Safety of Vitamins and Herbs During Pregnancy

Prenatal vitamins contain higher levels of iro...

Prenatal vitamins contain higher levels of iron and folic acid. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you’re pregnant, you probably want to do everything in your power to make sure that your baby is growing the way he should. You want to have a safe and healthy pregnancy, and an important part of that process is making sure you get the kinds of nutrients that you need. Yet, some herbal supplements or vitamins may raise certain questions, and it’s important to know what kinds of nutrients have been proven to help during pregnancy and which ones may be questionable.

Here are some basic facts and concepts you need to know when thinking about supplements of any sort during pregnancy:

  • Prenatal vitamins are specifically designed to keep your baby and you healthy. They have the kinds of nutrients that pregnant women need most to help their baby grow. One of the most important nutrients in a prenatal vitamin is folic acid. Folic acid has been shown to reduce the probability of your baby having certain kinds of birth defects, known as “neural tube defects.” Iron is another important component to a prenatal vitamin, which can help prevent anemia.
  • Herbs, minerals and amino acids are mostly untested. These kinds of supplements may be beneficial during pregnancy, but not enough research has been done to say with any certainty whether they can help or not. Some women have experienced great success with certain herbal remedies specifically designed for pregnancy. Just make sure you talk with your doctor before taking a supplement of any sort during pregnancy.
  • Testing of drug safety during pregnancy is rare. The fact of the matter is that the risk posted to testing a drug on a pregnant woman outweighs the potential benefit of testing the drug, in many instances. For now, most of the scientific data is gathered by studying records of how many women use a certain medication during pregnancy, and then following up down the road to see if there was any impact that might be related to the medication.

As always, if you’re considering a supplement, talk to your doctor about whether it is right for you and your baby during pregnancy.

 

 

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