 

best prenatal vitamin optimal prenatal methyl-free

Optimal Prenatal Methyl-Free is the same great formula as our Optimal Prenatal capsules version, except it does not contain any methylated nutrients. Instead, you’ll find non-methylated, active versions of folate, B12, and other important nutrients for a healthy pregnancy:*

  • Folate as folinic acid
  • B12 as hydroxocobalamin
  • Vitamin A as retinyl palmitate
  • Vitamin B6 as pyridoxal 5′-phosphate
  • Riboflavin as riboflavin 5′-phosphate
  • Vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol

Optimal Prenatal Methyl-Free is great if you:*

  • Want a taste-free, capsule version
  • Need a nutrient-dense formula to support healthy fertility, and healthy growth and development
  • Do not tolerate methylated nutrients (meaning, you get side effects like headaches and anxiety when you take B vitamins)

Prenatal Essentials Methyl-Free

best prenatal vitamins prenatal essentials methyl-free

Prenatal Essentials Methyl-Free is the same great formula as the Prenatal Essentials capsules, except it does not contain any methylated nutrients. Similar to Optimal Prenatal Methyl-Free, it contains active versions of folate, B12, and other important nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. This formula is concise, containing just the essentials for a healthy baby. It is also free from methylated nutrients for those who are sensitive to them.*

Prenatal Essentials Methyl-Free is great if you:*

  • Do not tolerate methylated nutrients (meaning, you get side effects like headaches or anxiety when you take B vitamins)
  • Want a taste-free, capsule version
  • Need a slimmed-down formula, with just the essentials
  • Want a cost-effective option

Do You Need the Full Dose?

Dr. Lynch designed our capsule and powder products to be easily dose adjustable. Sometimes your needs can change based on your day-to-day lifestyle. For example, during times of stress, such as traveling or a difficult day at work, you may need the full serving size. However, other days you may be more relaxed, such as vacation, in which your need for nutrients may decrease. On these days you may only need a partial dose. The trick is to supplement with the product based on how you feel and prevent yourself from taking too much nutrition (which can be stressful on your body as well!). Always work with your qualified healthcare professional to determine the best serving size for you.

Dr. Lynch also recommends splitting up your doses throughout the day to get a consistent intake of nutrients, rather than a large dose all at once. He recommends not taking prenatals within five hours of bedtime, as B vitamins can be stimulating for some people. Ultimately, which prenatal you should take comes down to your health history and your current lifestyle. Your nutrition should be customized to your current needs, which may change and look different a month or a year from now. Stay tuned in to your body and as always, talk to your qualified healthcare professional about the right serving size and frequency of dosing for you.

The Bottom Line

newborn baby feet

Choosing the right prenatal vitamin can be extremely overwhelming, especially if you don’t even know what you need.

Methylated or unmethylated? Potent nutrition or lighter nutrition? Chewable, powder, or capsule? 

Prenatal care should be individualized and unique to each person. The dose you take, the type of nutrients you need, and the delivery is up to you and your health professional.

Pregnancy is hard, but choosing the perfect prenatal doesn’t have to be. With Dr. Ben Lynch behind each meticulously-designed formula, you can feel confident that with Seeking Health prenatals, the health of your future child is supported.*

View all of Seeking Health’s Prenatals Here
View Dr. Lynch’s additional pregnancy support supplements here*

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6138472/ 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5778916/ 
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24494987/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5084016/ 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4924183/ 
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6413112/ 
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4927329/ 
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5104202/ 
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4942872/ 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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