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What are prenatal vitamins?

Endocrinologist, WebMD Medical Expert
Medical Editor, WebMD

For a mother's health, and the health of her baby, she is advised to take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. These are specially formulated multivitamins that make up for any nutritional deficiencies in the mother's diet. Although the supplements contain numerous vitamins and minerals, their folic acid, iron, and calcium content are especially important.

Look for a prenatal vitamin that includes approximately:   

  • 400 mcg of folic acid
  • 400 IU of vitamin D
  • 200 to 300 mg of calcium
  • 70 mg of vitamin C
  • 3 mg of thiamine
  • 2 mg of riboflavin
  • 20 mg of niacin
  • 6 mcg of vitamin B12
  • 10 mg of vitamin E
  • 15 mg of zinc
  • 17 mg of iron

Your doctor or midwife can also advise you on certain brands. In some cases, your health care provider will give you a prescription for a certain type of prenatal vitamin.

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