Prenatal Vitamins with DHA, Folic Acid & Iron Side Effects + Reviews

What is DHA in prenatal vitamins? What role does DHA play and what the side effects if not used properly? Are the prenatal vitamins with/without both folic acid and DHA? Read on to find more including prenatal vitamins with and without iron, fish oil and soy

Prenatal Vitamins with DHA Benefits & Side Effects

What is DHA and what Effect Does it have in Pregnancy

DHA is a short form that stands for Docosahexaenoic acid. It is an omega 3 fatty acid which is a component of human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, sperm, testicles and retina.

It can be synthesized from alpha linolenic acid or at times obtained from maternal milk, fish oil or algae oil. It is used in pregnant women because it causes improved attention and visual acuity. It has been established from research that pregnant women who take DHA supplements give their babies some degree of added protection.

Tablets of Prenatal Vitamins

Benefits-Importance DHA for Pregnant women

It exhibits several benefits to expectant women as outlined below:

It helps build your baby’s brain, nervous system and eyes

If you are pregnant, then you should use it very often because it gives your body what to use to provide for the growing baby during gestation and then through breast milk after birth.

It leads to higher birth weight of babies. This is according to the research by Maastricht University in Netherlands.

How much DHA does a pregnant woman need?

There are no official recommendations on the amount of DHA that pregnant women should consume. However, a review of a research finding published in the Journal of Perinatal Medicine concluded that pregnant women should take about 200mg of DHA per day.

Prenatal vitamins with DHA side effects

Is DHA in prenatal vitamins safe? What are the side effects linked to it?

Here are some common side effects that can be considered to be mild

  • Darkened or green stools
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset

Do consult your doctor if any of the above side effects persist.

Severe side effects that need immediate medical attention include;

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); stomach pain or cramping; black, tarry stools; blood or streaks of blood in the stools. []

Best Prenatal Vitamins with DHA Brands-Prescription, Zahler etc.

Recommendations when Selecting Best DHA Prenatal Vitamins

There are a number of factors that you have to put into consideration before deciding on a particular DHA supplement:

Type of fatty acid present

Always ensure that the acid present is the omega 3 from marine sources and not any other.

Amount of fatty acid

Check out for the amount of EPA and DHA per serving. Always ensure you read the label. Some products list the omega 3s on the label


Always choose products that meet or exceed the GOED standard for purity and are guaranteed by independent or 3rd party testing.


The amount of EPA and DHA vary from 200-700 mg per capsule or serving. Higher concentration of EPA and DHA allows you to consume higher amount of health promoting omega 3 I fewer capsules or teaspoons.

Brands- Zahler prenatal vitamin + dha

The most available form on market is the soft gel form. It is administered once daily especially after meals. There are also prenatal chewable mixed fruit packed in 60 tablets. Fiber forms are also available on market known as fiber+ calcium prenatal support, gummy vitamins.

Zahler prenatal vitamin + dha reviews

Zahler’s Original Prenatal + DHA 100 provides essential nutritional care the wellbeing of both mother and child, and is formulated with vitamins and minerals that promote health and enhance energy.

The following customer positive reviews indicate the usefulness of this product:

Review one:

By Judyon September 22, 2014

Very good prenatal-would definitely recommend

This prenatal comes in a gel cap which makes it easier to swallow. I have a sensitive stomach, and many prenatal would leave me feeling awful. I have been taking this prenatal for 2 months now and have not had any digestive issues with it. I take it during a meal, instead of after and it works fine for me.

Review two:

By Bellacandle on October 1, 2014

Size: 60 count

Finding the right prenatal has been a hunt for me! I didn’t want to take the ones my OB recommended since it has so many unnecessary fillers plus the minimum amount of nutrients. My friend recommended this Prenatal +DHA which I am extremely satisfied with-mainly because of its high nutrient content and no burping up

The reviews above indicate that the product is of great health benefits to individuals who consume it.

zahler prenatal vitamin + dha 250

It provides very essential nutritional care for the general well-being of both the mother and child. It is formulated with vitamins and other minerals that can promote health and in the long run enhancing energy. This product is however not indicated to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

zahler prenatal vitamin + dha ingredients

Zahler prenatal vitamin contains nutrients such as Vitamin B, Iodine and calcium that is critical for the health of both the child and the mother. DHA has been included in this prenatal nutrition which is an essential Omega 3 fatty acid.

zahler prenatal vitamin + dha supplement facts

In a convenient one-a-day capsule, Zahler® Total One Prenatal provides nutritional fortification that benefits both mother and baby, and should be while nursing. The dosage should be one capsule daily with food.

The ingredients contained include:

  • Vitamin A (beta carotene)- 3500IU
  • Pantothenic Acid- 10mg
  • Calcium(citrate, carbonate)- 25mg
  • Iron(ferrochel AAC)- 30mg
  • Iodine (kelp)- 75mcg
  • Manganese (AAC)- 1mg

Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA

It is from research that it has been found out that DHA levels in mothers during pregnancy and lactation support optimal brain and visual development in babies. Seemingly, DHA provides mood support for mothers before, during, and after pregnancy in small, easy-to-swallow soft gels.

The DHA requirement of a developing baby increases dramatically as pregnancy progresses and brain growth accelerates. This fatty acid is concentrated in the brain and retina where it is a critical component of cell membranes.

Maternal diet and lifestyle influence the amount of omega-3s that are available to the growing baby.

As the official omega-3 of the American Pregnancy Association, Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA is an exceptionally pure and trusted source of DHA and vitamin D3. Below is a breakdown of the content and benefits of this vitamin.

  • Official Omega-3 American Pregnancy Association
  • Healthy Pregnancy
  • Fetal Development
  • Healthy Immunity
  • 830 mg Omega -3 + 400 I.U. D3
  • Supports Brain Development in Babies During Pregnancy and Lactation
  • Super Triglyceride Form
  • Non GMO Verified
  • Guaranteed Lab Certified Purity
  • Dietary Supplement
  • Molecularly Distilled
  • Fish Oil Processed in Norway
  • Purified deep sea fish oil (from anchovies and sardines)
  • soft gel capsule (gelatin, water, glycerin)
  • Garden of Life Ocean’s Mom Prenatal DHA

It is a prenatal vitamin that gives about 800 micrograms of folic acid. It is an excellent dose in a prenatal vitamin. It is similarly 100% organic, vegetarian, dairy free and gluten free.

This brand includes probiotics which at the end improves the immune health of babies as well as the mother.

It is an excellent multivitamin to take when lactating as the vitamins and minerals pass through your milk just the same way other nutrients do, then make for really enriching and healthy breast milk. They are highly digestible capsules that allow maximum absorption. Unique features of this vitamin include;

  • It is made from 100% organic vegetable and herbs
  • Highly digestible
  • Gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian
  • Includes 800 mcg of folic acid
  • Three capsules a day
  • A bit pricey

Spectrum Essentials Prenatal DHA

200 mg of non-fish oil DHA per serving is necessary to supports baby’s brain and vision development. It is perfect for expecting and nursing mothers. It avoids risk of ocean-borne contaminants sometimes found in fish oils. It is made with all natural ingredients.


  • 200 mg of non- fish oil per serving
  • Perfect for expecting and nursing mothers
  • Avoids risk of ocean borne contaminants
  • Made from natural ingredients

One a Day Women’s Prenatal Vitamin with DHA

It is quite affordable, practical, once a day tablet that gives all necessary nutrients, including vital omega 3 fatty acids and DHA. It is taken as a reasonable choice in prenatal as it includes all necessary.


  • Very affordable
  • Includes DHA
  • Available in gel and capsules or tablets
  • One capsule daily

 Other brands

Prenatal One Multivitamin from Rainbow Light

Made with 100% organic whole foods and it is an excellent once daily prenatal vitamin that is gluten free, dairy and vegan. It contains probiotics and ginger extract to encourage maximum absorption and discourage stomach upsets.


  • Affordable
  • Made with 100% organic whole foods
  • Dairy free, gluten-free, vegan
  • Contains probiotics
  • One capsule daily

Prenatal Vitamins with Folic Acid-Benefits & Side Effects

Folic Acid in Pregnancy-Why it is important & Benefits

When you are pregnant or you are likely to be pregnant, it is advisable that you take the enough of the folic acid, the synthetic form of vitamin B9 called folate. Folic acid helps to prevent neural tube defects of the spinal cord such as spina bifida and brain such as anencephaly.

More studies indicate that the acid could still lower the occurrence of to her defects like cleft lip, cleft palate and some types of heart defects. It is also likely to reduce the occurrence of preeclampsia; a serious blood pressure disorder.

Apart from that, your body requires this nutrient in order to manufacture normal red blood cells thus preventing anemia. More to that, it is useful in production, repair and functioning of the DNA. Most importantly, getting enough folic acid helps in rapid cell growth of the placenta and your growing baby.

Prenatal vitamins with folate not folic acid

Why folate and not folic acid?

Folic and folate are at times used interchangeably but in real sense, there is a difference in terms of their use and importance to the body. Folate refers to a group of water soluble vitamins also called vitamin B9.

Folic acid is the oxidized synthetic compound used in dietary supplementation and food fortification. Therefore, folate covers all the tetrahydrofolate derivatives found in food. In the body, the natural form that can enter the main folate metabolic cycle is tetrahydrofolate (THF).

Unlike natural folates, which are metabolized to THF in the mucosa of the small intestines. Folic acid undergoes initial reduction and methylation in the liver where it is converted to THF form that requires dihydrofolate reductase.

Low levels of dihydrofolate reductase in the human liver, combined with high intake of folic acid leads to unnatural levels of un-metabolized folic acid entering the systemic circulation. Folate plays very key roles in the body in that it plays an important role in rapid cell division and growth.

Deficiency has been observed to lead to anemia, incidence and recurrence of neural defects, increased risk of some cancers, elevated homocysteine, a cardiovascular disease, and stroke among others.

So, which prenatal vitamins have folate and not folic acid?

  • Prenatal+DHA 100- an essential nutrition for both mother and child
  • Lactation success tablets- advanced female formula for comprehensive lactation formula.

Best prenatal vitamins with dha and folic acid-Brands

Some of the best brands of pregnancy vitamins that contain both DHA and folic Acid include;

  • These brands include: one day women’s prenatal complete multivitamin + DHA
  • Similac prenatal vitamins combination pack
  • Nature made folic acid 400mcg tabs,250ct
  • Rainbow light prenatal DHA Smart essentials soft gels, 60 ct
  • Country life maxi pre-natal multi vitamin/ mineral caps, 180 ct

Prenatal vitamins with folic acid side effects

Folic acid is seemingly safe for most people when taken by mouth or injected into your body. Most adults do not experience any side effects when used in doses less than 1000 mcg daily.

It is likely to be unsafe when taken by mouth in large doses, long-term. High doses of folic acid might cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea, rash, sleep disorders, irritability, confusion, nausea, stomach upset, behavior changes, skin reactions, seizures, gas, excitability, and other side effects.

Prenatal Vitamins with Iron-Gummy, Chewable & Side Effects

Benefits of Iron in Pregnancy

  1. It is essential for formation of hemoglobin, a protein found in the red blood cells and used carry oxygen to other cells
  2. It helps to maintain healthy immune system
  3. It is an essential component of myoglobin (a protein that helps supply oxygen to the muscles), collagen (a protein in bone, cartilage and other connective tissue) and many other enzymes

During pregnancy, you need to take in a lot of iron because:

  • The amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy and therefore you have almost 50% more than the usual amount of blood. Iron is hence needed to make more hemoglobin
  • Iron is needed for the growing baby and placenta more so during the second and third trimesters
  • Iron deficiency during pregnancy could lead to preterm delivery, low birth weight and infant mortality.

Iron Deficiency symptoms during pregnancy

The most common symptom of iron deficiency in pregnancy is fatigue and weakness. Other symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Pale complexion
  • Palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Irritability or poor concentration
  • An unpleasant urge to move your legs during periods of inactivity (restless legs syndrome)
  • Leg cramps
  • Craving nonfood items (pica) or ice to suck or chew on
  • Pale lips, inner eyelids, and the inside of your mouth
  • Spoon-shaped nails
  • Glossy tongue
  • Cracks in the corners of your mouth

Prenatal Chewable/Gummy vitamins with iron

There are several chewable or gummy prenatal vitamin products on market that contain iron. The following list provides some examples of several brands you could go looking out for:

  1. Lil Critter Gummy Vites Multivitamin, 190ct
  2. Equate Adult Gummy Multivitamins, 150 count
  3. Vitafusion Multivites Gummy Vitamins, 150 counts
  4. Vitafusion Men’s complete Multivitamin Dietary Supplement Gummies, 150 counts
  5. Alive women’s 50+Gummy Vitamins, 60 count
  6. Vitafusion B complex Gummy vitamins,70 count
  7. One day Women’s VitaCraves Women’s Gummies
  8. Fiber advance Mixed Berry flavors Fiber Supplement Gummies, 90 count
  9. Alive Women’s Gummy Vitamins, 60 count
  10. Finstones Toddler Children’s Multivitamin supplement
  11. Marvel Avengers Assemble Multivitamin Gummies, 60 count

Other Brands of pregnancy vitamins with Iron

More brands of pregnancy vitamins with iron are:

  • One a day Women’s Prenatal vitamins
  • Bellybar
  • New chapter perfect prenatal multi-vitamin
  • Garden of life Vitamin code Raw Prenatal
  • Nature made Prenatal Multi+DHA

Possible Side Effects of Iron

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Make sure you confirm with your doctor if any of these side effects persist or become bothersome:

  • Darkened or green stools;
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps, Pain, or upset
  • Constipation

Prenatal Vitamins without Iron, Folic Acid, Fish Oil & Soy

Prenatal vitamins without or low iron

Why avoid Iron?

It might cause intestinal inflammation such as ulcerative colitis and Cohn’s disease. Iron could cause irritation and make these conditions even worse.

It may cause hemoglobin disease such as thalassemia. Consumption of iron might cause iron overload in people with the condition. Do not take iron unless you receive guidelines from a doctor.

Delivery of iron to infants may lead to premature infants with low levels of vitamin E can lead to very detrimental effects.

List of pregnancy vitamins without iron

Some of prenatal vitamins without iron include:

  • Vitafusion
  • GNC prenatal formula without iron
  • Pure fun Organic peggie pop drops
  • Pure fun peggie pops
  • Smarty pants prenatal
  • Nature’s way alive prenatal gummy vitamins

Prenatal vitamins without Folic Acid

Why would you want to avoid folic acid?

Large doses of folic acid when taken for a long time is likely to lead to:

  • sleep disorders
  • irritability
  • confusion
  • nausea
  • stomach upset
  • behavior changes
  • skin reactions
  • seizures
  • gas
  • excitability
  • abdominal cramps
  • diarrhea
  • Rash

Prenatal vitamins without folic acid include:

  • Rainbow light prenatal one multivitamin tabs
  • Rainbow certified organics prenatal multi caps, 120ct
  • New chapter perfect prenatal whole food multi tabs
  • Rainbow complete prenatal system tabs
  • Garden of life vitamin code RAW prenatal caps,90ct
  • Vitafusion multi, vitamin, 90 ct

Prenatal vitamins without Fish Oil & Soy

What are the known bad effects of fish oil and soy during pregnancy?


Soy can cause some mild side effects that may include:

  • Constipation,
  • Bloating
  • Allergic reactions including rash and itching
  • Prenatal vitamins without soy and fish oil

Some of the brands without soy include;

  1. Rainbow Light Prenatal One
  2. Vitafusion
  3. New Chapter Perfect

Fish Oil

According to webMD, Fish oil is possibly safe for most individuals when taken by mouth in low doses (3 grams or less per day).However, when taken in high doses it can cause side effects including belching, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, loose stools, rash, and nosebleeds.To decrease these bad effects it recommended that you take fish oil supplements with meals or simply freeze them

Some brands that contain no fish oil include;

  1. Prenatal One Multivitamin
  2. Rainbow Light Complete Prenatal System


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