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Making the Switch — Ditching One Prenatal for Another During Pregnancy

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.

It's worth noting that the landscape of prenatal vitamins is continually evolving, with ongoing research leading to improved formulations. Always look for prenatal vitamins that meet current scientific standards and include essential nutrients like methylated folate for better absorption), iron, and choline, among others, to support fetal development and maternal health pre, during and post pregnancy.

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.

There are several reasons you might consider switching prenatals:

  • Nutrient Deficiencies: You discover your current prenatal falls short of recommended nutrient levels.
  • Missing Key Nutrients: The prenatal lacks crucial nutrients like choline, or doesn't have enough to cover your daily needs.
  • Stomach Issues: The prenatal causes stomach upset or nausea, especially common in the first trimester.
  • Dosage Trouble: You have difficulty swallowing a large number of pills daily.

Can You Safely Switch Prenatals During Pregnancy?

In many cases, yes, switching prenatals during pregnancy is perfectly safe and even recommended by healthcare professionals.

Here are some scenarios where a switch might be beneficial:

  • Upgrading for Better Nutrition: You can switch to a higher-quality prenatal that provides all the recommended nutrients.
  • Finding Relief from Nausea: You can opt for a prenatal in a form that's easier to tolerate.
  • Addressing Anemia: In the third trimester, if dietary iron isn't enough, a prenatal with iron can be helpful.
  • Ingredient Concerns: If you have concerns about specific ingredients in your prenatal, like artificial colors, sweeteners, or certain preservatives, you might choose to switch. Check out Beli's Never List. 
  • Food Aversions:  If you can't stomach your prenatal because of food aversions, switching to a prenatal with a different flavor might help.  

“It's completely okay and often recommended,” says Jessica Monroe, PhD, RD, LD, “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 one that has a lower number of pills per serving).”

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.

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