The 10 Best Vegan Pregnancy Vitamins In 2021

vegan prenatal vitamins uk pregnancy supplements

If you’re vegan and recently found out you are pregnant, you might be wondering whether you need to start taking specific vegan pregnancy vitamins.

When I became pregnant with my daughter Ursula in 2017, I automatically started taking the most well-known brand of pregnancy vitamins, not realising that they were vegetarian when I was vegan. I wish now that I had done more research into what vegan pregnancy vitamins were available, what vitamins I actually needed to supplement during my pregnancy and which were the best quality. 

In this article I’ll run through which vitamins you should consider supplementing during your vegan pregnancy and recommend some high-quality vitamins to put on your shopping list. 

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is it healthy to be vegan while pregnant?

First things first, let’s establish what the potential health issues are when it comes to being a pregnant vegan. 

As I mention in my post on how to have a healthy vegan pregnancy, it is perfectly possible to have a safe and healthy pregnancy on a vegan diet. In fact, many risk factors around food during pregnancy are automatically removed – you’re already avoiding seafood and blue cheese, so you don’t need to think about it!

In terms of the research it’s fairly thin on the ground, however a 2019 study into vegetarian and vegan diets during pregnancy found that a balanced plant-based diet rich in fibre and low in fat may help protect against poor pregnancy outcomes.

The key word here, however, is BALANCED diet. I’m sure you know that there are healthy vegans and unhealthy vegans, and the same is true of pregnant vegans. The study concluded that, “plant-based diets during pregnancy…require a strong awareness for a complete intake of essential key nutrients and vitamin supplements”

So, while a vegan diet in pregnancy is not unsafe simply because it’s vegan, it can (like a non-vegan diet) be unsafe if you’re not conscious and aware of your nutritional intake.

what are the risks of having a vegan pregnancy?

Whilst nutrition experts across the world, including the British Dietetic Association and the United States Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , have confirmed the safety of well-planned vegan diets for pregnancy, there are potential concerns that need to be considered. 

Diets that eliminate all animal products naturally eliminate or severely reduce the presence of certain nutrients that are vital to the development of a new human being. 

Whilst some vegans claim that a plant-based diet easily and naturally contains all daily nutrient requirements, making vitamin supplements unnecessary, there is very little science to back this position up. It is also arguably a dangerous argument to make when it comes to a vegan pregnancy.

vegan prenatal vitamins uk pregnancy supplements

what prenatal supplements do vegans need?

Here are some of the essential vitamins that are vital for any healthy pregnancy but that vegans struggle to consume in sufficient quantities: 

Vitamin B12

Vegan diets are almost completely without vitamin B12 since it is found almost exclusively in animal products such as fish, poultry and eggs. It is present in some vegan-friendly foods such as nutritional yeast or fortified milks, cereals and spreads, but to get the full recommended daily dose even for a non-pregnant human you’d need to eat a LOT of nutritional yeast and Marmite…! B12 deficiency may increase the risk of early pregnancy loss, gestational diabetes, premature birth, and poor cognitive development in the child.

Calcium

Getting enough calcium is crucial during pregnancy, not least because your growing baby will literally take the calcium out of your bones if they’re not getting enough to develop theirs. This is particularly a risk during the last three months of pregnancy. Meanwhile, calcium deficiency during pregnancy can also increase the mother’s risk of preeclampsia as well as poor bone health in both mother and baby

Whilst a whole-foods vegan diet can naturally contain plenty of calcium, one large scale study into nutrient levels on different diets found that calcium levels were lowest among vegans. For this reason, taking a calcium supplement while growing a vegan baby is something you should very much consider. 

It is important to note that the proper absorption of calcium relies on sufficient levels of vitamin D (more on that vitamin shortly)

Choline

Choline isn’t usually one of the big headlines of vegan diets (when were you last asked by an omnivore where you get your choline from?!) but it’s a vital nutrient and plant foods only contain minuscule amounts of it.

Meanwhile, pregnant women are especially particularly to being deficient in it. Choline is essential for the development of your baby’s nervous system and brain. Large amounts of it are delivered to the growing foetus through the placenta, suggesting it is one of the most crucial nutrients during pregnancy.

Vitamin D

Whatever their diet many women have low vitamin D levels during pregnancy, as do a great many adults. Living in the UK or Northern Europe means that vitamin D intake from the sun is particularly hard to come by from September through to March, so all adults are recommended by the NHS to take a supplement during these months.

In the context of pregnancy, insufficient levels of vitamin D may increase the mother’s risk of preeclampsia, low birth weight, and pregnancy loss.

And as I said, it is an important nutrient for helping the body absorb calcium, so a vitamin D deficiency compromises your ability to get enough calcium too. 

Vegan and plant-based diets in particular are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency since it is not found naturally in any vegan foods. If you are blessed to live in sunnier climes than me then getting out everyday in the sunshine (with adequate sun protection, of course) will go a long way to prevent deficiency. But it is such an important nutrient for supporting a health pregnancy that I personally would still take a supplement, as recommended by the NHS

One thing I didn’t realise when I was pregnant was that some vitamin D supplements aren’t actually vegan-friendly since they can be derived from animal by-products. Most vegans I’ve met are fierce label-checkers anyway but just in case, make sure you always check your supplement’s label to ensure it is definitely vegan-friendly.

Iron

Most people on a vegan or plant based diet know that there are plenty of plants that contain iron, such as leafy green vegetables, dark red berries and some nuts. However the body doesn’t absorb the iron in plant foods (non-heme iron) as well as it does the iron in animal products (heme iron).

For this reason, being vegan may increase your risk of iron deficiency and the associated pregnancy complications that come with it, such as preterm birth, anaemia and low birth weight.

Iodine

Iodine is another crucial nutrient that rarely makes headlines and yet many adults are unknowingly deficient in. It is naturally found in seafood and iodised salt, which adults of all dietary persuasions don’t always consume.

If you are on a vegan diet and don’t consume iodised salt, seaweed, or iodine supplements, you are likely to not be getting enough of this nutrient. Iodine insufficiency in pregnancy can result in  hyperthyroidism in mother and baby, and poor cognitive development for the infant throughout childhood.

Omega-3 fats

Unless you’re eating chia seeds by the bucket-load, vegan diets tend to contain only low levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These two omega-3 fats are incredibly important for your baby’s eyes, brain, and nervous system development. 

While some non-vegan prenatal vitamins have omega-3 supplements included, vegan omega-3 prenatal vitamins combined with multivitamins aren’t currently available in the UK so need to be obtained separately. 

Protein

I’m sorry, I know this is the bane of every vegan’s life – it’s the first topic raised when you tell someone you’re vegan. But even if protein isn’t the be-all and end-all that omnivores make it out to be, it’s still important and gains additional importance when you’re pregnant. Insufficient protein intake may slow your baby’s growth and physical development.

Obviously protein can be plentiful on a vegan diet but more difficult to digest, raising your daily protein requirements by around 10% from that of an omnivore. In addition, pregnancy increases protein requirements by 10% so it’s definitely something to be aware of during a vegan pregnancy. 

Zinc

As with protein, plant-based zinc is more difficult to absorb than zinc found in animal products so daily zinc requirements increase for vegetarians and vegans.

Most women on any diet don’t get enough zinc during pregnancy, and deficiencies may result in low birth weight, preterm birth or foetal loss.

what vitamins are essential in a vegan pregnancy?

It is recommended that ALL pregnant women take both a folic acid supplement amounting to 400mg and a vitamin D supplement.

The folic acid should be taken every day up to at least 12 weeks of pregnancy in order to help protect against neural tube defects, including spina bifida.

Important note: in recent years there has been some speculation in the natural pregnancy movement that folic acid is related to an increase in tongue-tie in newborn babies. There is absolutely no evidence to support this and there are no published research papers demonstrating a link between folic acid supplements and tongue-tie and this site therefore strongly supports the NHS recommendations to take one.

If you’re concerned about your intake of nutrients and would like to start incorporating more vitamins and minerals into your daily diet, check out my free vegan pregnancy nutrient guide below!

Get your FREE 6-page guide to vegan pregnancy nutrients!

    We respect your privacy and won't spam you. Unsubscribe at anytime.

    the best vegan pregnancy supplements available in the UK in 2021

     Now you know the most important nutrients to be aware of in your vegan pregnancy, here are the best vegan friendly supplements available in the UK. They have been chosen for their quality, vegan credentials and suitability for pregnancy.

    The pregnancy multivitamin and mineral whole food supplement from Together is a fantastic all-rounder in terms of getting you all the nutrients you need. Features include:

    • 60 veg-caps (2 x caps per day = one months supply)
    • Includes the recommended 400mcg folic acid
    • A further 24 nutrients
    • Certified vegan
    • No artificial additives, preservatives or processing aids
    • Free from pesticides and herbicides
    • Independently tested safe for heavy metals, dioxins and PCBs
    • Free from wheat, yeast, gluten, soya, lactose
    • Non GMO
    • Gentle on the stomach
    • Made in the UK
    • Manufactured to ISO/GMP/BRC accreditation
    • 100% plant-based vegecap which can be split if you want to mix the powder in with food or a smoothieone

    If your main priority with a vegan prenatal multivitamin is to be able to get hold of it easily then Pregnacare Gummies are for you. 

    They are made by the UK’s largest vitamin and supplement company. 

    You’ll find they are readily available at pharmacies, larger health food stores and Superdrug. 

    • 60 vegan gummies (2 x gummies per day = one months supply)
    • Includes the recommended 400mcg folic acid
    • A further 16 nutrients including B12 and zinc
    • Vegan Vitamin D at the recommended dose of 10μg 
    • Lower levels of iron than other multivitamins to reduce morning sickness
    • Not tested on animals

    Trusted and completely vegan company Veganicity have an excellent pregnancy multivitamin. It is also one of the best value prenatal supplements available whilst still maintaining high quality. 

    Other features include:

    • 60 tablets (1-2 tablets a day = one to two months supply)
    • 25 major nutrients including beta carotene, vitamins C, D3 (from lichen) and E, B complex, minerals, folic acid and vitamin K2
    • Made by a 100% vegan company
    • No animal testing
    • Fully recyclable packaging
    • Free from gluten, nuts, wheat and soya 

    If you don’t want to take a multivitamin and just take the basics, Healthspan do an excellent folic acid supplement. 

    • 360 tablets/(1 tablet a day = entire pregnancy supply)
    • 400μg high-strength vegan folic acid
    • Manufactured through sustainable means
    • Created following the international standards of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)

    The other essential for anyone not wanting to take a pregnancy multivitamin is D3. Together make an excellent D3 supplement with the following features:

    • 30 vegcaps/one month’s supply
    • 1000iu active Vitamin D3
    • Sustainably harvested from wild-grown lichen
    • In a base of coconut oil for improved absorption
    • Certified vegan
    • Free from pesticides and herbicides
    • No artificial additives, preservatives or processing aids
    • Independently tested safe for heavy metals, dioxins and PCBs
    • Free from wheat, yeast, gluten, soya, lactose
    • Non GMO
    • Gentle on the stomach
    • Made in the UK 
    • Manufactured to ISO / GMP / BRC accreditation
    • 100% plant-based vegecap which can be split for mixing

    An additional supplement you may wish to consider is Vitamin B12. 

    B12 can help reduce tiredness as well as aiding concentration and memory, so this may help you beat Baby Brain!

    • 1200mcg of vegan0friendly Vitamin B12
    • 40mcg of chromium and 0.5mg of green tea extract with every dose (4 sprays)
    • Easy to use and quick to absorb
    • Free from nuts, wheat, gluten and soya
    • Suitable for diabetics
    • Can be used by children (halve the dose for those under 12)
    • Made in the UK

    If you are concerned about your choline levels and wishing to include a supplement, Nature’s Way have an excellent option. 

    • 100 vegan-friendly tablets (1 tablet per day = over three months supply)
    • 500mg recommended dose of choline for pregnancy and lactation
    • Gluten free
    • No salt, yeast-derived ingredients, wheat, soy, dairy products
    • Free from artificial flavours and preservatives.

    Omega-3 oils are hard to find in vegan-friendly pregnancy multivitamins. Trusted vegan brand Veganicity have a fantastic option made from fish-friendly algal oil.

    • 60 vegan capsules (1-3 caps per day = up to two months supply)
    • 125mg of DHA and 75mg of EPA in each gelatine-free capsule
    • Dosage designed with pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum bodies in mind
    • Made by a 100% vegan company
    • No animal testing
    • Fully recyclable packaging
    • Free from gluten, wheat, nuts, yeast, sugar, lactose and soy

    For a premium vegan AND organic pregnancy multivitamin, Garden of Life’s Prenatal Multi is the top brand. It is also the highest vegan prenatal vitamin on this list in terms of iron intake, so a great choice if iron is a concern for you. 

    • 90 tablets (3 tablets per day = one months supply)
    • Provides 600mcg of folate
    • Includes 800IU vegan vitamin D3
    • Certified organic and non-GMO verified
    • Vegan and kosher
    • Soy and gluten-free

    If your morning sickness is is bad but still want to go organic, you may get on better with Garden of Life’s gummies instead as they don’t iron.

    And finally, if you are concerned about calcium deficiency and want a high quality boost, Together’s Marine Calcium is derived from 100% seaweed. It is sustainably harvested from clean and pristine waters off Iceland.

    • 60 veg-capsules (2 caps per day = one months supply)
    • Natural plant-based calcium from seaweed
    • Unique 72 ionic trace mineral profile for improved absorption
    • Sustainably harvested
    • Certified vegan
    • Free from pesticides and herbicides
    • Independently tested safe for heavy metals, dioxins and PCBs
    • No artificial additives, preservatives or processing aids
    • Free from wheat, yeast, gluten, soya, lactose
    • Non GMO
    • Pregnancy safe
    • Gentle on the stomach
    • Made in the UK
    • Manufactured to ISO / GMP / BRC accreditation
    • 100% plant-based vegecap may be split and powder mixed with food or drink
    TheVeganKind Supermarket

    and finally… what supplements should you not take during pregnancy?

    As you might expect, there are a handful of supplements that are not safe to take during pregnancy. These are:
     
    • Vitamin A – Although some prenatal vitamins contain beta carotene, which the body converts in Vitamin A, the NHS states that too much additional Vitamin A supplementation in the form of retinol can harm your baby. 
    • Vitamin E – Despite being an important nutrient, supplementation during pregnancy may increase the risk of abdominal pain and rupture of the amniotic sack
    • Black cohosh – Some women take this supplement to aid uterine health and reduce menstrual cramps. It is not safe to take this herb during pregnancy, as it can cause uterine contractions, which could lead to a premature labour
    • Goldenseal – Not a common supplement but used to treat respiratory and bowel problems. Goldenseal contains berberine, which has been shown to worsen jaundice in infants. It can lead to a rare type of brain damage called kernicterus, which sadly can be fatal
    • Dong quai – This Chinese herb can lead to premature labour through uterine contractions or even pregnancy loss
    • Yohimbe – This traditional African herb should never be taken by pregnant women. It has been associated with dangerous conditions including high blood pressure, heart attacks, and seizures
    • Other supplements to avoid are angelica, blue cohosh, ephedra, mugwort, pennyroyal, red clover, saw palmetto, tansy, yarrow and wormwood
    • Although not vegan, I also want to mention that cod liver oil should always be avoided during pregnancy

    Disclaimer: Please always make sure you are in full communication with your healthcare provider when taking any supplements. Women who prefer to do things naturally and ethically have a tendency to without information from medical professionals for fear of being judged, but I strongly recommend you be transparent and open with your provider for the sake of your health and that of your baby.

    I hope you have found my vegan prenatal supplements guide useful. Please download my FREE guide to vegan pregnancy nutrients below to help you get the very best nutrition at this special time.

    Meanwhile I wish you a happy and healthy pregnancy and a joyful experience birthing your new baby  💕

    Get your FREE 6-page guide to vegan pregnancy nutrients!

      We respect your privacy and won't spam you. Unsubscribe at anytime.

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