Q & A: Pre-natals & Supplements

Lauren asked:

I was wondering what your view is on taking prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. I know that Sally Fallon and others like her do not recommend it.  But, I am still afraid of not getting all the nutrients needed. If you could let me know your thoughts, that would be great.

I have heard that the Nourishing Traditions diet does not recommend pre-natals due to the addition of synthetic vitamin A in many brands, which in overdose can led to birth defects (as described in brief here). I have chosen to take the advice of my midwife and she encourages the use of a quality pre-natal, especially for the folic acid and iron content which is so essential in early development. It is very difficult to get all the minerals and vitamins necessary for the proper development of a baby without a good supplement. She also mentioned that you will know if you have an overdose of Vitamin A – you will get sours in your mouth and around your lips and dry skin problems behind your ears!

Overall, make the decision that you feel most comfortable with and trust the Lord with the results. I highly recommend: Integrative Therapeutics Prenatal Forte. My midwife knows the Natropath that makes these vitamins and he has been doing it for some 30 years and is very knowledgeable. These prenatals can be taken throughout your child-bearing years in smaller quantities. My midwife recommended I take 4 a day while nursing and between pregnancies. She even takes them and recommends them for all women!

For an excellent article on the importance of prenatal vitamins and also addressing the vitamin A issue, visit here.

Lucy asked:

I am wondering what you have to say about taking daily supplements such as multivitamins and such. I would be grateful to know if you think supplements should be taken. THANKS!

I do think it is wise to take take a daily supplement if you can afford it, but I don’t believe it is the end of the world if you do not. I have not done a ton of research in this area, but I have been taking pre-natals for the last few years at my midwife’s recommendation as described above. This is pretty much all I personally take. My husband very rarely takes a daily multivitamin and I give a Children’s liquid multivitamin to my daughter from Fred Meyer nutrition.

Other more frugal means of adding further supplementation to our diet includes the addition of various seeds (flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds), cod liver oil, and apple cider vinegar to our diet. These are wonderful additions that increase overall health and boost your immune system! Overall, maintaining a balanced diet is key (quality whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors) to make sure you get the nutrients you need. I also believe that drinking a lot of fresh filtered water is one of the missing factors toward maintaining a healthy body.

Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home wrote a thoughtful series on supplements here.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

27 Responses to Q & A: Pre-natals & Supplements

  1. Amy Cook December 6, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    would you take Cod Liver Oil with this prenatal vitamin or in place of it?

  2. Becky July 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    I know this is an old article, but do you still recommend this prenatal vitamin? I noticed there is some soy in it. If not this one which one, what would you recommend. I am trying to prepare my body for pregnancy and needed some advice and feedback on which vitamin I should take.

    • Lindsay July 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

      Yes, I used these through all three of my pregnancies on recommendation of my midwife who is extremely health conscious.

  3. Shea May 14, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    Are Integrative Therapeutics Prenatal Forte and the Supermoms prenatals whole food prenatals?

  4. Alysia November 3, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    This is an old post…but I have a question regarding Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. Is it OK to take while nursing?? On line I find both answers….wondering if you did research on it. I am taking it right now. Thanks so much!!

  5. Meredith June 29, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    Lindsay, Did you take Cod liver oil as well as your pre-natals?

    • Lindsay June 30, 2010 at 4:25 am #

      I was not aware of the benefits of cod liver oil up till a year ago, so I haven’t taken it with previous pregancies. I will definitely be taking it with my next one though!

      • jkf April 1, 2011 at 7:02 am #

        i’m curious… what are the benefits of cod liver oil when you’re pregnant?

  6. Colleen July 25, 2009 at 10:34 am #

    Lindsay, Have you ever needed to return unopened vitamins to the natural greens company? I purchased three bottles of the prenatal forte, and was excited about the food-based vitamins and extra herbs… but for now (late 1st trimester with baby #3) they make me throw up! :( My husband asked me to switch to a smaller, more manageable vitamin, but these were expensive, so I was wondering if you knew whether they were returnable. The website didn’t say. Thanks!

    • Lindsay July 25, 2009 at 11:45 am #

      No, I have not tried returning vitamins. I would recommend you try contacting the company. If they do not take them, sell them or give them to another pregnant friend. Blessings!

  7. Heather March 24, 2009 at 12:07 am #

    For those that have trouble keeping things down while pregnant (& anyone else), TwinLab makes a pre-natal that is a capsule, rather than a pill, so it might actually dissolve and do its thing before it comes back up. Also, they seem to be decent quality vitamins at a reasonable price. That’s what I’ve been using for the past 3 years (through 2 babies & nursing)

  8. Valencia December 21, 2008 at 3:11 am #

    Very good post, thanks!

  9. Ashley November 2, 2008 at 4:46 pm #

    Wow! What great info! I’m loving the info on the prenatals as I am pregnant again and have heard the same AND also have a parenting blog (in addition to my personal one) at: http://www.firstimpressionsbaby.com/blog. Would you mind if I copy/paste the prenatal Q and A part of the post and reposted it on my blog, and then linked back to you here? Great job!

    • Lindsay November 2, 2008 at 5:47 pm #

      I would appreciate if you did not copy the whole article, but you are free to take a small quote and provide a link to the post from your own blog. Thanks for asking!

  10. Mandy November 1, 2008 at 8:27 pm #

    An easy guideline my midwife told me was to look for brands requiring six pills/day. If you need to take less than six it is synthetic and your body won’t be able to absorb all the nutrients. So look for a brand that requires at least six/day.
    Swallowing tips: pick a better time of day (for me, this meant lunch and dinner) and choose a drink you like to help get them down. :)

  11. Rachelle October 30, 2008 at 5:56 pm #

    I saw the other day and I am going to do this activity this holiday season. Some one took their old scraps of fabric and made “Christamas” sacks, which looked like pillow cases. She made all different sizes. Then she took different ribbons to tie them off. She also made these for birthdays too.

  12. Kate October 30, 2008 at 3:58 pm #

    I was one of many women who could not take prenatal vitamins. I just couldn’t handle them.

    My dr told me to make sure I had OJ everyday (great source of folic acid), and suggested I drink milk everyday. (well that wasn’t going to happen, since I have a strong aversion to milk) So I had other sources of calcium.

    I had 3 healthy babies w/no ill effects of not having their mom take prenatal vitamins.

  13. Risha October 30, 2008 at 1:55 pm #

    If you research a multivitamin and find that it uses betacarotene as its source of Vit A, it should be fine. Betacarotene is not toxic in any amount, though I did notice when my daughter was small that too many orange/yellow veggies (high sources of betacarotene) made her skin look orange!

    I just started taking Supermoms about 7-10 days ago. I am currently in my 24th week of pregnancy, so I’m not sure how I would have handled it during my 1st trimester. I did order the capsules, which are smaller, but the smell is still quite strong! I am feeling really great though, as I have not had the stomach for a lot of the healthy foods that I have been used to eating, namely a variety of veggies.

  14. Camelia October 30, 2008 at 1:08 pm #


    I am not sure how I found your blog few months ago but I have been enjoying all your health tips, recipes etc.Thank you for taking the time to share all of this.
    I have been using the Garden of Life-Living Multi Vitamins for the last months and there are the only ones I had felt a difference in my energy level. I do use some things from Integrative Therapeutics like Varicosin since I have problems with my veins but I have not tried there vitamins yet.
    Thank you again!

  15. Willow October 30, 2008 at 11:18 am #

    oh and are they horse pills??? I actually have tried those Supermom ones, they came highly recommended but I just couldn’t choke them down – I get queasy easily in the mornings and especially if they have a stinky vitamin smell. :)

    • Lindsay October 30, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

      They are definitely large pills and don’t have the most fragrant smell but with milk or juice they go down just fine. You know you are getting something with these vitamins!

  16. Willow October 30, 2008 at 11:17 am #

    I was looking at the vitamin link for the prenatals you use and had a question…I noticed the folic acid content is only 33% of the daily value. Is your midwife having you take four between pregnancies in order to ensure you have the necessary folic acid in your system?

    • Lindsay October 30, 2008 at 1:28 pm #

      I think she encourages the continued use to just keep me healthy while nursing especially. For pregnancy, you are supposed to take 6 pills a day (most often I only get 4!), but taking smaller quantities throughout nursing and such just keeps me healthy and strong.

  17. mommy bee October 30, 2008 at 11:11 am #

    My first three pregnancies (during which I faithfully took a generic prenatal vitamin) all ended in 2nd trimester miscarriages. The process taught me to stop trying to make decisions on my own and to leave it to God instead. So with my 4th pregnancy (the one that resulted in my son), I took it to the Lord in prayer. I had read that cheap prenatal vitamins are not very absorbable, and wondered if I was wasting my money on them. I felt prompted to take a folic acid supplement (as I felt that was an important thing to have and I might or might not get enough from my regular diet). I also took a lot of Red Raspberry Leaf (which is high in iron, calcium, vitamin C, and is also a uterine toner). Aside from that though, I just focused on eating lots of fresh healthy foods. I was energetic and felt great for my entire pregnancy, and my son was very healthy. :)
    I certainly intend to pray about whether I need to do anything differently with future pregnancies, but that plan worked really well last time, and I suspect I’ll be doing it again. :)

  18. Simply Vintagegirl October 30, 2008 at 9:50 am #

    I saw that you posted about homemade gifts, and I wanted to tell you about a new meme at my blog. Every Thursday until January 1st I will be posting it, it is called A Homemade Christmas. I hope that you will join me!

    I really enjoy your blog!

    Miss Emily Rose

  19. Andrea in Alaska October 30, 2008 at 8:56 am #

    I agree. I’ve been taking Supermom Vitamins through Beeyoutiful. I really like them. I’ve also been taking cod liver oil (in gel caps, can’t do the liquid yet!). I am glad I do and like how I feel, but I know that they can’t compare with a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet and lots of fresh water. Everything, from my blood pressure to my PH balance, is better when I’m drinking the water I need!

  20. Mrs.Flam October 30, 2008 at 7:18 am #

    My Last Midwife Told me to avoid folic acids in the beginning of my pregnancy ( I have a history of lost babies when i was younger) she said it was easy to overdose on folic acids and that it counld cause spontaneous miscarriages. SO I STuck to tea , I was although reccomended to take an iron supplement and echinacea supplments. I have a problem with most vitamins anyway. ALumminun does horrible things to me.