Pregnancy is one condition for which the benefit of vitamin supplements including folic acid, iron and calcium, is well established. In fact, two large studies have recently confirmed that pregnant women who take iron are less likely to have babies with low birth weight. That’s why it’s notable and worrisome that retailers are selling a gummy vitamin labeled “Prenatal” that provides significantly fewer nutrients than normal prenatal vitamins.
The gummies attract women who have trouble taking the conventional supplements. “I had the worst time gagging every time I had to take the pills. They are just so huge,” said Sandra Young*. “I found the gummy ones and think they are amazing.” Young, who is in her second trimester, did not know that her gummies lacked iron.
Dr. Barbara T. Felt, a pediatrician at the University of Michigan, says women should consult their physician before using gummy vitamins, noting that the traditional prenatal vitamins were “formulated with the best evidence we have about the needs of the mother and fetus during pregnancy and after delivery.” Pregnant women might also want to note the following facts about some available prenatal gummy products:
The Vitafusion prenatal gummies now available on the shelves of every major drug store, as well as the generic copies sold by CVS and Target, do not contain calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, or iron – ingredients you’ll find in other prenatal vitamins. (Vitafusion has a separate gummy product called “Fiber+Calcium,” which is marketed as a companion supplement providing “Prenatal Support.”)