Is My Prenatal Vitamin Making Me Sick?

Among the many twists and turns that is the pregnancy roller coaster is what’s charmingly known as “morning sickness.” Hilarious really, because a) morning sickness doesn’t just happen in the mornings, and b) sickness is a bit of an understatement. The combination of roiling nausea and full-on vomiting is bad enough on its own, but when you suspect that your prenatal vitamin had something to do with it? Talk about salt in the wound—just ask Halsey. If you’re struggling with morning sickness and side-eyeing your prenatals, we have a few tips for making the medicine go down a little bit easier.

Is my prenatal making me sick?

What’s the Deal with Morning Sickness, Anyway?

Honestly? There are a few theories, but no one has yet to really pinpoint the true cause of morning sickness. Still, it’s a safe bet that hormones have something to do with it. Skyrocketing levels of hCG tend to go hand-in-hand with the worst symptoms of nausea and vomiting, and studies show that the same is true of estrogen. After the first trimester, the placenta takes over the production of progesterone, which can help reduce symptoms of nausea. But ask a few moms, and you’ll quickly see that’s not always the case. For some, nausea lasts all day, every day, for most of the pregnancy.

There’s also a school of positing that nausea and vomiting are an evolutionary adaptation that protects mom and baby from potentially harmful foods.

And then there are prenatal vitamins.

Feeling like you’re three seconds away from losing your lunch (or breakfast… or dinner…) is bad enough. Choking down a prenatal vitamin on top of it? Oof. But let’s look at a few interesting studies.

Some research has linked prenatal vitamins taken at conception with a reduced need for medical care relating to nausea and vomiting. While researchers couldn’t confirm why, they believe it has to do with having the right nutritional support in the earliest days of pregnancy (another reason to start taking Beli the minute you decide you’re going for that baby!).

But no one can reverse time, and if that info is too little, too late, or you’re one of the unlucky ones struggling with nausea in spite of starting those prenatals before the conception stage, keep reading! We’ve rounded up a handful of tips and tricks to help if you think your prenatal vitamin is making you feel sick.

Take your prenatal vitamin with food

Prenatal vitamins are a potent blend of nutrients in a tiny capsule, and those nutrients can hit you like a ton of bricks if you’re downing them on an empty stomach, compounding any nausea you’re already feeling. That’s true of most supplements, by the way, not just the prenatal variety. So pair your prenatal with whatever you can—a smoothie, some fruit, or even the old saltine cracker or ginger cookie standbys.

Play with timing

Do you tend to take your prenatal vitamin first thing in the morning, after lunch, or right before bed (or… whenever you remember?). There’s no right or wrong time to take your vitamin (other than daily, obvs), but timing it to when your nausea tends to lessen can be helpful. Another option, if you’re taking a supplement with a serving size of two or three pills (like Beli), is to space them out. Instead of popping all three at once, try staggering them throughout the day to see if that helps.

Read the label

Nutrition labels can sometimes read like Egyptian hieroglyphs (handy tutorial here!), so if you’re struggling with nausea yet still hell-bent on ensuring your growing baby has all of the necessary nutrients (you mama bear, you!), certain blends can be a life-saver.

Beli for Women is formulated with targeted nutrition to support you and your baby during all stages of pregnancy. Our no-nausea blend includes vitamins B12 and B6, which have been shown to calm nausea and relax the digestive system, along with superior forms of choline and chelated iron that are easier on mom’s stomach. Plus, our mint essence can also bring relief.

Talk to your doctor

Typically, iron is the biggest instigator in the my-prenatal-vitamin-makes-me-sick scenario. If swapping to a chelated form, like the iron in our women’s prenatal, doesn’t do the trick, and you’re really struggling with nausea and vomiting, bring in the big guns. Ask your doctor about food-based sources of iron, folate and choline, potential alternatives to your current prenatal, and tips for managing your symptoms.

The best advice is to do what you can to find a high-quality prenatal vitamin that you can tolerate. And if you’re reading this, good news—you’ve very likely found one!