When you’re pregnant (or trying to get that way), prenatals are just part of the deal. That’s true for women and it’s just as important for men. But what happens if your prenatal just isn’t working out? Maybe you read the label and noticed these prenatals are coming up way short of current recommendations (which is more common than you’d think). Or maybe it’s missing something critical, like choline. Maybe it’s just really, really hard on your stomach, or you’re having a hard time choking down eight pills a day. Whatever the reason, you may find yourself wondering whether it’s safe to make a switch. Can you ditch one prenatal for another during pregnancy? There’s a lot of contradictory information out there, so we quizzed fertility dietitians for the scoop.
Is it Safe to Switch Prenatal Vitamins During Pregnancy?
“It's completely okay and often recommended,” says Jessica Monroe, PhD, RD, LD, and founder of Fresh Nutrition and Wellness. “Women may want to switch to a higher quality prenatal when they learn theirs is lacking in certain nutrients. Or, for example, I often have clients who cannot stomach their current prenatal during first trimester due to nausea or gagging, so we find one that they can tolerate (typically in gummy form or one that has a lower number of pills per serving). Once the nausea has subsided, we can switch back to a higher quality one.”
Monroe also points out a common third-trimester scenario. She says it's a time when many women tend to be slightly anemic. “If they can't increase their iron levels with food, a prenatal with iron may be warranted,” she notes.
Anabelle Harari Clebaner, MS, RD, RYT, and the CEO and founder of Wellspring Nutrition, can also think of scenarios where a prenatal vitamins switch might be warranted. “Many prenatals contain iron in them, which can compete for absorption with zinc,” she says. “If someone is having constipation or tummy issues from their prenatal, that may warrant switching to an iron-free formula.”
What about Switching Vitamins after Pregnancy to Boost Milk Supply?
It’s important to continue taking a prenatal vitamin after delivery, for a few reasons. Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, continued supplementation has big benefits for your baby. And while most experts agree that a prenatal vitamin isn’t going to boost your milk supply overall (if that’s the goal, the best advice is usually to pump or nurse more often), it will affect the nutritional content of your breast milk. That means a super high-quality prenatal vitamin is just as important after delivery as it was during your pregnancy.
The Bottom Line
While it's always important to check with your doctor, don’t panic about switching prenatals during your pregnancy. "Not all prenatals are created equal and switching for any number of reasons is completely okay,” says Monroe.
Clebaner agrees. “The most important thing is to continue taking a high quality prenatal with methylated B vitamins and eating a balanced diet.”
In that case, we’ll leave you with easy access to Beli for Women and Beli for Men. If you aren’t taking these science-aligned prenatal and fertility supplements yet, it’s so nice knowing that the making the switch isn’t just safe — it’s recommended.