3 Popular Over the Counter Prenatal Vitamins Contain Potentially Harmful Ingredients for Mothers and Babies


Pregnant Woman and Prenatal VitaminsCredit: Flicker

Right now you’re probably wondering how can over the counter prenatal vitamins in the good ole US of A contain ingredients that are bad for moms and babies. Where’s the FDA? The FDA does not regulate any vitamins and supplements, including prenatal vitamins. This lack of supervision has unfortunately allowed some top prenatal vitamin brands do go down a dark road of capitalism, putting sales over people. Nutrition and optimal vitamin intake are most critical during pregnancy for moms, unborn babies and nursing infants. That’s why it’s so important for women to take control here, do the research and find out what’s in their prenatal vitamins.

There are many great prenatal vitamins sold here in the US, but some of the top selling brands include some yucky extra ingredients. Here are the three prenatal vitamin brands and what you need to know about them:

Nature Made Prenatal Vitamins with DHA 

Nature Made is the number one selling prenatal vitamin brand in the US, but they do not make a quality vitamin. The main problem here is that these vitamins include three different types of food coloring. Yes, we all eat food coloring in junk food, but hopefully this is just a relatively infrequent occurrence. Pregnant women are instructed to take their prenatal vitamins every day.

Besides, there is one food dye additive in these prenatal vitamins that is particularly worrisome: Red 40. You’ve probably heard on the news that Red 40 is definitively linked to the onset of ADHD or Attention Deficit Disorder in children. What this means for unborn babies whose moms take pills with Red 40 on a daily basis is not 100 percent known – but it can’t be good! There is currently a controversy as to whether Red 40 causes rapid tumor growth as well. The bottom line – what is this doing in a prenatal vitamin!

Sadly, the Nature Made brand receives relatively positive prenatal vitamin reviews from individual moms posting on sites like Amazon and Viewpoints. The Nature Made Prenatal Vitamins brand also charges just about the same as one of the best prenatal vitamins, which is an organic whole food supplement.

One a Day Prenatal Vitamins with DHA

Pink Prenatal VitaminsCredit: Flickr

The One a Day vitamin brand is huge, with their claim to fame being that they produce the type of prenatal vitamins that need to be taken only once per day. Many women like the simplicity and convenience of one a day prenatal vitamins. However, this prenatal vitamin brand also uses Red 40 in their product. As noted above Red 40 is a dangerous food dye that is proven to cause ADHD in young kids. It’s under debate whether this dye causes cancer. Here’s the kicker – the reason One a Day puts Red 40 in their prenatal vitamins? To make the pills pink in color. They do this because they think women will think it’s cute and will be more apt to buy their prenatal vitamins over another brand. This is insulting to women first of all and second of all it’s time women look beyond marketing ploys and start reading ingredients lists.

The One a Day prenatal vitamins also contain DHA, which is great for a baby’s brain and eye development. However, DHA comes from fish oils, which if they are not pure can very well be contaminaFish farms and prenatal vitamins with DHACredit: Flickrted with pollutants and other chemicals. Quality DHA supplements disclose where they get the fish for their vitamins. New Chapter Wholemega, for example, uses only 100% wild caught Alaskan Salmon, fish from some of the purest waters in the world. One a Day does not disclose where they get their fish from and they use 8 different types of fish, from Cod to Pollock to make their prenatal vitamins with DHA. They could very well be getting the deal of the day fish from fish farms, which are well known as a breeding ground for contamination.

Stuart Prenatal Vitamins

Stuart Prenatal Vitamins pride themselves on being a top prenatal vitamin as far as quality is concerned. Many women like Stuart prenatal vitamins and this brand has built up a wide sales base as it’s accessible in several retailers and online stores. While Stuart certainly charges what a high quality prenatal vitamin would charge, they are talking the talk but not walking the walk.

Stuart prenatal vitamins say their pills contain no artificial flavors or colors. Ok so that is good, no Red 40! However, what about preservatives? Ding, ding, ding, Stuart prenatal vitamins contain a preservative and not just any preservative; Stuart prenatal vitamins contain the mother of all preservatives, butylated hydroxytoluene or BHT. This preservative has been banned in several European countries and rightly so. BHT is strongly linked to a cornucopia of serious health issues including several forms of cancer and learning disorders in children. Again, this is just not something that needs to be or should be in any prenatal vitamin.

Better Prenatal Vitamins

So there you have it – three popular US over the counter prenatal vitamins that are not so great. Luckily, there are several better, higher quality prenatal vitamins that consist of whole, organic foods and contain absolutely no synthetic chemicals, colors, additives, preservatives or anything of the like. The best part is that these truly higher quality vitamins all cost the same or less than the above listed prenatal vitamins. With the above prenatal vitamins you’re actually paying extra for the name and unwanted ingredients. Read the labels, ingredients lists and choose a better prenatal vitamin for yourself and your baby. If more women do this, we’d force the standards of prenatal vitamin manufacturers to change for the better.