Reader Tip: Saving Money on Prenatal Vitamins

Laura emailed in the following tip:

As soon as my husband and I decided that trying to conceive was just around the corner, I started taking prenatal vitamins. That was two years ago.

Prenatal vitamins are expensive, and I don’t think anyone should pay full price for something unless absolutely necessary, so I started trying to figure out how to save money on them.

Before I was pregnant, I often saved money by buying multivitamins that weren’t marked as prenatal but had the same contents. (Always check the label!) However, now that I am pregnant, I want to be taking the softgel or gummy prenatals with DHA, because that is what my doctor said would be best.

Here’s how I got four months of those premium prenatals for only $3.

1. I signed up for the Nature Made Wellness Rewards.

2. I went through our vitamin stash, found every Nature Made vitamin bottle, and added the Wellness Rewards codes to my account.

3. With my rewards, I qualified for and ordered two $7 off coupons.

4) With my two $7 off coupons, I went to Walgreens during a BOGO Nature Made sale. At Walgreens, you can use a coupon for each item in a BOGO promotion.

5) I bought two bottles of 60 count Nature Made Prenatal Liquid Softgels with DHA at $16.49 each.

6) After the BOGO promotion and the $14 in coupons I had, I paid $2.49 + tax for a four month supply!

Once you get home, remember to enter the codes from your new vitamins into the Wellness Rewards program, and you’ll begin the cycle again. The prenatals are very rewarding items in their program, so I’ve been able to do this twice! Thanks to their Wellness Rewards program, Nature Made has picked up a loyal customer, and I’ve made off with some great bargains. 

Laura Ziesel is a seminary student at Azusa Pacific University and a freelance writer and editor living in sunny California with her husband. She blogs at LauraZiesel.com and is also a contributing writer for The Redemptive Pursuit, a weekly devotional for women. You can find her on Twitter @lziesel.
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Comments

  1. Jenny says

    If your health insurance offers cheap prices for generics, ask your ObGyn to write you a prescription for the pre-natals. My plan actually offers free generic prescriptions, so I don’t pay a penny!

  2. says

    I use the Meijer pharmacy, and they offer free prenatal vitamins for many generic brands. You just need to have a prescription. No insurance or anything else. You can get it refilled every 30 days and it’s totally free. I get my other prescriptions there too because they are priced a little lower than the other pharmacies (Sam’s, Walmart, Giant Eagle, Kroger, CVS, Walgreens) on my medication.

    • Kristy says

      I use the Meijer pharmacy as well. Just ask your doctor to call in the prescription for you. They are totally free.

      • Christie says

        Meijer also does free metformin–great if you have diabetes!! They have a list of 10 antibiotics that are free as well. Just need a prescription from the doctor.

        • Carol says

          My daughter got her prenatals at Meijer as well. She had the doctor to continue writing a script so she could take them while she was nursing also.

    • Marty says

      I also used Meijer for free prenatal vitamins and antibiotics before. Such an awesome program they have.

      • Chris says

        I also used Meijer and I asked the pharmacist to write down the vitamins that were free and took it to my doctor and she picked the one she liked. It worked for my last two pregnancy and the entire time I was breast feeding, it really saved us, and I was glad everyone was so willing to help that we did not have to pay for the vitamins!

      • Amy A says

        I use the free prenatals from Meijer also! My doc wrote me a script for them when we were TTC our two year old, and I continued to take them while nursing her (through 18 mos), and am still taking them now, as we are TTC #2. They are a God-send!

  3. Leah says

    you should also check with your local mom friends and local hospital/ob-gyn office. i WISH i had because then i would have known that prenatal vitamins are free to all child-bearing aged women in our county–regardless of income! we spent a small fortune on prescription prenatals ($50/month co-pay) and the same vitamins would have been completely free of charge! so ask around! (and for our county, you don’t even have to be trying or expecting..you simply have to be of child bearing age!)

  4. Kristy C. says

    Thanks for the tip! What worked for us was having my doctor prescribe prenatal vitamins. Our co-pay at the pharmacy( we are fortunate to have insurance) is about $2 per 30 day supply.

  5. Amy Rose says

    Wow! Great tip!

    I know a few women who have taken prenatal vitamins even without the intention of getting pregnant. This may not be a good idea because prenatals contain usually 27 mg of iron when adult women only need 18 mg/day, and the iron can build up in your body and become toxic. Assuming you eat a decent diet, taking a regular multivitamin/mineral supplement is sufficient nutritional “insurance”, even for someone attempting to conceive. The main nutrient of concern with conception is folic acid, so as long as your regular multi has the 400 mcg (most do), you don’t need to take prenatals until and unless you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

    • Mary says

      I am an OBGYN Nurse Practitioner and we recommend all women of childbearing age take prenatal vitamins. 50% of pregnancies are unplanned. And I don’t know an exact statistic but I would guarantee many more women than that don’t have proper nutrition. Knowing this, we go ahead and recommend a prenatal vitamin. The extra iron and folic acid won’t be detrimental (most need it) and the “harms” of that much outweight having a baby with an open neural tube defect.

      • Amy Rose says

        I am a Registered Dietitian, and like I said, a regular multivitamin provides a sufficient amount of folic acid (to prevent a neural tube defect), not to mention most breakfast cereals and many other grain products are also fortified with folic acid. The extra iron in prenatal supplements is not needed until a pregnant woman’s blood volume increases during the second trimester, when most women already know they are pregnant and have begun to take the prenatals.

        Mary, does your clinic routinely test hemoglobin levels? I would say most women that would seek OB/GYN services before pregnancy are eating well enough to have normal iron levels, even if they don’t have the best overall nutritional intake. And taking a supplement with more iron than recommended for age, gender and gestational status can be toxic, just as a Mayo Clinic RD says: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/prenatal-vitamins/AN01665

        • Heather T. says

          I have always just taken my kids gummi vitamins and my OB says its fine because I eat a well balanced diet so if you eat healthy you really don’t need the extra I am now pregnant with my 4th baby and all have been healthy from day one.

        • Mary says

          We test for women that present but I would guess we see people pre-pregnant only abot 5% of the time. The majority of my patients are Medicaid and typically present already pregnant, often 20+ weeks. I actually work within a sub-specialty of the OBGYN clinic doing genetic counseling. 90% of my patients are pregnant with infants with major birth defects, many of which could have been prevented. Yes, for a woman who has a well balanced diet, a prenatal isn’t necessary. I just happen to see a huge subset who don’t have a proper diet, and most often, proper healthcare. So I’d be more likely to recommend a prenatal based soley on my population. If I saw patients that presented to be checked before they were pregnant, had insurance, or didn’t have late prenatal care – my thoughts may be different.

      • Christy says

        My OB/GYN told me to just take regular Women’s Vitamins while trying to conceive, just to make sure it had folic acid. Once I was pregnant and breasfeeding, I took over the counter Prenatals. Sometimes CVS runs their own brand BOGO. I never took prescriptions except the free samples.

    • Heather says

      You can buy just a folic acid supplement also. That’s what I did prior to several of my pregnancies, because I eat well and didn’t feel comfortable taking all that extra iron.

      • Sarah says

        With my last pregnancy, I’d just bought a bunch of Women’s multivitamins that would have expired by the end of the pregnancy. My OB said it was fine to take them and just add a folic acid supplement and DHA seperately.

        I’ve also found that the prenatals are super-cheap if you get the ones without DHA, and then you can just look for a good deal on DHA supplements by themselves.

  6. amber says

    Thanks for posting this. I signed up and also had a bottle of Valerian I bought a few weeks ago on clearance, I think for $2 or $3. Entering that code gave me 50 points plus 25 for signing up.

  7. Janine says

    I don’t know where you live, but check with your local store/pharmacy to see if they are free. I live near a Meijers and prenatal vitamins are free!

  8. Amy says

    You may check with local pharmacies as well. One of our local pharmacies offers free prenatal vitamins to their loyalty card members (Marsh in IN and OH). Also CVS has several types of prenatal vitamins on their $11.99 list for a 90 day supply if you do get a prescription for it.

  9. Anne-Marie says

    I would do further research before changing or starting these vitamins, most of the low cost and prescribed brands are hard for your body to absorb. We spend a lot on high quality vegetable based vitamins and a high quality fish oil (vitacost and others to put them on sale) but making sure we have the best nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding is important to me.

    • Bonnie says

      I have to agree here. There really aren’t very many good prenatals (or any other vitamin) sold in ‘drugstores’. A good deal of the vitamins get flushed because they are preserved in some kind of hard-to-break-down mineral salt. And the wrong form of iron can actually do more harm than good. Most prescription prenatals are, sadly, no different. I have been helping buy my daughter’s all-natural prenatals with the Vitacost referral deal. I just ordered a 90-day supply, used a $20 referral credit…total was $5.34. I actually could have ordered another 90-day supply for the same shipping cost but I had no more credits and she was nearly out.

      I soooooo appreciate you sharing the deal. I am certainly no ‘health nut’, LOL…I def consumed my fair share of Doritos during my pregnancies. ;-) But from what I have researched I think it’s better to just skip the vitamins altogether during pregnancy than to take a poor quality one.

      • Carrie P. says

        Bonnie- you are absolutely right about that. Most multi vitamins especially are not of good quality. I am very interested in the Vitacost deal! I do not live near one, but need to check them out online poasibly. What prenatals does your daughter take? I take the Organic Viramin Code Raw Prenatals made by Garden of Life. ( see my post below- I get them on Amazon.com) if there is a less expensive way for me to get these, I’d be all for it!

        Amanda- be sure to take some B12 and folic acid with iron if you are low iron. The b12 helps to metabolize the folic acid, which in turn helps with iron absorbption. You can by the b12 separately for $2-3 at Walmart and with a coupon very inexpensive.

  10. Sonya says

    Thanks for posting this tip! I have been using Nature Made prenatals for years and never knew that. I’ve just been getting them from Costco when Costco has their coupon. What format are the coupons? Regular barcode style, or like checks? Because Costco takes the check-style coupons.

  11. Angela says

    I last purchased them during the pharmacy wars. I’d fill the prescription one place, then transfer if every month. The prescription cost $5, but I’d get $20 for each transfer!

  12. Mary says

    I know they are free at a lot of pharmacies for women of child bearing age! And I just get a prescription and get them free as well since generics are covered by our insurance!

  13. says

    Great deal!!! Best of luck in expanding your family!

    When I became pregnant, I had to sample a lot of prenatals before I found one that didn’t make me too much sicker than I already was. (The morning sickness lasted until birth with my first child, and week 20 with my second). Luckily my doctor’s office provided plenty of free samples. I finally ended up taking a multi-vitamin without iron along with an easier-to-digest iron supplement on the side per doctor’s recommendation.

    Sampling before buying in bulk worked best for me. Doctor’s offices, and even vitamin companies (via their website) will provide you with free samples to help you determine what works best for your body.

  14. Diane says

    Great ideas, what I usually do is get the Target brand with the dollar off Target coupon but there are some better ideas here for sure.

  15. Shanna says

    These are all such great tips! Thanks ladies! I have been buyiethe cheapest ones possible and i know the softgels and gummies digest better!

  16. says

    Military pharmacies carry prenatals…I haven’t bought vitamins in decades, just keep a current prescription for prenatals. :^ ) p.s. They will do Rx for iron, too, if you need it.

  17. says

    Don’t forget to dispose of them safely after baby arrives.

    I had to take supplemental iron due to anemia with my first, and I was surprised to learn how serious iron poisoning is for children.

    I’m in WA state, and my local Top offers both free prenatals and flouride for kids. Others may as well.

  18. Carrie P. says

    Great tip! I had no idea! I am signing up because I like a few of their supplements. I am picky about vitamins, though-specifically prenatal/ multis…but I’d rather pay for quality. thanks to my Grandma, I’ve always been very interested in this stuff. For those who, like me try to buy food based and/or organic vitamins that are not derived from stone quarries, etc( lots of them do this) and get nauseous easily but need prenatals- check amazon.com for deals. I order Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal Vitamins and did the “subscribe snd save” option. Not only do I save a ton of money by not buying them at a health food store, I do not forget to buy more because they arrive on my porch every couple months and I do not get nauseous from them! I am personally ok with paying $16/ month for thcombines reasons. So many others make me so sick. There are many many brands on amazon that are inexpensive and you can do subscribe and save- which may especially help if you do not have insurance coverage or another option. I love that nature made rewards program, though! I will be signing up today! Thank you so much for sharing!

  19. amanda says

    Any other opinions on taking prenatals if you are of childbearing age but not trying to concieve? My dr said all women of childbearing age should take them. I’ve also had low iron issues before. Like many others, I had issues taking certain brands (like the prescribed generics) but I was happy with the target brand ones and I’ve taken them for 5 yrs. Of course I don’t want toxic levels of iron though!

    • Sarah says

      many women’s multivitamins have iron in them, just check the label. Odds are good if you’ve found a prenatal that you tolerate well, then the regular women’s multivitamin with iron will also be tolerated well.

  20. says

    I use Vitamin ID – which is part of Nature Made. I am able to get a five month supply for $20, so $4 per month (delivered straight to my house). We have been trying for 2 years and recently found out that we may never have a biological child, but I intend to continue taking prenatals while I am of child-bearing age.

    Here’s what I do:

    Put 5 Prenatal with DHA vitamins in a pack on Vitamin ID.com for $40 total. There’s usually a code for 50% off, so check Retail Me Not.com. Sign up for the Auto Renewal program and you’ll get free shipping! $20 for a 5 month supply shipped to your home!

    Just be sure to cancel the Auto Renewal before the next delivery (28 days later). Vitamin ID is a program that helps you create a pack of necessary vitamins. I just create a pack with 5 Prenatals instead of a variety.

    When I lived in STL, I got the free ones at Schnucks, but we don’t have that opportunity anymore. Maybe someday again… :)

  21. Emily says

    Thank you for this post. I tried to fulfill a prescription for prenatals, it was going to be over $80 a month with my insurance! I bought the nature made at Costco with a Costco coupon for little. So much better.

  22. Elissa says

    If you have a Meijer store, they offer free prenatal vitamins with a prescription from your doctor!

  23. Rachael says

    I get free generic prescription prenatals from Schnucks, a grocery chain based in St. Louis. It’s definitely worth checking to see if your local pharmacies offer similar deals.

  24. says

    I take a whole foods pre-natal supplement too! I use New Chapter Organics Perfect Pre-natal vitamins. It doesn’t have any artificial flavors/colors. As consumers, we need to to read labels. I’m not saying I’m perfect but I try my best to avoid may artificial fillers found in other supplements. I got the vitamins from Vitacost. You can get a $10 referral for signing up, just make sure you sign up under someone. It costs more but they are better for you.

  25. Yesenia says

    What an appropriate post for me today! Just went to Vitamin World to get some prenatal vitamins because I just finished my last bottle and needed to return some vitamins I wasn’t planning on taking. I wasn’t too happy with their lack of prenatal vitamin selection. I joined the Nature Made reward program and can’t wait for a BOGO sale at Walgreens! Thank you for the great tip!

  26. Amie says

    I think this is a great tip. With my first pregnancy I paid a $30 per mo. copay for prenatals until I switched to a $10 generic. With my second pregnancy, I bought two big CVS brand prenatals on a BOGO sale and paid about $10 and had enough vitamins to get through pregnancy and breastfeeding. I wish I had a store that did free prenatal vitamins and antibiotics.

  27. Gwen says

    Prenatals made me sick, as did regular women’s vitamin. I just take 1.5 children’s chewables. I’ve been loading up on Flintstones at Target for $1 with the coupons they’ve had.

    I’m also on 2000 units a day of vitamin D. It’s cheaper to not run through my insurance. With my folate I spend about $2 a month on vitamins.

    • Diane says

      My prenatal vitamin bottle says for pregnant and nursing mothers. I’ve been taking them for years.

  28. victoria g says

    150 Nature Made prenatals + DHA on costco.com for $20 – $5 right now, plus free shipping. We live in the boonies so delivery is our best option. PLUS, I can still redeem the codes and instead of a $7 coupon (which I couldn’t use at costco) you can redeem for a $7 Costco check! Sweet!

  29. Stefani says

    King Soopers (Kroger owned) frequently has the BOGO sale, so I always double up on vitamins for my hubby. I hate how much plastic is used for each bottle, so I’ll immediately combine two bottles (same types) and log the rewards codes. Then I recycle the bottles. :-)

  30. Amber says

    Thank you for letting me know about this program…I already signed up. I’m pregnant with #3 so I’m excited to earn those $7 coupons!

  31. Katy DuVall says

    I’m currently expecting our 2nd child and was struggling with this myself. I talked to my Dr. about getting an over OTC prenatal because me RX was costing about $8/mo. He said that if you are getting most of your nutrition from a well-balanced, healthy diet, you don’t need any fancy prenatal vitamins. He also said that the DHA’s and all the special new additives & oils for “helahty brain function” are a load of bologna! I spoke w/ my Uncle who is a pharmacist to determine which OTC prenatal would be most comparable to my RX one. He told me that the only diff. between OTC and RX prenatals is that there is about 200 mg more folic acid in the RX ones which is VERY important in early pregnancy, but can be obtained through many foods and an inexpensive folic acid supplement. So, in looking at the vitamin aisle I found Nature Made Prenatals on sale BOGO and I also had coupons for $1 off each. I ended up getting 4 bottles for I think around $2 or so!!!

  32. Katie says

    My doctor says that I should take a prenatal vitamin as long as I am of child-bearing age. I settled for taking Centrum multi-vitamin for women every day. Since we’ve been ttc, I wanted to add more folic acid than the Centrum provides. I have stretched my expensive Vitafusion gummies by only taking 1 of them with the Centrum instead of taking 2 gummies per day.