It’s the ultimate catch-22. You are already not feeling well because, hey, you’re pregnant. But because you are, your doctor told you to take a prenatal vitamin that… upsets your stomach. So, what to do in this situation? I mean, we’re not going to cheat baby out of the essential nutrients she needs, right?
Turns out, there are a few things to know that can solve this dilemma. In fact, these days you don’t even have to swallow pills to get the nutrients you need.
Check out the tips and product ideas below for more! Here’s what we’ll cover:
Take prenatal vitamins with a main meal
One very easy thing you can do to help make prenatal vitamins easy on the stomach is to be sure to take them with a main meal. A lot of people tend to take their vitamins on an empty stomach. However, this can contribute to an upset stomach. In addition, when you have a meal, your body releases digestive enzymes and bile salts that help your body more effectively absorb the vitamins in your prenatal. Basically your body is already tuned up to absorb the supplement. The fat content in a main meal can also help you absorb certain vitamins, especially vitamins A, D, E and K.
Remember how your mom used to give you ginger ale to settle your stomach? Well, there is actually a reason for this. Ginger has been traditionally used for generations to help settle the stomach. Ginger ale may not do the trick anymore, but there are some ginger supplements out there that people swear by. Taking one of these supplements along with your prenatal vitamin is one way you can help mediate any tummy troubles you experience when taking a prenatal.
Stomach upset has been clinically shown to be alleviated by vitamin B6. There have been some good clinical trials demonstrating this benefit. In fact, the only FDA-approved morning sickness drug (for severe morning sickness) has B6. It’s a combination of high-dose vitamin B6 and a stomach-settling drug called doxylamine. Doxylamine is also found in the over-the-counter sleep aid Unisom.
However, it’s important to note that a relatively high amount of vitamin B6, about 10 to 25 mg, is required for such an effect. The upper limit of intake for pregnant women is 80 mg for women up to age 18 and 100 mg for women 19 and older, so it’s important not to overdo it. But taking some extra vitamin B6 would be a smart way to make your prenatal vitamins easier on the stomach. Some prenatal products actually have a higher level of vitamin B6 included for this very purpose.
Chuck the pills, try the stomach-pleasing alternatives!
We’ve already discussed some of the key differences between gummies and pills. Generally speaking, pills tend to be a better choice. However, if you can’t stomach them (sorry, couldn’t resist), why not try the gummy option? Some of the nutrients that are typically missing from a gummy, like iron and calcium, can be covered by a healthy diet. Also, you will see that many gummy products tend to split the daily dose between 2 or even more gummies. You could take one gummy with each meal and easily reach your daily needs. This means you are only taking “half” the amount at a time.
One brand we like very much is SmartyPants. They use high-quality ingredients and the dose is typically spread across 3 or more gummies – so you don’t have to take the entire dose at one meal. This can do wonders for your stomach. Oh, and did we mention, they taste great? They also have an organic option as well, check it out:
Beyond gummies, there are even some newer options to consider. You can also try prenatal powdered beverages. Check out the prenatal drink mix from Nature’sPlus. This one also has a high level of vitamin B6, and as we discussed above this can be a great ingredient to help fight nausea associated with pregnancy.
If you are concerned about getting the omega-3s you need, there are some shockingly good-tasting creamy omega-3 smoothie products. If you haven’t tried the omega-3 smoothies from Barleans, a small company from Washington state, you are missing out. Just check out the positive reviews:
There are also some flavored oils that taste surprisingly good from a company called Carlson. They are not a smoothie like the Barlean’s product, but are actually a straight oil. You may have never considered taking fish oil by the spoonful, but there is almost no fishy taste in these products because the oil is fresh, as long as they are properly stored.
The main thing is, if your prenatals aren’t agreeing with you, don’t give up! It happens to many women, and you have options. When you take your prenatal you can also take some ginger or vitamin B6 to settle your stomach. Or you can try other types of prenatals that aren’t pills, as some of these forms can be easy on your stomach as well. With these options you can help make taking a prenatal vitamin suck less.