In light of the recent discovery that vitamin B3 can prevent miscarriages and birth defects, as well as more studies showing that taking fish oil supplement during pregnancy has little or no long term benefits for baby, mums-to-be are once again re-assessing their intake of supplements during pregnancy.
While the golden rule remains that a healthy and balanced diet is key to a healthy pregnancy, multi-vitamins are still recommended by GPs and obstetricians in Australia to ensure all grounds are covered. Today, we’re taking a look at the most commonly available pregnancy multi-vitamins and comparing their contents and value.
The nutritional composition of pregnancy multivitamins are generally the same, but the most important ones that most women lack from their diet are:
Pregnancy Multivitamins Commonly Used in Australia
- Blackmores Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Gold
- Elevit Pregnancy Multivitamin
- Fefol MultiPreg
- Swisse Ultinatal Pre-Conception & Pregnancy
- Fabfol Pregnancy
Cheapest place to get pregnancy supplements online
|Chemist Direct||Chemist Warehouse|
|Blackmores Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Gold (180)||$39.95||$35.99|
|Elevit Pregnancy Multivitamin (100)||$58.95||$63.99|
|Fefol MultiPreg (60)||$25.95||$23.49|
|Swisse Ultinatal Pre-Conception & Pregnancy Multivitamin Cap (60)||$21.95||$32.49|
|Fabfol Pregnancy (56)||$21.95||$20.99|
All information is accurate as at 19 Feb 2020
Although Chemist Warehouse offers the lowest price for most products, the savings are very minimal. On the other hand, Chemist Direct offers more significant savings, so I will be using prices from them for the comparison below. When you look at the total cost over 40 weeks, the savings really become apparent with certain brands.
Some of these brands require only one capsule a day, while others need two. Therefore, for the sake of equal comparison, the below table compares the amount of the vitamin provided by the various brands in a day, as per their recommended dosage.
|Blackmores Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Gold (180)||Elevit Pregnancy Multivitamin (100)||Fefol MultiPreg (60)||Swisse Pregnancy + Ultivite (90)||Fabfol Pregnancy (56)|
|Iron||10 mg||60 mg||12 mg||10 mg||12 mg|
|Folate||500 mcg||800 mcg||500 mcg||500 mcg||500 mcg|
|Iodine||196.6 mcg||220 mcg||250 mcg||250 mcg||150 mcg|
|Calcium||250 mg||125 mg||100 mg||100 mg||None|
|Cost per day||$0.44 (2 capsules required a day)||$0.57||$0.43||$0.31||$0.39|
|Total cost over 40 weeks gestation||$124.30||$159.50||$121.10||$87.00||$109.75|
|Product review rating||4.4||3.1||4.4||2.9||5.0|
Making a Decision
First and foremost, we need to keep in mind that, while the levels might differ slightly, all of the above brands do sufficiently meet the recommended amount of vitamins and nutrients required during pregnancy. Further to that, there are a few more factors to consider when deciding on a brand.
More isn’t always better
Take for instance the iron levels. Elevit’s iron content far surpasses the others, but unless you’re naturally low in iron, taking too much iron can lead to constipation, something a lot of users experience with pregnancy multi-vitamins like Elevit when you read the product reviews.
Elevit’s folate level is also much higher than the others, however, the minimum recommended intake is 400 mcg (just half of what Elevit offers), and there is nothing to suggest that taking twice the recommended amount will make your baby Superman.
Product reviews are the voice of the people
I love reading product reviews, it’s interesting to see how varied people’s experiences can be with the same product. It just goes to show that what works for one, might not work for another. When looking at product reviews, it is important to take into account how many people have reviewed.
For instance, FABFOL appears to be a relatively new contender, and even though it has a five stars review, this is just based on the experiences of THREE people. To me, that is not enough to give an accurate rating for the product.
Prices do not reflect the quality
Consumer mentality yields to the opinion that cheaper products are usually inferior in quality, which is why comparison tables like the above are so useful. At one glance it becomes clear that the prices do not necessarily reflect the contents of the product.
For instance, Fabfol is more expensive than Swiss, but its nutritional content is significantly lower.
The necessity of multivitamin
In recent years it’s becoming increasingly debatable whether multivitamins are necessary, or just a big marketing scheme. This is particularly questionable in first world countries such as Australia where food variety and abundance isn’t a problem for most households, so having a balanced and nutritious diet is completely within the realm of possibility.
At the end of the day, pregnancy multivitamins have become a “just-in-case” recommendation for all expectant women. Most women are able to meet the daily recommended intake of vitamins and nutrients, but just in case some might unknowingly be deficient in certain areas, these multi-vitamins ensure the baby has her needs met.
In that case, if the real impact of multivitamins on the health of the baby is debatable, the real question here is, how much are you willing to pay for “peace of mind”?
The Best Pregnancy Vitamin Brand – Fefol
Personally, I took Elevit for my first pregnancy, but since properly researching the other brands available locally, I’ve been taking Fefol for both my second and third. It is not the most expensive, has great reviews, and has better nutritional content than other big name brands like Blackmore.