The Truth About Taking Geritol for Pregnancy

Pregnant woman taking a vitamin with water

Geritol has become popular among some women who believe it is a way to a healthier pregnancy, as well as to enhance fertility. However, there is no evidence Geritol makes a woman more fertile or is better than prenatal multivitamins during pregnancy.

What Is Geritol?

Geritol is an iron-containing multivitamin brand that has 26 vitamins and minerals. The product has been on the market for years. Geritol became a trusted source for people who believed it boosted their energy, or who wanted to supplement their dietary intake of the micronutrients.

Promotion of Geritol For Pregnancy and Fertility

Women on online forums, such as What to Expect, have been promoting Geritol as beneficial for fertility and pregnancy. These women say the product gives them an energy boost in pregnancy and results in a healthier pregnancy. They also claim this brand of vitamins achieves such wonders as to increase the quantity of cervical mucus, making it easier and faster to get pregnant.

The Lack of Evidence

You won't find any scientific evidence to support the online promotion of Geritol for fertility and pregnancy. In fact, the company that makes Geritol does not support this misinformation:

  • For pregnancy, the Geritol website states there are no studies on the use of Geritol in pregnancy, and there is no evidence to support the online misconception. The company especially does not promote Geritol as a source for adequate folic acid. They suggest talking to your doctor about the nutrients you need during your pregnancy
  • For fertility, the Geritol company also writes there is no evidence to suggest Geritol boosts fertility and refutes any claims that it improves the chances of conceiving.

Adequate nutrients are essential to your energy, your health, your pregnancy, and your baby. Poor health might also have an impact on your fertility and ability to conceive. However, there is no truth to the belief "there is a baby in every bottle" of Geritol.

Vitamin Supplements in Pregnancy

doctor explaining pills

Pregnant women need a higher amount of most vitamins and minerals. A healthy pregnancy diet can ensure you are getting the right amounts of all recommended nutrients. However, because many women might find it difficult to get all the nutrients they need during pregnancy, doctors recommend a daily prenatal vitamin.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it doesn't matter which brand you choose for your prenatal vitamins, as long as it contains the vitamins and minerals you doctor recommends. Beware of taking prenatal vitamins plus Gerritol during pregnancy. Taking too much of certain vitamins or minerals may cause problems for you and your baby.

Geritol Nutrients Compared to Prenatal Vitamins

There is no reason to believe Geritol is superior to any brand of prenatal multivitamins. The nutrients in the product, such as vitamins, iron, and other minerals, are similar to what you will find in any prenatal multivitamin brand.

You can view a list of nutrients in Geritol on its nutrition label on the product link above in the first section "What Is Geritol?" Compare the list to the nutrients in One A Day Prenatal multivitamin, for example. You will find they both contain similar vitamins and minerals. However, the Geritol company states their product "is not a substitute for a prenatal vitamin."

Comparing the Most Essential Vitamins and Minerals

The United States' Food and Nutrition Board and the Institute of Medicine set the recommended daily Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) and the recommended daily amounts (RDA) for nutrients for pregnant women in the U. S. and Canada.

All vitamins and minerals are important during pregnancy, but some play essential roles in a baby's normal development. It is important the vitamin you take during pregnancy contains the right amount of these essential nutrients.

A Comparison Chart

Extracted from a review by the Linus Pauling Institute, the following chart lists the RDAs recommended during pregnancy for the most essential vitamins and minerals. The chart compares these RDAs to the amounts in Geritol and One A Day prenatal vitamins.

Note: mg = milligrams; mcg = micrograms; IU = International Units

Nutrients Amount/Day Geritol One A Day
Iron 27 mg 16 mg 28 mg
Folic Acid 600 mcg 380 mcg 800 mcg
Vitamin B-12 2.6 mcg 6.7 mcg 8 mcg
Vitamin D 15 mcg (600 IU) 10 mcg (400 IU) 10 mcg (400 IU)
Calcium 1000-1300 mg 148 mg 200 mg
Zinc 11-12 mg 13.5 mg 15 mg
Omega-3 fatty acids not established 0 235 mg

Observations From the Chart

The following is important to note from the chart:

  • Geritol does not contain enough folic acid, which is essential to prevent neural tube defects in the developing fetus.
  • Geritol does not have the recommended daily amount of iron.
  • Neither Geritol nor prenatal vitamins, or other multivitamins, contain enough calcium or vitamin D.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are important for fetal brain and eye development. However the recommended daily amounts are not yet established.

Reliable Sources of Information

It is your responsibility to yourself and your baby to get health information from reliable sources. With the power and reach of the internet, rumors and misconceptions can spread unchecked and soon appear to be factual. Unreliable sources of health information can harm you and your baby.

Safety First

Safety in all you do or consume should always be first but especially so with your health, fertility, and pregnancy. Always check health information with your doctor before you leap on the bandwagon of unproven online recommendations.

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The Truth About Taking Geritol for Pregnancy