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Prenatal Vitamins For Pregnancy: Common Micronutrients

Medically reviewed by Janie-Vi Villamor Ismael-Gorospe, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Oct 04, 2022

Prenatal Vitamins For Pregnancy: Common Micronutrients

The prenatal period (time before birth) is critical. Within this timeframe, the woman prepares and strengthens her body for pregnancy, labor, and delivery,  and the baby develops to have a healthy start at life. That’s why it’s not surprising for doctors to encourage women to take prenatal vitamins for pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know about it. 

What Are Prenatal Vitamins For Pregnancy?

Prenatal vitamins are supplements recommended to women when they are pregnant or planning to conceive. 

Note that doctors say that the best way to get the micronutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy is through a balanced diet. However, as women may not be able to reach the daily requirements for some nutrients, their doctor may give them prenatal vitamins. 

Prenatal Vitamins For Pregnancy: Common Micronutrients

Are you concerned about the prenatal vitamins you might need to take? Please keep in mind that your needs may be different from others, so best talk to your doctor. They may decide that you need to only take one to two types of micronutrients or recommend a brand containing multiple vitamins and minerals in one pill. 

To give you an idea, below are the common micronutrients for prenatal vitamins:

Folic Acid

Once you tell your doctor that you’re planning to get pregnant (or upon confirming that you’re pregnant), they will most likely recommend folic acid supplementation. 

Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects in babies. These are conditions that affect their brain and spinal cord. 


Iron helps make red blood cells that deliver oxygen throughout the body and the growing fetus. Furthermore, it helps reduce the risk of anemia

The best sources of iron are lean meat, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and dried fruits. Moreover, many cereals or dairy products are fortified with iron. 

Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth for your baby while vitamin D helps absorb calcium. 

You may get calcium from dairy products, fish where you can also eat the bones (like sardines), green leafy vegetables, tofu, and bread. 

As for vitamin D, note that healthy sun exposure can give you vitamin D. Likewise, you can get it from oily fish, eggs, and red meat. 

Vitamin C

Most brands of prenatal vitamins for pregnancy also contain Vitamin C, which boosts overall health and promotes healthy bones, gums, and teeth. 

Good food sources are vegetables and fruits, especially citrus fruits. 

Vitamin A

Vitamin A promotes eyesight and healthy skin. It also helps with bone growth. 

Excellent sources are green leafy vegetables, carrots, and sweet potatoes. 


Many prenatal vitamins for pregnancy also have iodine, which helps with healthy brain development. 

You may get it from iodized salt, seafood, meat, dairy products, and eggs. 


You might have heard of choline in advertisements for milk for children. Choline is an important nutrient for the healthy development of the baby’s brain and spinal cord. 

You may get it from chicken breast, salmon, tilapia, and legumes. 

Additional Prenatal Vitamins For Pregnancy

Aside from the above-mentioned vitamins and minerals, your doctor might also include the following in their recommendations:

  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc 


The following may address your other concerns regarding prenatal vitamins for pregnancy:

  • You may need to take supplements at least one month before you become pregnant and up to the 12th week of pregnancy. The first trimester is the most critical period for the baby’s development. 
  • Some doctors recommend a certain brand, others leave it up for you to decide. If you already have a brand in mind, you might want to check it with your doctor. 
  • There’s a chance that supplements may cause side effects. Case in point, taking iron supplements may contribute to constipation. If you experience any side effect, please consult your doctor. 
  • Regular multivitamins should not be used as prenatal vitamin supplements as they might not have the recommended dosage of each vitamin needed for a healthy pregnancy (particularly iron and folic acid)

And finally, remember that the best way to get your fill of these micronutrients is to have a healthy, balanced diet. 

Learn more about Pregnancy here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Janie-Vi Villamor Ismael-Gorospe, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Oct 04, 2022

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