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.
Can Prenatal Vitamins Contribute to Morning Sickness?
Let's back up a bit and look at morning sickness as a whole. 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. Of course, you know it's necessary. Prenatal vitamins support the health and well-being not only of your growing baby, but you too, mama!
Now, 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!).
Tips to Help Calm Morning Sickness
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 5 easy tips and tricks to help ease nausea if you think your prenatal vitamin is contributing to morning sickness.
1. Ease Into It
If you aren't used to taking a prenatal multivitamin, especially one that is higher quality like Beli, we recommend you ease into it to allow your body time to adjust to a higher levels of nutrients. If you aren't pregnant yet, here are some suggested ways to acclimate your body to your prenatal:
1. On day 1-3 take one capsule with food, preferably in the afternoon or at bedtime.
2. On days 3-5 take two capsules with food, preferably in the afternoon or at bedtime.
3. On day 6 start taking the full dose of three capsules a day, preferably with food. You can take them all at once or break up taking the capsules throughout the day.
2. 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.
Pro tip—taking your prenatal vitamin after downing high-quality collagen protein can make a big difference! Collagen has a number of important benefits before, during and after pregnancy, and a standout is that it may help alleviate symptoms of nausea by balancing blood sugar. Beli's Prenatal Collagen Boost makes it easy. Like our prenatal vitamins, it's thoughtfully sourced and ultra clean, with no additives or fillers. The flavorless formula blends seamlessly into whatever you can manage to keep down, making it easy to get the protein you and baby need (and helping that prenatal vitamin stay down!). We have seven beginner-friendly recipe ideas right this way.
3. 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.
Be aware that a nutrient-dense prenatal vitamin, like our own Beli for Women, can be a shock to the system if you were deficient in something like choline. High-quality ingredients can be a little rough on the stomach, and it's perfectly fine to ease your way into the recommended dose over the course of a few days. Be gentle with yourself!
4. 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 custom 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.
5. 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.
What are the best prenatal vitamins that don't cause nausea?
There's no single prenatal vitamin that can promise not to cause nausea. The best approach is to look for a prenatal vitamin that contains include iron, folate, iodine, and vitamins that aid in calcium absorption, such as vitamin D. These nutrients play essential roles in supporting a healthy pregnancy, which is the number one job of your prenatal vitamin.
As for keeping nausea at bay, one consideration to keep in mind is the form in which these nutrients are present in the prenatal vitamin. Iron and folic acid in particular can cause stomach irritation and nausea, particularly if the dosage is too high or the tablet is too large. That's when chelated forms can really help. Check dosages, too. Higher doses of certain vitamins can sometimes lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, so choose a prenatal vitamin that provides the necessary nutrients in appropriate quantities without exceeding the recommended daily allowances.
The Bottom Line
Remember, finding the right prenatal vitamin may take some trial and error, but with the guidance of your healthcare provider, you can discover the best option that works well for you and supports a healthy pregnancy. The best advice is really the simplest—the best prenatal vitamin is a high-quality option that you can tolerate. And if you’re reading this, good news—you’ve very likely found one!