Alfred Romeo, RN, PhD from the Pregnancy Risk Line shared what vitamins and supplements are appropriate to take during pregnancy. First, at mothertobaby.org, we remind women to take a prenatal or multivitamin throughout their reproductive years. Folic acid, folacin, or folate is one of the most important parts of the prenatal vitamin. The prenatal vitamin with folic acid should be taken before pregnancy since it helps the spinal cord close by the 28th day, before many women know that they are pregnant. If the spinal cord doesn`t close all the way, it`s called spina bifida which can cause problems including paralysis below the spinal opening. Women`s multivitamins and prenatal vitamins usually have the minimum amount of folic acid, 400 micrograms a day. Some children`s vitamins have less. Generally, mom should stay close to the 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance percentage for vitamins, unless a vitamin deficiency is being treated by her provider. Moms often ask about cold and flu supplements that have Vitamin C, often over 1000% RDA. Daily, mega-doses of Vitamin C in pregnancy can cause rebound scurvy (bleeding, bruising, poor weight gain), effects in the newborn after delivery since the newborn will not get those high doses. Vitamin D is another common question and the usual dose is between 800 and 1,000 IU unless your provider has done a blood test and recommends higher levels for a deficiency. For Vitamin A, mom should stay near the recommended dose of about 1,000 IU per day. Other supplements may have higher doses of vitamins and herbal products, so mom can check the label and give us a call. Generally, herbal products have not been well studied so we don`t know the possible effects on the pregnancy and breastfeeding baby. Herbal products are not regulated so the dose and any other contaminants that are actually in the package are unknown.
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