2024 Reviews

Needed vs. Ritual

My Personal Take on the Best Prenatal Vitamins

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In our review

The Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about conceiving, you’re probably considering your health more closely than usual. Prenatal vitamins can fulfill your changing nutritional needs before and during pregnancy, helping to prevent complications and protect your child’s health. But, not all prenatals are the same – you need one that’s formulated with optimal dosages, free of potentially harmful ingredients, and third-party tested for potency.

Needed and Ritual are prenatal vitamin brands that aim to support you and your baby’s health throughout pregnancy. After thoroughly evaluating each prenatal, we found that Needed is the best choice for traceable, comprehensive ingredients at optimal dosages, while Ritual provides the best easy-to-take, anti-nausea formula. 

A word from our expert


- Dr. Stephanie Hanchuk
Resident Physician at Yale New Haven Health

The ingredients in Needed and Ritual are all backed by robust scientific research

Needed Prenatal Multi Powder

4.8 / 5 stars

  • Formulated by top fertility doctors
  • “Pre” prenatal for thinking or trying
  • Prenatal vitamin, CoQ10, DHA + EPA and folate
  • No nausea formula with delayed release capsule technology

Needed v. Ritual

Our side-by-side comparison of Needed and Ritual makes it easy to pinpoint the right supplement for you, covering essential factors like nutrient count, dosage, and serving size. With a total of 26 nutrients in powder or capsule form, Needed offers comprehensive nutritional support from pre-pregnancy through postnatal, but has a daily dose of 8 pills. Ritual offers just 12 nutrients, but contains oily and dry ingredients in a single anti-nausea capsule, streamlining your supplement routine with a convenient two-pill daily serving. In highlighting these differences, this table can illuminate the best brand for your unique nutritional requirements and lifestyle needs. 

Ingredient Comparison

Needed Prenatal Multi Capsule Vitamins contain 26 nutrients in optimal dosages for pregnancy. This is more than double the nutrients in Ritual’s Prenatal Vitamins, which contain 12 vitamins and minerals.

Compared to Ritual, Needed offers a broader range of nutrients that have proven health benefits in pregnancy, including a reduced risk of complications and fetal growth support. It provides a more comprehensive approach to nutritional support throughout the prenatal stage.  

Monthly Cost $53.99 $31.20
Number of nutrients 26 12
Contains folate? ✅ 918 mcg ✅ 1000 mcg
Contains choline? ✅ 400 mg ✅ 55 mg
Contains DHA? ✅ 350 mg
Serving size 8 pills daily 2 pills daily
Anti-nausea formulation
Formulation options Powder or capsules Capsules
Non-GMO + Allergen-friendly
Vegan
3rd party tested
Nutrient Forms Bioavailable forms like methylated folate Bioavailable forms like methylated folate
Flavor Options Vanilla flavored powder Lemon or Mint essence

Just 3 ingredients in Ritual’s prenatal vitamin aren’t found in Needed’s prenatal: omega-3 DHA, iron, and boron. Needed offers a Prenatal Omega-3 supplement (containing 1,000 mg DHA and 1,000 mg EPA from sustainably sourced fish oil) separately to preserve ingredient stability. Needed also offers a Prenatal Iron Supplement separately, as iron can interact with other nutrients and compromise absorption. Including it separately also makes it easier to adjust your iron intake according to your needs, as excessive iron supplementation can trigger oxidative stress and affect your gut health. 

Additionally, Needed excludes boron from its prenatal vitamin because most adults get enough boron from their diets alone, and too much of it can be harmful. 

Let’s go over the ingredients found in both Needed and Ritual’s prenatals

  • Folate: Needed’s prenatal contains 918 mcg and Ritual’s prenatal contains 1,000 mcg of DFE folate. Folate is a key prenatal nutrient for early heart and neural growth. 
  • Vitamin B12: Needed offers 200 mcg of vitamin B12 in its prenatal, while Ritual offers 10 mcg. For reference, the recommended dosage in pregnancy is 2.6 mcg to lower the risk of birth defects
  • Choline: Needed offers 400 mg of choline, while Ritual offers 55 mg in its prenatal. Choline supports neural tube and brain development in the growing fetus. 
  • Iodine: Needed’s prenatal contains 290 mcg of iodine Ritual’s prenatal contains 150 mcg. 250 mcg is the recommended dosage in pregnancy to support fetal development and reduce the risk of complications. 
  • Biotin: Needed’s prenatal contains 350 mcg of biotin, while Ritual’s prenatal contains 150 mcg. Biotin supplementation may help with fetal development during pregnancy. 
  • Vitamin D: Needed offers 4,000 IU of vitamin D in its prenatals, while Ritual offers 2,000 IU. Vitamin D is known to lower the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes
  • Vitamin E: Needed’s prenatals contain 30 mg of vitamin E, while Ritual’s prenatals contain 7 mg. Vitamin E may lower the risk of pregnancy complications, including pre-eclampsia, with a recommended daily amount of 22 to 30 mg in pregnancy. 
  • Magnesium: Needed’s prenatals contain 200 mg of magnesium, while Ritual’s prenatals contain 32 mg. During pregnancy, supplementing 100 to 400 mg of magnesium may help with blood pressure management and prevent complications.
  • Vitamin K: Both Needed and Ritual offer 90 mcg of vitamin K in their prenatals. Vitamin K bone development and blood clotting during pregnancy. 

Along with the ingredients listed above, Needed provides the following nutrients in its prenatal for comprehensive nutritional support:

  • Thiamin (5 mg), which supports fetal growth and development  
  • Niacin (25 mg), which may reduce the risk of certain birth defects 
  • Vitamin B6 (40 mg), which helps with nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy. 
  • Pantothenic acid (150 mg), which supports hormone and energy production

Inactive ingredients in Needed’s prenatals include:

  • Vegetable capsule containing modified cellulose
  • Ascorbyl Palmitate
  • L-leucine

Ritual’s prenatals also contain the following inactive ingredients:

  • Stomach acid-resistant outer vegan capsule containing hypromellose and gellan gum
  • Inner vegan capsule containing hypromellose
  • Silica
  • Cellulose
  • L-leucine

Needed is our winner for key ingredients, as it offers an extensive range of 26 nutrients in optimal dosages for pregnancy. 

Useage Comparison

With Needed’s prenatal, you’ll need to take 8 capsules daily to get the full dosage. Take the capsules with food to prevent stomach upset, and you can split the dosage between meals. Needed also recommends starting with 2 capsules daily, then gradually increasing to the full 8 capsules.

Since Needed’s prenatal doesn’t contain fish or algal oil, it won’t cause unpleasant fishy burps. But, if you struggle to swallow pills, you can opt for Needed’s prenatal in powder form. The powder is vanilla-flavored and can be conveniently mixed into smoothies, hot drinks, yogurt, or oatmeal. 

Ritual only requires you to take 2 pills daily, with or without food at any time of day. This prenatal also features a delayed-release capsule design, which helps with nausea and upset stomach. Ritual’s prenatals can cause fishy burps from algal oil, but are available in mint or citrus essence for a more pleasant experience. 

With a serving size of just 2 daily capsules and a delayed-release capsule design to prevent nausea, Ritual is our winner for ease of use.

Quality and Safety Comparison

Needed and Ritual both adhere to strict quality and safety standards. 

Third-party testing Third-party tested for heavy metals, microbes, and allergens
Third-party tested for nutritional content, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, microbes, allergens, and other contaminants
Manufacturing compliance Manufactured in compliance with the FDA’s cGMP and governing labeling regulations AND Made by National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified manufacturers
Manufactured in compliance with the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs)
Vegetarian Vegan Vegetarian
Non-GMO Non-GMO Non-GMO
Allergens Free of gluten, other major allergens, and artificial colorants
Free of gluten, dairy, egg, fish, shellfish, nuts, wheat, soy, and artificial flavors and colors
Free of unsustainably sourced ingredients Not Specified
Free of unsustainably sourced ingredients, like vegan DHA
Packaging Not Specified
Packaged with 30% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic

Potential Side Effects

Though rare, prenatal vitamins can trigger the following side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Change in stool color

With rigorous testing, safety standards, and a commitment to sustainable ingredients, Needed is our winner for prenatal supplement quality

Why We Love Needed Prenatal Powder

Needed Prenatal Multi Powder

4.8 / 5 stars

  • Formulated by top fertility doctors
  • “Pre” prenatal for thinking or trying
  • Prenatal vitamin, CoQ10, DHA + EPA and folate
  • No nausea formula with delayed release capsule technology

I love that Needed Prenatal Powder is a convenient alternative to Needed’s Multi Capsules for pill fatigue. Sometimes, especially during pregnancy, taking multiple pills is a feat. With the same 26-nutrient formula as Needed’s capsules in a vanilla-flavored powder that blends seamlessly into drinks, oatmeal, and yogurt, the Prenatal Powder is an accessible option for those of us who struggle to swallow pills. 

I also appreciate that Needed Prenatal Powder is sweetened with monk fruit extract, keeping it free of added sugars.

A word from our expert


- Dr. Stephanie Hanchuk
Resident Physician at Yale New Haven Health

Needed's Prenatal Powder is well-suited to all women pursuing natural conception. Older women with higher-risk pregnancies, as well as those under the care of an infertility specialist, should speak with their medical care team before beginning any supplements.

Needed - My experience

In my experience with Needed, I appreciated the choice between a capsule or powder supplement. Pregnancy is unpredictable, and on days I struggled with pill fatigue, the powder form was a comforting alternative that combined easily with smoothies without a strong taste. 

After a few weeks of consistent use, I noticed that my skin health and overall energy levels notably improved, likely thanks to B vitamins and vitamin D3, among the 26 other nutrients in Needed’s formulation. I like that the formula aligned with Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for pregnancy, helping to produce real results while keeping safety at the forefront. 

Needed truly stands apart from typical prenatals with a dense nutrient profile. The inclusion of hard-to-find nutrients, like choline and magnesium, make this prenatal a unique option in the sea of over-the-counter supplements available today. At $53.99 per month, it’s not the cheapest option available, but with significantly more nutrients than other prenatals, you get what you pay for. 

Needed Prenatals don’t contain DHA, an important prenatal nutrient, so I had to find a separate DHA supplement. Thankfully, I didn’t have to look far, as Needed offers a DHA prenatal supplement of its own. 

Pros and Cons

PROS

  • Contains 26 nutrients, including choline and magnesiu
  • Optimized dosages for pre-pregnancy through postnatal
  • Free of additives, fillers, and unsustainably sourced ingredients

CONS

  • More expensive than other prenatals
  • 8 pills daily

Ritual - My experience

In my experience with Ritual, I first noticed the vegan formula, which fits my dietary restrictions perfectly. The zesty lemon flavor also stood out, as I often struggle with fishy burps while taking omega-3 supplements. Plus, at $31.20 per month, Ritual is relatively affordable when compared to other leading prenatals today. 

Since most prenatals can contribute to morning sickness, my doctor recommended Ritual for its anti-nausea formula. It offers an ideal folic acid content and not too much vitamin D, which can cause nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Plus, Ritual uses a delayed-release capsule that’s gentle on my stomach. 

I was impressed by Ritual’s commitment to transparency with the Made Traceable initiative. This means that every ingredient can be traced back to its source, with detailed information available on Ritual’s website. 

While I loved many aspects of Ritual’s prenatals, the formula lacks a few key nutrients, including zinc and selenium. This isn’t ideal, as I want to avoid nutritional gaps throughout pregnancy. However, Ritual does offer other supplements designed specifically for pregnancy, including probiotics and natal choline. 

Pros and Cons

PROS

  • Anti-nausea delayed-release capsule
  • Omega-3 DHA and dry nutrients in one capsule
  • Only 2 pills daily

CONS

  • Missing key nutrients
A word from our expert


- Dr. Stephanie Hanchuk
Resident Physician at Yale New Haven Health

In general, Needed's support plan provide a good source of anti-oxidants and nutrients that may play a small, but significant role in improving a woman's chance of conception. There really is minimal risk for patients with potential for maximum reward - a healthy pregnancy!

The Verdict

Overall, Needed and Ritual prenatal vitamins serve different needs for people looking to prioritize their nutrition during pregnancy.

With 26 unique nutrients at optimized dosages, Needed is an unsurpassed option for comprehensive nutrition. It goes above and beyond its competitors with a range of traceable vitamins, minerals, and botanicals. While its serving size of 8 capsules daily can be daunting, it also comes in powder form to suit different preferences. 

Ritual stands apart for its vegan, anti-nausea formula. The delayed-release capsule helps prevent morning sickness, while mint or citrus essence makes taking pills more pleasant. With just 2 capsules per day, I found Ritual to be an ideal prenatal for preventing morning sickness, although it lacks a few key nutrients

FAQs

We answer some frequently asked questions

What are the differences between prenatal and postnatal vitamins?

Prenatal vitamins are formulated for the period before and during pregnancy, while postnatal vitamins are formulated for the period up to 6 months after birth. 

The main difference between prenatals and multivitamins is that prenatals typically contain higher amounts of folic acid and other nutrients that are particularly important during pregnancy. 

You should switch from prenatal to postnatal vitamins after giving birth. 

Methylfolate is a more bioavailable and absorbable form of folic acid.

Take Needed Prenatal Powder with a substantial meal (not just water or nut milk). Mix two scoops into a beverage, smoothie, yogurt, or oatmeal.