Problems with Prenatal Vitamins
Berkeley Parents Network >
Pregnancy & Childbirth >
Problems with Prenatal Vitamins
Has anyone else had horrible stomach problems with prenatal
vitamins? I have tried 3 different kinds and I am having
serious stomach pains (no, I'm not pregnant...just planning
ahead!) I'm certain it is the vitamins because as soon as I
stop taking them, the pain goes away. I would be interested to
hear similar stories, and more importantly curious to know if
you found any prenatal vitamins that don't make your stomach
Trying to get my Folic Acid!
I also got a bad reaction from the standard prenatal vitamins.
You might want to try the ones made from 100% whole foods and
not from synthetic sources. The Baby and Me brand worked really
well for me, but not sure where you would find them up in No.
Cal. (I got them in LA).
Picky about vitamins
I could not take prenatal vitamins. I took 2 children's chewable vitamins
instead. I think the Flinstones ones worked fine for my tummy.
try eating a little bread with it. Also, sounds nutty, but you
could also try a little citrus juice, which helps absorb the
iron. I used to get aches, but they eventually went away, or
maybe I just stopped noticing. A friend of mine completely
stopped taking the prenatal vitamins, because they made her ill.
I can't take vitamins, either, while pregnant or not. My stomach
either hurts or gets queasy. While pregnant I just endeavored to
eat a very balanced diet. Now that I'm not pregnant, I just
recently discovered that I can stomach Luna bars quite well...
maybe too well - they're delicious! They are fortified with all
kinds of vitamins and while I don't have a wrapper here in front
of me, I believe they give you 100% of your folic acid. The way
I look at it, one Luna bar and a couple of glasses of milk, and
As with any vitamins, you especially can't take prenatal
vitamins on an empty stomach. Are you eating a meal first? IF
that's not the case, then I can't think of any other reason for
I'm so sorry to hear about the tummy problems. I used to get
queasy taking prenatal vitamins myself until my OB said I didn't
have to take them, advice I followed during both of my
pregnancies. I was told by my doctor that if I ate healthy
enough I really didn't need to take them. I believe that was
some good piece of advice too, both of my kids were born really
healthy and not underweight. They also didn't develop any
problems later. I'm not a doctor I'm only telling you the advice
I received from my own OB. As long as I ate well, I really
shouldn't worry about taking pre-natal vitamins. :)
I'm not sure what kind of stomach pain you are experiencing, but
I did get extreme nausea from taking pre-natal vitamins that I
purchased on my own. When I finally saw my ob/gyn, she gave me
some prescription ones that were lower in iron. Apparently it
was too much iron that was upsetting my stomach. With the pills
she gave me I only had to take one, once a day. It made a lot
of difference. My advice is to ask your ob/gyn for a sample of
some pills that his/her patients have had good experiences
with. I'm sure the stomach upset is relatively common. Good
luck with the pills and with your big plans!
You may be reacting to the iron in pre-natal vitamins. Make
sure you've eaten before you take it. Also, I found that the
time of day makes a big difference for me (this was also true
when I used to take birth control pills). If I take my vitamin
in the middle of the day, such as after lunch, I often feel sick
to my stomach, but if I take it at night after dinner, I feel
fine. Good luck!!
One of the most common irritants in the prenatal vitamin is the
iron. Pre-pregnant, your iron needs are quite low, so you may
not need that particular supplement. I took Centrum
multivitamin during all of my pregnancy, and just added a
separate iron supplement as I ended the first trimester. For the
first trimester, you can compare the folate content of the
prenatal with the centrum and buy a separate folate supplement
if you need it. You may not need it as you may get the balance
of the folate from a fortified breakfast cereal or a
Prenatal vitamins made me vaguely and unpleasantly nauseaus
(which may not be the same thing as your stomach pains) if I
didn't eat some high-protein food with them. If you're not
eating well just before you take the vitamin, you might try it.
When I did eat well, they never bothered me.
There are lots of good
sources of nutritional folic acid. In addition to being easy on
the stomach, these are more easily absorbed and used by your
body. Have you considered going straight to the source? Beans,
especially kidney beans, are a rich source. Check online for
more foods high in folic acid if you're curious.
Best of luck.
Two suggestions: 1) take the vitamins with a meal, not on an
empty stomach; and/or 2) take them just before going to bed.
My OB recommended taking them before bed time if they caused
stomach pain. Good luck.
Get one without iron or just take folic acid alone. Many women
are sick from the iron in prenatals.
Good luck trying to conceive.
The iron in prenatal vitamins can cause constipation and
stomach pain. Some providers will recommend switching to
regular vitamins plus some extra folic acid for the time being,
provided you're not anemic. That way you get the vitamins your
baby really needs without the pain. Ask your doctor.
I had the same problem, except I had stomach pain and threw up
after taking the vitamins. Nothing worked, not different kinds of
vitamins, not taking them with food, not different times of day
or different foods. Once I even threw up while driving across the
Bay Bridge to work (luckily the NY Times was in the car -- turns
out it is a very absorbent paper). With my first kid I stressed
about it and kept trying to take them. With my second I gave up
very very early (around 6 weeks into the pregnancy), and
concentrated on eating breakfast cereal with added folic acid
(Total is one) every day and making sure I ate a lot of spinach,
chard, broccoli, etc. You may want to keep trying to take them,
but if you can't don't panic -- just focus on getting what you
need elsewhere. There's enough to worry about in a pregnancy
without adding stomach pain to it.
I didn't see the original post, but I couldn't believe none of
the replies mentioned Premesis vitamins. With my first 2
pregnancies I was SICK for the first couple months and couldn't
keep down vitamins. With this one, my midwife gave me Premesis
(a Rx prenatal vitamin containing folic acid, plus Vitamin B6,
B12, and calcium; the latter 3 all help get rid of nausea.) He
said to take it IN THE MORNING BEFORE I GET OUT OF BED, which I
thought was crazy, but it works! My nausea is much less severe
with this pregnancy, and I'm convinced it's because of the
Premesis. Ask your health care provider about it!
I am 10 wks pregnant and I've had ''morning sickness'' 24/7. After
much trial and error I discovered that the prenatal vitamins
were really making things worse. I tried everything from
skipping every other day to resorting to chewable children's
vitamins. Nothing worked. Actually it's so bad that when I tried
to eat a bowl of ''Total'' cereal I had the same extreme reaction.
My OB/GYN said to stop taking them and to concentrate on eating
but it still has me worried. This is my second pregancy. I was
sick w/ the first but don't remember feeling quite so awful
every single day. I feel as if my stomach is much more sensitive
since I had my gallbladder removed a year ago.
Just wondering how safe this really is, not that I feel like I
have much choice. Any advice? Words of wisdom?
Sick as a dog
I was extremely sick for several months of my pregnancy. From
about six weeks on I couldn't take prenatal vitamins and
shortly after could barely tolerate any food. It wasn't until I
was about 14-15 weeks that my doctors became very concerned
(and I eventually needed a feeding tube in my arm because I
eventually stopped eating altogether due to severe nausea).
Throughtout those weeks, I was really worried about providing
adequate nourishment to the baby. I was repeatedly told that
even though I was barely eating & taking no vitamins that the
baby was fine in the first trimester as the baby was taking
everything it needed from the mom. And, sure enough, I had a
healthy baby several months later. So, I wouldn't worry about
it too much and do the best you can. Later on when you can
tolerate vitamins, start taking them again. Also, it really
helps to take them with food as they can make you even more
nausious on an empty tummy! Good luck!
I had horrible morning sickness with both pregnancies. I
was sick 24/7 for the first 18 weeks, and continued to be
sick every morning until delivery. There were weeks upon
weeks of eating nothing but white bread and water. Suffice it
to say, I couldn't take prenatal vitamins at all. And both of my
daughters were perfectly healthy. After both pregnancies, I
was healthy, too. So I don't think you should worry about it
too much. If you can take them, great, otherwise, don't
torture yourself. I remember my ob's (different for each
pregnancy) telling me that the baby will take what s/he
needs from your body--the harm (if any) will be to yourself
(small comfort). Try to eat healthy foods when you can eat
again, and don't! stress about the vitamins!
Hope you feel better soon.
You poor thing- this is a common reaction for mom's who take
prenatal vitamins... I would listen to your doc about being
careful with your diet and making sure your eating right, but
that may be hard as a lot of things probably make you sick. I
would say, if you CAN take the vitamins, DO, but if you can't
stomach it, then don't and watch your diet as much as you can.
Mostly you want to make sur eyour getting folic acid which is
very important for your newly growing fetus. If you can't take
the whole vitamin, try taking separate folic acid and maybe some
vitamin C too which is really good for preg. mommies. If you
would like more tips or have other questions, email me off
list... I'm a doula so I'd like to point you in the right
direction if you want....
I completely understand...I am pregnant with #3, and this one
included 4 months of morning sickness, non stop. I took my
vitamins right before going to bed, and this seemed to help. I
still take them at this time now. I found all the medication
to help with the morning sickness, only made me feel yucky in
other ways, not worth it. Good luck - focus on that little
miracle that will soon be with you. That's the only thing that
has gotten me through!
Some prenatal vitamins made me sick too. I finally got the Whole
Foods brand and they worked for me. Not sure why, but you could
try a different brand and see if that helps, or maybe just
sick of vitamins too
I feel for you (had 3 pregnancies with nausea/vomitting 24/7 for
many months). My OBGYN suggested keeping up just a folic acid
supplement, so you should check about this with your doctor
(it's difficult to get enough folic acid through diet only
during pregnancy, esp. w/the vomitting). Best of luck to you.
Ask your doctor about special prenatal vitamins to aid
with ''morning sickness''. I too had constant nausea (throughout
my pregnancy) and could not take the regular prenatal vit. I
think the iron in particular worsens nausea. My dr. game me a
milder pill that had a lot of B vitamins, which are supposed to
reduce nausea. For me, this type was better, but it was still
very hard to swallow the huge pill. The midwife in the practice
advised me to try to take the pill after eating whatever I could
so that I'd be taking it on as full of a stomach as possible.
Though I couldn't eat much I could manage to eat potato chips,
which settled my stomach (potatoes also have B vitamins). I
still couldn't get the vitamin down every day during the 1st
trimester. Good luck. It's not fun feeling this way - believe
me, I know!
this page was last updated: Dec 7, 2004
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network