Tommy's PregnancyHub

Do I need to take pregnancy multivitamins?

There are certain vitamins that are important to take as supplements during pregnancy, but you do not have to get these from a multivitamin.

Pregnancy multivitamins typically cost about £15 a month, and some contain around 20 vitamins and minerals. It is fine to take a multivitamin if you want to, but research has shown that it is not necessary. The key thing is taking the specific supplements you need and eating a healthy, balanced diet.

If you do take a multivitamin, make sure that it does not contain vitamin A, as too much can harm your baby. 

Vital pregnancy supplements

It can be tempting to go for multivitamin products that are branded ‘for pregnancy’. In reality, buying the specific unbranded supplements you need can be cheaper but provide you and your baby with everything you need. 

There are 2 vital pregnancy supplements that are recommended in pregnancy, vitamin D and folic acid. You should take vitamin D throughout your pregnancy. It is recommended to start taking folic acid when trying for a baby or as soon as you find out you are pregnant. You should continue taking it for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. If you buy these supplements together, a month's supply will typically cost around £3. If you are eligible, you can get both vitamin D and folic acid for free on the Healthy Start scheme.

In most cases, eating a balanced diet during pregnancy, along with folic acid and vitamin D supplements ensures the best possible health for you and your baby. 

Plant-based or vegan diets can be healthy during pregnancy, but it is important to make sure you get enough iodine and vitamin B12. You can find foods that are fortified with iodine and vitamin B12 and it is also a good idea to take a supplement. Find out more about having a plant-based or vegan diet and pregnancy.

If you are anaemic you may need to take an iron supplement, but your doctor will advise you and prescribe if necessary. 
 

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We know that having a balanced, varied diet and appropriately sized meal portions will contain almost all of the nutrients and vitamins that their bodies need for a healthy pregnancy. We want mums to know that they do not need to spend a lot of money on unnecessary supplements when these can naturally be found in the food that they buy.

— Sophie, Tommy's Midwife

Can I keep taking a multivitamin after 12 weeks if it contains folic acid? 

By 12 weeks, the baby's neural tube should have closed, so you don’t need to take folic acid. But you can carry on taking pregnancy multivitamin tablets even if they contain folic acid. Find out more about supplements in pregnancy.
 

Holland and Barrett, Holland & Barrett Folic Acid 400ug with Vitamin D 10ug 90 Tablets https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/product/holland-barrett-folic-acid-400ug-with-vitamin-d-10ug-tablets-60001289?skuid=001289 

NHS Choices (accessed 18/11/20) Folic acid: https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/folic-acid/#:~:text=Most%20adults%20and%20children%20can,you're%2012%20weeks%20pregnant

NHS Choices (accessed 18/22/20) Pregnancy supplements 'don’t help, just take vit D and folic acid': https://www.nhs.uk/news/pregnancy-and-child/pregnancy-supplements-dont-help-just-take-vit-d-and-folic-acid/#:~:text=advice%20about%20coronavirus-,Pregnancy%20supplements%20'don't%20help%2C%20just%20take,vit%20D%20and%20folic%20acid'&text=%22Pregnancy%20multivitamins%20are%20a%20waste,was%20supported%20by%20the%20evidence

NHS Choices (accessed 18/22/20) Vitamin A: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-a/
 

Review dates

Last reviewed: 4 March 2021
Next review: 4 March 2024