28 answers

Prescription Prenatal vs over the counter...are They Really That Different?

Hi moms! I went to SAMS yesterday to fill my prenatal and iron prescriptions and was floored when I had to pay $100 for the two pills. I couldn't believe it when the pharmacist said my insurance only covered about $10. This time last year I was only paying about $35 total for both prescriptions.
So, my question to you all is, are over the counter prenatal pills as good as the expensive prescription ones? We are on a budget and I would rather put away $100 a month for baby than spend it on the expensive pills I could do without. I have always switched to the less expensive vitamins while I am breastfeeding. I can't imagine the over the counter stuff being that inferior to the prescription strength vitamins, but I could be wrong. The last thing I want is to hurt my baby in any way or deprive him of the vital nutrients he needs during development.
Thanks so much ladies! Have a beautiful weekend!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Pre-natal vitamins made me horribly sick to the point of near dehydration with both of my pregnancies. My OB/GYN had me take 2 Flinstone chewables every day instead, and my children were none the worse for it.

I never took the prescription prenatals, they always upset my stomache. I have always taken the over the counter prenatal vitamins, which don't upset my stomache. I would say the over the counters may have additional or more of something in them, thus the reason they upset my stomache, but my doctor never had a problem with me using over the counter.

Hope this helps!


I have had 3 healthy babies and have always gotten mine from Vitacost.com. They have great prices and superior vitamins.

More Answers

From my knowledge, you have to be concerned with a few levels of vital nutrients that are important to a pregnant woman. Folic acid, iron, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Calcium are the big four which are dosed at a different level for pregnant women. As long as the vitamin you will be taking can meet the criteria that your OB/GYN has for these nutrients, you do not have to take prescription pre-natal vitamins. There are over-the-counter brands that do supply the needed requirements for pregnant women. Just run it by your OB/GYN and make sure they approve.

1 mom found this helpful

not really. The March of Dimes crusade is to push the importance of folic acid for pregnant women, as it hinders defects. Hold on to your prescription bottle and compare it to the OTC varieties next time you shop. Also, some regular breakfast cereals are packed w/folic acid as well as many vitamins, just in case you want a boost to your vitamins. Was so sick my 1st pregnancy-I had chewable prenatals and loved cereal!

1 mom found this helpful

If you stay the Rx route, check with your doctor and the pharmacy about a different one or a generic. It can make a big difference in cost. Also some of them may be on the $4 ones at Walmart or Target. Unrelated a little, but when I worked in a vet's office we had to send a script to a pharmacy, the owner called and it was $1000, after talking to the pharmacist we could use a difference dosage and change the number of pills and it was $30.

Please don't waste your money on the Rx. And don't let anyone make you feel bad by buying the otc pills. They're silly if they think it's better for you.

My OB said that prescription is absolutely no better than OTC and that if my insurance didn't cover it, just buy OTC. She also said that I didn't have to take extra iron unless my count was down and it wasn't. Also, she was totally fine with me taking a regular multi-mineral/multi-vitamin and an extra folic acid pill. She said they were even better because there were more vits and mins than a basic prenatal has!
You won't hurt your baby by buying OTC :)

I dont know if there is a difference, but ask your doc for samples, mine gave me a month worth of samples and a coupon for 3 free months. He also said let him know when those run out and he would give me another coupon. I have to take iron also and it was going to be $38 for one month, the pharmacist told me I could take otc iron and it would be just fine.

Pre-natal vitamins made me horribly sick to the point of near dehydration with both of my pregnancies. My OB/GYN had me take 2 Flinstone chewables every day instead, and my children were none the worse for it.

Nature's Plus make a really good Mega PreNatal and its relatively inexpensive compared to others that I've seen. You can get it at Sun Harvest.

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.