Prenatal vitamins are multivitamin supplements designed specifically for pregnant women. They typically contain higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals than regular multivitamins, such as folic acid, iron and calcium. Prenatal vitamins are available both over the counter and by prescription.
Expiration Dates on Over-the-Counter Vitamins
The Food and Drug Administration does not require manufacturers to put an expiration date on over-the-counter vitamins. However, many manufacturers do put expiration dates on their products, even though they are not required to do so.
Expiration Dates on Prescription Vitamins
All prescription medications, including prescription prenatal vitamins, should be marked with an expiration date. The expiration date is usually one year from the date the prescription is filled. Prenatal vitamins may actually be good for longer than one year, though.
How Do You Know if Vitamins are Still Good?
According to Glen Shue, a chemist and nutritionist for the FDA, vitamins are usually good for four or five years from the date they are manufactured. If your vitamins don’t have an expiration date on them, you are probably safe to assume they will be good for about four years after you purchase them. If the color, smell or taste of the vitamins has changed, they are probably not good anymore.
Do Prenatal Vitamins Last Longer Than Regular Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins do not last any longer than regular vitamins. The only difference between prenatal vitamins and regular vitamins is that prenatal vitamins contain higher levels of some nutrients.
What Happens When Prenatal Vitamins Expire?
Taking expired prenatal vitamins will not harm you, but it probably will not help you, either. Vitamins lose their potency over time. If you take expired vitamins, you probably will not get all the nutrients you want or need from them.