Two bottles of Ritual's Essential for Women multivitamin on a light pink background

Ask Ritual: Can I Take Essential For Women If I’m Pregnant?

By Emily Gladders

Two bottles of Ritual's Essential for Women multivitamin on a light pink background

Ritual was born when our founder, Kat, was pregnant with her first child and realized she had no idea what was inside her prenatal vitamin. So, you could say that prenatal vitamins are in our brand DNA. But Essential for Women (EFW) is not a prenatal vitamin. It’s a daily vitamin for women 18-50. Essential for Women was our first product launch because we thought it was important to create a transparent vitamin that would help the most women possible. But we’ve never forgotten about our prenatal roots.

We’ve been working on a prenatal formula (and many others) since day one. But like all good things, research takes time. Our product development process begins with obsessive amounts of research and a lot of time spent searching the globe for the best scientifically proven ingredients. This is especially true of our prenatal product development because mom and baby require more nutrients. More nutrients = more research. We’re taking our time to get it right, but we hope to have an update on our prenatal formula soon.

In the meantime, a lot of customers have been asking us if they can continue taking Essential for Women when they become pregnant. It’s important to note that Essential for Women is not a prenatal vitamin and that you should always talk to your doctor before you decide to take something new when you’re pregnant. That said, here’s everything you need to know about Essential for Women if you’re pregnant.

The Folate In EFW is The Form You Should Be Taking While Pregnant

We talk about how great our folate is all the time, but it’s especially important for pregnant women to pay attention to folate. It’s essential for fetal development and plays a key role in preventing certain birth defects. Our form, methylated folate, is better than the other common form, folic acid, because all women can absorb and utilize folate. About one third of women have a genetic mutation that makes it really hard for them to properly utilize folic acid. Unless you’ve had a genetic test, it’s impossible to know if you’re one of the 33% who can’t utilize folic acid, so it’s better to supplement with folate when you’re pregnant to make sure that baby is getting what it needs for healthy development.

Essential for Women contains has 600 mcg of folate, which is perfect for women who aren’t pregnant, but slightly low for women who are. When you become pregnant, your Daily Value increases to 800 mcg. So, if you decide to keep taking EFW, be aware that you might not be getting all the folate you and baby need.

EFW Has Most of What You Need When Pregnant, But Not Everything

When you become pregnant, a lot of your Daily Values increase because your body is busy making a tiny human and needs extra nutrient power to get the job done. Many of these increased nutrient needs are satisfied by your diet because you naturally eat more when you’re pregnant. A good example of this is iron. While your Daily Value for iron increases slightly when you become pregnant, we don’t recommend supplementing beyond the 8 mg that Essential for Women contains. That’s because getting too much iron can actually be problematic for your body, and iron is so abundant in foods that you’re probably already making up for the difference through food when you’re pregnant.

In addition to having the right amount of iron, EFW also has the right kind and the right doses of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids for pregnant moms. Our certified vegan algal oil has the balance of DHA and EPA that has been shown to support healthy pregnancies.

While EFW has a lot of the stuff you need, it doesn’t have everything necessary to a healthy pregnancy. This includes choline, which your body needs more of when you’re pregnant and nursing. So, if you choose to take EFW while pregnant, just be aware that your choline needs are not being fulfilled.

After You Have Baby, Your Nutritional Needs Shift Again

When you’re nursing, your nutrient needs shift once again. For one, your iron requirements go back to normal. Folate needs also remain the same. Omega-3 needs increase slightly to help your baby’s brain development. You may also need a little bit more calcium while you’re nursing than you did while you were pregnant. Same goes for zinc--it helps your baby grow and develop healthily.

Got more questions about taking EFW while pregnant? Hit us up at Our in-house science team is always here for you.