Common Problems With Prenatal Vitamins

Close up pregnant woman eating vitamin pills
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You probably already know that prenatal vitamins are recommended for all pregnant women. The reason for this is that many women have a hard time getting the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of all the nutrients they need every day when they're pregnant, especially when there is morning sickness to contend with.

It is also recommended that women who are trying to conceive or who are breastfeeding take prenatal vitamins as an insurance policy against the irregular diet.

But what difficulties may occur due to these vitamins?

Your Prenatal Vitamin Might Make You Nauseous

Some women find that their churning stomachs are due to their vitamins rather than to morning sickness, or that their vitamins make morning sickness worse. You can try changing prenatal vitamin brands. If that doesn't seem to make a difference, consider taking your vitamins at night, right before you go to bed.

You Might Have Difficulty Remembering to Take It Daily

There are various tricks you can use to jog your memory. Try changing the time of day you take your vitamin or purchase a pill reminder case. Leave your vitamins somewhere you can't help but see them. Some women even set an alarm on their cell phone or download a pill reminder alarm app.

You Might Get Constipated 

When constipation occurs due to prenatal vitamins, it is typically because of the iron levels they contain. There are women who make their constipation disappear by switching from a pill form to liquid vitamins, or even by going to a different brand entirely that contains less iron. You can also ease pill-related constipation by being very careful with your diet.

It Can Be Difficult to Swallow

If you experience difficulty swallowing your vitamins, try switching brands or cutting caplets and tablets in half. Some women even prefer liquid vitamins.

Your Burps Might Taste Gross After

Some practitioners recommend that you split the tablets in half and take them at different times of the day. 

There may be many reasons why your prenatal vitamins are not working well for you. Don't panic. These issues are common. Talk to your midwife or doctor to figure out whether a different prenatal vitamin might work better for you. You can also get over-the-counter (OTC) prenatal vitamins. Bring them with you to your appointment to confirm with your doctor that they have everything you need, or have your health care practitioner tell you what should be in them.

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.