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What is the difference between prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) prenatal vitamins? That’s the question many women who are planning a pregnancy, or who are already are pregnant, ask themselves and their doctors every day!
How much folic acid does a prescription vs. OTC prenatal vitamin contain?
Folic acid is an important B vitamin that supports the healthy development of your baby while you are pregnant. It helps lessen the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs), including spina bifida and anencephaly.*
According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH), "Folic acid is very important for all women who may become pregnant. Adequate folate intake during the periconceptual period, the time just before and just after a woman becomes pregnant, protects against neural tube defects."
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends taking folic acid daily for at least one month before conception, and daily while you are pregnant. The CDC also suggests that women of childbearing age take folic acid daily, whether planning a pregnancy or not. This is an especially important statement since nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.
Prescription prenatal vitamins contain 1,000 micrograms (1 milligram) or more, while on the average, most OTCs contain only 400 micrograms (0.4 mg ) or less.
Learn more about FOLMAX, our proprietary immediate and modified release folic acid used in vitaMedMD’s vitaPearl.
Does your prenatal contain iron, in the right form, so it does not cause stomach upset, nausea, or constipation? Iron in your prenatal is important since it is estimated that 50% of all pregnant women experience iron deficiency anemia, notably during the third trimester – a particularly important time to maintain healthy iron levels as it is when the fetus begins to store iron for use during the first six months of life.
A quality prescription prenatal contains chelated iron. Chelation, the process of binding iron molecules to an amino acid, stabilizes iron so it is readily absorbed into the bloodstream while being gentle on the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Most OTC prenatal vitamins do not even list what kind of iron they contain!
Learn more about FePlus, our proprietary blended chelate containing iron used in vitaPearl.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 essential fatty acid (EFA) that serves as a primary building block for the healthy development of the brain, eyes, cells, and nervous system.* There is concern, however, that DHA derived from large fish including shark and swordfish, contains contaminants such as mercury and PCBs. Prescription prenatal vitamins usually undergo a strict purification process that tests for these impurities before being released. Question is, how pure is the DHA from OTC prenatals?
Learn more about the highly purified pur-DHA used in vitaPearl.
Choosing whether to take a prescription or OTC prenatal vitamin also comes down to convenience. Do you take one pill, once daily, or do you have to take a two or more, two more times a day! Can you receive free delivery of your prenatal vitamins every month, or do you have go to the store each time?
Last, but not least, getting a prescription prenatal vitamin may sound like it could wreck your budget. After all, ideally you’ll be taking it before you conceive, during your pregnancy, and while you are nursing.
Fact is, prescription prenatals may be cheaper than the OTCs you buy at your local pharmacy or discount store. Depending on your insurance plan and rebates offered, you can end up paying far less than you would for an OTC.
Contact vitaCare online or call 800-350-3819 today to find out if you have a $0 monthly co-pay!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.