Pregnancy is an exciting and stressful time for many mothers. It is important to realize that now is the time to start setting your baby up for success in their development. Proper nutrition — for both mom and baby — is of the utmost importance to ensure that both of you are healthy and happy. This is why gelatin-free prenatal vitamins are essential for Muslim expecting mothers. Prenatal vitamins give you and your little ones a healthy dose of all the nutrients needed, and may not be getting, in your everyday diet.
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There are many prenatal vitamins on the market, but they are not all created the same. Many capsule and gummy vitamins contain gelatin, which is problematic for Muslim expecting mothers. You may not have known, but gel capsules are made mainly from gelatin.
Not only that, there are so many listed ingredients on a prenatal vitamin jar; where does one start to decipher which is best or most needed?
Don’t fret, though; I got you. I’ve been there, and I did the research. I was THAT person looking through the ingredient lists, and three kids and a variety of brands later, I have some recommendations. Lucky for us Muslims, there is a movement toward vegan prenatal and gelatin-free alternatives, such as carrageenan or agar-agar, a seaweed derivative. Now, that allows you to rest easy, knowing that you are not ingesting pork-based gelatin without your knowledge, and you have a decent list of options to choose from.
To make it even easier for you, I have created a comparison chart listing all of the nutrients found in the recommended prenatal vitamins I discuss in this post. You can access this chart, for FREE, in my resource library. Just fill out the form at the end of this post to get access!
Keep reading to learn more about the best gelatin-free prenatal vitamins on the market.
But first, what nutrients should prenatal vitamins contain?
Your bundle of joy needs a plethora of nutrients to grow healthy and strong, and your body provides most of that. Additionally, it would help if you took extra nutrients to ensure that your body can support a growing child. Your doctor may specify that you need more or less of any of these nutrients.
According to WebMD, this is what your prenatal vitamins should contain:
|400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid||20 milligrams (mg) of niacin|
|400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D||6 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B12|
|200-300 milligrams (mg) of calcium||10 milligrams (mg) of vitamin E|
|70 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C||15 milligrams (mg) of zinc|
|3 milligrams (mg) of thiamine||17 milligrams (mg) of iron|
|2 milligrams (mg) of riboflavin||150 micrograms (mcg) of iodine|
Of note, folic acid (listed above) is a synthetic form of vitamin B9 and requires conversions to get to the active state, L-5-Methylfolate. Because of this, it is more difficult for the body to use. On the flip side, folate, the active form of vitamin B9, doesn’t need those conversions and can immediately start working in the body. Simply put, this is why folate is preferred over folic acid.
Unfortunately, most conventional prenatal vitamins use folic acid because it is cheaper for the manufacturers to produce. More and more studies are suggesting folic acid does not convert well into active vitamin B9. As a result, some manufacturers are shifting to use folate instead. This is an essential factor when selecting your go-to prenatal vitamins, so be sure to keep that in mind.
Also, take notice that gelatin is not a listed ingredient. Gelatin is not essential to your baby’s development. Still, companies typically use it to coat capsules or change the consistency of a product, so it does become part of the product overall and will impact your prenatal vitamin selection.
Here are 8 of the best and most popular non-gelatin prenatal vitamins on the market:
Ritual is one of the most popular brands for prenatal vitamins today. It is certified vegan and uses no animal by-products whatsoever, meaning that it is 100% safe for Muslim mothers-to-be. They are also non-GMO and gluten and major allergen-free.
They are top-rated, with many reviews citing that the scent is pleasant and not overwhelming (very important for smell-sensitive pregnant women), not too big, making them easy to take, and the subscription service is very convenient.
However, Ritual prenatal vitamins do not offer everything you may want from a prenatal vitamin, such as Vitamin C (and others), so you may have to take more vitamins in conjunction with this one. Ritual claims that the nutrients left out are usually consumed in your daily diet, so they’ve focused on the essential nutrients an expecting mother might need but doesn’t always get. If you’re someone who pays particular attention to your diet, then this might resonate with you.
SmartyPants has become a top contender for prenatal vitamins because of their yummy taste and all of the nutrients they offer. They come in a gummy form, making them taste more like a treat than a chore, with three different flavors: blueberry, grape, and mixed berry. They do not contain any gelatin, synthetic coloring, or artificial sweeteners. However, you will need to take an iron pill in conjunction with these.
The only downside to the SmartyPants gummy vitamins is that pregnant and lactating women should take four gummies a day rather than just one. However, if you like the taste, this could be a plus! Many mothers prefer gummy vitamins to pills or soft gels, which can be very large and cause nausea.
Noor Vitamins are designed with the Muslim mother in mind, as they are pure and halal certified. This vitamin does contain halal gelatin from bovine, which would mean it is not “vegetarian.”
Expecting mothers only need to take one of the soft gels a day, fewer than other brands, making it easy to remember. Additionally, this will be the only prenatal pill you have to take because it fulfills all the base nutrients required. The addition of ginger extract is to ease nausea and stomach discomfort, which is certainly helpful, especially during the first trimester.
These vitamins mainly have great reviews from their users, but some complain about the pills’ size and smell, saying that it caused them nausea.
This brand was inspired after Dr. Saimah Arshad realized how difficult it was for the Muslim parents in her community to find vitamins that did not contain pork by-products, allergens, or harmful chemicals. Because of this, all of Salaam Nutritionals’ prenatal gummy vitamins are vegetarian, non-GMO, and free of gluten, dairy, and nuts.
Reviews say that while these gummies don’t taste the best, they are better than taking cumbersome pills. Salaam Nutritionals prenatal vitamins do not contain iron and many additional nutrients, so if you select this gummy, you will need to supplement with other vitamins and ensure a well-balanced diet.
Salaam Nutritionals use folic acid instead of folate in their prenatal vitamins. While this prenatal vitamin isn’t the “best” on the market, it is listed here because it is popular amongst Muslim pregnant moms. I encourage you to review the free comparison chart to take a closer look at the nutrients as you compare each of these gelatin-free prenatal vitamins.
Mama’s Select has thousands of positive reviews across the web. While many reviewers say they have a “pill taste,” they do not cause nausea in many users due to their size. While large (around a quarter length), they are not very thick, making them easier to swallow than standard prenatal vitamins. Additionally, you only have to take one of these pills a day – a big bonus alone.
These prenatal vitamins were my first introduction to gummy vitamins. I was relieved and satisfied these vitamins had all the necessary nutrients and more. Garden of Life prenatal gummies have an earthier texture; some reviewers say it’s a leathery texture. They taste pleasant and fruity, and the fantastic thing about them is that they are made with whole fruits and no synthetic ingredients. Some reviewers even suggested that Garden of Life prenatal gummies reduced their nausea after switching from other prenatal vitamins.
Naturelo prenatal vitamins are vegetarian capsules and are famous because they source their vitamins and minerals from whole fruits and vegetables. While the downside to these vitamins is that you need to take three capsules daily, they are smaller than average prenatal capsules. However, a simple solution is to break the capsules and sprinkle them into a smoothie or food to avoid taking in capsule form. For moms prone to morning sickness, this is a great way to prevent it (been there, done that).
These prenatal vitamins come in caplet form, and like Mama’s Select, you only need to take one a day, and you’re done! With thousands of positive reviews online, Best Nest Wellness is amongst the top tier of prenatal vitamins. They contain all nutrients recommended by health professionals and an extensive list of additional nutrients. Many pregnant women have said these prenatal vitamins reduce or have eliminated their nausea and constipation.
The one drawback of these caplets is their smell/taste. It might not be pleasant for the first few seconds it takes to swallow these pills, but that wears off quite quickly. If you are sensitive to smell during your pregnancy, you’ll want to consider taking these pills alongside a glass of milk, juice, or while you’re eating to reduce the odor.
There is a growing selection of vegan and gelatin-free prenatal vitamins out there, so it can be challenging to know which one is best for you. For example, if you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease or experience a lot of morning sickness, your doctor may recommend one over the other. Otherwise, it can be helpful to try different brands and see what works the best for you. Make sure to check your prenatal vitamins with your doctor to be on the safe side!
Don’t forget to fill out the form below for your free gelatin-free prenatal vitamins comparison chart. This chart will help you quickly make an informed decision on your next prenatal vitamins.
Which of these prenatal vitamins do you like best?
This post is all about gelatin-free prenatal vitamins
If you’re pregnant, check out the post Labor and Delivery with Modesty in Mind to learn about all things birthing and modesty.
BSc, Atli Arnarson, PhD. “Folic Acid vs. Folate — What’s the Difference?” Healthline, Healthline, 19 Aug. 2019, www.healthline.com/nutrition/folic-acid-vs-folate#folic-acid.
Editor. American Pregnancy Association. American Pregnancy Association, americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/pregnancy-vitamins-nutrients. Accessed 15 Oct. 2021.
Root Functional Medicine. “Folic Acid vs. Folate: What’s the Difference?” Root Functional Medicine, 10 Jan. 2021, rootfunctionalmedicine.com/folic-acid-vs-folate-whats-the-difference.
WebMD. “Prenatal Vitamins.” WebMD, WebMD, 27 May 2002, www.webmd.com/baby/guide/prenatal-vitamins#1.