- Prenatal Vitamin Limits
- Vitamin and Mineral Sources
- Prenatal Vitamin Limits: Recommendations
- The Differences Between Fat-soluble and Water-soluble Vitamins
- Folic Acid
- Should I Be Taking Prenatal Vitamins When I’m Not Pregnant? Health Professionals Sound Off
- Should You Take A Prenatal Vitamin If You’re Not Pregnant?
- Exceptions To The Rule
- Are Multivitamins Even Necessary?
- Potential Downsides Of Prenatal Vitamins
- When To Start Taking A Prenatal Vitamin
- The Prenatal Vitamin With A Waitlist Of 10k (And What To Look For, In General)
- What are prenatal vitamins?
- When do I need to start taking prenatal vitamins?
- Do prenatal vitamins have side effects?
- Prenatal Multivitamins (multivitamin, prenatal) Drug Interactions
- Check for interactions
- Most frequently checked interactions
- More about Prenatal Multivitamins (multivitamin, prenatal)
- Further information
- Can you overdose on vitamins?
- Possible symptoms of eating too many vitamins
- What to do if you think your child overdosed
- Make Taking Prenatal Vitamins Easier
- Prenatal Vitamins Easier Than Big Pills
- Drink/Beverage Prenatal Vitamins
- Multivitamins During Pregnancy and Autism Rates
- What nutrients do I need during pregnancy?
- Choosing the Right Prenatal Vitamin
Prenatal Vitamin Limits
Vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, and folic acid are vital for proper fetal growth, development, and healthy adult living. To help increase your chances of creating a healthy environment in which your baby can develop, it is important that you establish a well-balanced diet and exercise routine before you get pregnant.
If you choose to supplement your diet with synthetic nutrients, be sure to keep track of the daily amounts you take, and let your health care provider know. It is possible to overdose on certain vitamins and minerals, which could have adverse effects on you and your growing baby.
You should be well educated on what the recommended amounts are for vitamins and minerals during pregnancy.
Vitamin and Mineral Sources
If your diet consists of unprocessed foods, fruits, a colorful variety of vegetables, whole grains, lentils, and plenty of water, then you likely have sufficient vitamins and minerals already in your body. As long as you are eating a well-balanced diet, you need not fear to overdose on nutrients found naturally in foods.
However, some studies have shown symptoms of toxicity after a large consumption of animal organs, such as liver.
Supplements (synthetic vitamins and minerals) are a different story. They contain higher doses of nutrients in a concentrated form, which can be detrimental if taken in improper amounts. Always let your health care provider know what nutritional supplements you are taking.
Prenatal Vitamin Limits: Recommendations
Prenatal vitamins consist of a variety of vitamins and minerals. During pregnancy, a woman’s daily intake requirements for certain nutrients, such as folic acid (folate), calcium, and iron, will increase. If you are pregnant (or trying to conceive) and considering taking a prenatal vitamin, carefully read the nutritional labels and familiarize yourself with terms like RDA and UL.
- RDA = Recommended Dietary Allowance. The RDA represents the amount of nutrient needed to maintain good health for most people.
- UL = Tolerable Upper Intake Levels. The UL represents the highest amount most people can take without experiencing potentially harmful effects.
Avoid taking several different supplements, but rather take one multivitamin that includes a variety of required nutrients in one dose. Combining supplements (such as taking a folic acid supplement along with your multivitamin) can be unsafe because you run the risk of overdosing on a particular nutrient.
Taking more than twice the RDA of any nutrient should be avoided during pregnancy. If you are taking additional supplements, you should be aware of the signs and symptoms of overdose.
The Differences Between Fat-soluble and Water-soluble Vitamins
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in your body. If you ingest more than your body needs, excess fat-soluble vitamins are stored in your liver and body fat. This can lead to toxic side-effects that wreak havoc on you and your baby.
Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in your body but are dissolved in water and excreted by urine on a regular basis.
If you ingest an overdose of a water-soluble vitamin, the exceeded quantities will be flushed from your body. However, overdose can still be dangerous because of potentially irritating effects the vitamins can have on your digestive system.
More helpful articles:
- Pregnancy Nutrition
- Vitamin D and Pregnancy
- Natural Sources of Vitamin B6 During Pregnancy
- FH PRO for Women and Men: Antioxident Supplements for Fertility and Prenatal Wellness
- Eating Seafood During Pregnancy
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Prenatal vitamins fill nutritional gaps and support your diet to help ensure that both you and your baby remain healthy.
You should start taking prenatal vitamins before pregnancy, if possible, to maximize their effectiveness. Healthy development begins with conception. So if you are actively trying to become pregnant, visit your obstetrician or gynecologist for their prenatal vitamin recommendations.
Most prenatal supplements contain both vitamins and minerals, and are most commonly comprised of iron, folic acid, iodine and calcium. The following prenatal vitamin reccomendations will guide you through the importance of each supplement and how much you should take to maintain your health during preganancy:
Your body uses folic acid to make red blood cells and to repair and protect your functioning DNA. It promotes rapid cell growth of the placenta, which protects and nourishes your baby. Folic acid helps prevent defects from forming in the neural tube—where your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop in utero—which can cause conditions like spina bifida and anencephaly.
Neural tube defects can occur within the first 28 days of pregnancy, before you even know you are pregnant. If you are actively trying to become pregnant, take 400 micrograms of folic acid per day, until conception is confirmed, to help prevent any neural tube defects.
It is also recommended that you take folic acid supplement within the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy to prevent anemia and lower your risks of preeclampsia. Folic acid is also found in leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, fruits and other, fortified foods.
Do not take more than 1000 mcg of folic acid per day unless it is part of your obstetrician’s prenatal vitamin recommendations. Too much folic acid can mask a vitamin B deficiency and lead to anemia and neurological damage.
Calcium assists both your and your child’s bone growth, protecting you both from bone degradation and underdevelopment. Your baby needs calcium to grow a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles. Without enough calcium during your pregnancy, the placenta protecting your baby will draw calcium from your bones rather than from the baby, which can cause osteoporosis and other health problems later in life.
Approximately 1,000 milligrams daily is needed for healthy childhood development. However, your body can only absorb 500 mg of calcium at a time, so you may need to take a small dose several times a day. Do not exceed 2,500 mg of calcium per day.
Vitamin D in necessary for your body to absorb calcium, so take it along with your other prenatal vitamins.
Calcium can be obtained through yogurt and milk. However, if you are unable to obtain or consume enough calcium-rich foods, buy a vitamin supplement.
Iodine assists your thyroid functions and your metabolism. During pregnancy, iodine aids the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. Iodine deficiency can cause stunted infant growth, deafness, and mental disability, and has been linked to miscarriage, preterm delivery, and stillbirths.
Pregnant women need about 220 mg of iodine per day. Iodine is found in dairy products, eggs, vegetables, seafood, and yeast. You can easily get your recommended dose of iodine through enriched table salt—check the label on your salt to make sure it has iodine added.
Signs of iodine deficiency include an enlarged thyroid gland, depression, weakness, sensitivity to cold, and fatigue. If you are concerned that you have an iodine deficiency, talk to your obstetrician immediately to avoid complications in your pregnancy.
Iron assists the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to your vital organs and tissues. When you are pregnant, your body develops more blood to support both you and your baby. Without enough iron, you are at risk of becoming anemic, which can reduce the amount of oxygen being carried to your baby’s developing tissues—leading to preterm birth and low birth weight.
Normally, women need around 18 mg of iron a day. As soon as you become pregnant, that amount almost doubles to 27 mg a day. If you have anemic tendencies, or have been diagnosed with anemia in the past, talk to your obstetrician about taking additional doses.
Calcium limits your body’s ability to absorb iron, so take these two prenatal vitamins at different times of the day. Iron is best absorbed on an empty stomach, so consider taking it in the early morning or late evening.
Contact The Woman’s Clinic to discuss prenatal vitamin recommendations with one of our experienced obstetricians. Call 501-222-4175 to set up a personal health consultation.
Should I Be Taking Prenatal Vitamins When I’m Not Pregnant? Health Professionals Sound Off
You’ve probably heard that prenatal vitamins can yield beautifying benefits by strengthening nails, thickening hair, and contributing to a glowing complexion (maybe one of your friends has even sworn by this “secret”). And while these perks certainly sound tempting, before ditching your regular multi, it’s important to know: should you take a prenatal vitamin if you’re not pregnant?
Although not as buzzworthy as some other health trends (here’s looking at you, mushroom coffee and CBD gummies), prenatal vitamins are sometimes taken by women who aren’t expecting but are seeking the nutrient boost thought to enhance outward appearance. But do those extra vitamins and minerals really improve skin, hair, and nail growth — and more importantly, can they cause harm if taken improperly?
Ahead, doctors and health professionals weigh in on the benefits and risks of taking prenatal vitamins, as well as the best time to consider adding them to your health routine. If you (and your doc) have decided that these supplements are right for you, read on for pros, cons, and, if you’re in the market, discover the cult-favorite prenatal product that amassed a waitlist of over 10,000.
(As always, consult with your doctor before adding any supplements or vitamins to your diet.)
Should You Take A Prenatal Vitamin If You’re Not Pregnant?
First thing’s first: According to experts, unless a baby is or may be in your near future, these supplements probably won’t benefit you much. “Prenatal vitamins are formulated for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant,” explains Dr. Aastha Kalra, founding physician of Weight Zero MD. “They are high in folic acid, iron, and calcium. Aside from pregnancy, there is usually no reason to take prenatal vitamins.”
The reason? “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends 600 mcg of folic acid to prevent neural tube defects,” she continues. “Similarly, iron is essential during pregnancy to prevent anemia. Prenatal vitamins contain recommended doses of these vitamins and minerals.”
Exceptions To The Rule
That said, there may be an exception to the above rule. Dr. Will Cole, leading functional medicine expert, IFMCP, DC, and bestselling author of The Inflammation Spectrum and Ketotarian, says the prenatal vitamin formulation may be helpful for women who are lacking certain nutrients in their diets. “Since prenatal vitamins tend to be higher in iron and B vitamins, they can be a good option for those who are severely deficient in iron and are anemic,” he explains. And while he agrees that some women may notice improvements in their hair, skin, and nails, “a biotin supplement would be a better option if you are looking to reap the beauty benefits.” (Collagen powders, supplements, or bone broth rich in the stuff may do the trick, too.)
Philadelphia-based physician Dr. Charlie Seltzer also mentions that iron deficiency and/or anemia is a relatively common issue among women. “If you are a woman who has a regular menstrual cycles, make sure that your iron is checked,” he recommends, noting that signs can include low energy and slow post-workout recovery time. “If you have symptoms, that may be a result of vitamin deficiencies (which could be iron or B-12 deficiencies); or, if you are at particularly high risk for a deficiency based on your health, like if you have celiac disease, get tested for those in particular and replace them if needed.” In any case, seek the advice of your doc (of course), who may recommend a prenatal or a simple vitamin supplement.
Are Multivitamins Even Necessary?
That said, the pros pose the question of whether a health-conscious, non-pregnant woman who eats a balanced diet needs any sort of vitamin supplement, at all. “The question is, are multivitamins necessary?” asks Dr. Seltzer. “I think that both sides of the argument are valid, but I mostly fall on the side that you are not really hurting yourself by taking and are covering your bases in case there are any shortcomings in your diet.”
On the other hand, he says, some health professionals would rather test patients for individual deficiencies, then fill in the gaps with specific supplements (as opposed to an all-around multi). “In that case, the rest of the nutrients should be made up through a balanced diet. In general, I am more likely to recommend a multivitamin to somebody with a very restricted diet somebody who eats a variety of fruits and vegetables.” Dr. Cole agrees that “if you are eating a nutrient-dense diet, you shouldn’t need to supplement with a multivitamin.”
Potential Downsides Of Prenatal Vitamins
The good news is, adding a multi or prenatal vitamin to your diet isn’t likely to hurt you, barring certain medical conditions; however, that’s why it’s imperative to speak with your doctor before adding any kind of supplementation to your diet. After all, “there are some vitamins which can be toxic in high doses, like synthetic vitamin A,” says Dr. Seltzer. Other higher-risk groups include “people with kidney or liver disease may be more likely to suffer an adverse response to a multivitamin versus an otherwise healthy person.” (The impaired organ function can make certain nutrients difficult to metabolize.)
As far as prenatals go, at least for those who aren’t moms-to-be, the biggest downside may simply be that it’s likely a waste of money. “There’s a lot of research that says there’s no upside unless you’re pregnant,” Dr. Seltzer concludes.
When To Start Taking A Prenatal Vitamin
But back to those who are “planning or thinking about getting pregnant”; Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, RD and director of scientific affairs (nutritional sciences) for Ritual, a vitamin brand, says that implementing a regimen ahead of time is key if there’s a possibility you’ll conceive.* “Research shows that it takes time to reach optimal nutrient levels, and taking a prenatal vitamin at least three months before conception is ideal,” she shares. “However, if you’re even thinking about trying or you’re not not trying, it’s probably a good time to start a prenatal. The first 28 days of pregnancy are important in your baby’s neural development, so there’s really no such thing as ‘too soon’ to start.”
The Prenatal Vitamin With A Waitlist Of 10k (And What To Look For, In General)
Of course, the best vitamin for you is one that’s recommended (or approved by) your doc. But if you’re doing some research, it’s worth learning about what products pregnant (or soon-to-be pregnant) women are flocking to.
You’ve may have heard about Ritual vitamins before, and this summer, the brand’s Essential Prenatal sold out, then amassed a waitlist of over 10,000. So, what sets this brand apart and allowed it to achieve cult-favorite status? “Ritual includes essential nutrients: What we leave out is as important as what we put in,” explains Katerina Schneider, founder and CEO of Ritual. “Our formulation philosophy is about what you need — and not overwhelming your body with anything extra. Compared to over-the-coutner prenatals, the 12 nutrients in Ritual’s prenatal are in their bioavailable and nature-identical forms (that is, what you find in food and nature).”
Other features of the vitamin include its two-in-one design, which “separates oily and dry ingredients, which eliminates the need for several different pills” (hence their cool, futuristic look); a delayed-release capsule that helps eliminate nausea (Schneider says they can even be taken on an empty stomach); and, they’re vegan-certified. They’re also affordable and available via subscription for $35/month.
Specific brands aside, the pros agree that it’s important to look closely at ingredients when it comes to choosing a premium product. “With any sort of prenatal, you want to look at the quality and sourcing of their ingredients and avoid any unnecessary additives which could potentially negate the health benefits you are looking to obtain in the first place,” warns Dr. Cole. “You should also be sure to check with your doctor to determine the best supplement and dosage for your specific health case.”
“Any food-form vitamin is a solid bet,” advises Dr. Seltzer. “Of course, there may be no added benefit to this, and the research is certainly mixed. Still, I would err on the side of using a whole food multivitamin because it more closely approximates what we should be doing anyway.”
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
In This Section
- Pre-pregnancy Health
- Should I change my lifestyle when I am planning a pregnancy?
- What are prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are made for people who are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant. Folic acid is the most important vitamin for pre-pregnancy health.
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What are prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are supplements that contain daily vitamins and minerals you need before and during your pregnancy.
Folic acid is the most important vitamin to take when planning a pregnancy. Folic acid is a B vitamin that cells in your body need for growing and developing. Taking 400 mcg of folic acid every day for at least 1 month before and during pregnancy can help lower the risk for problems with the baby’s brain and spine — called neural tube defects (NTDs). Some women, like those who have had a pregnancy affected by NTDs or with sickle cell disease, may need more folic acid. Talk to your doctor or nurse about the dose that is right for you.
Most nutrients should come from the foods you eat, but it’s also a good idea to take prenatal vitamins. Your nurse, doctor, or midwife can recommend the best vitamins for you, on top of folic acid.
When do I need to start taking prenatal vitamins?
Start taking folic acid at least 1 month before you start trying to get pregnant. The first few weeks of pregnancy are a really important time for fetal health and development. Taking folic acid and other prenatal vitamins can help reduce the risk of some birth defects. Keep taking prenatal vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy.
Do prenatal vitamins have side effects?
A lot of people wonder about about prenatal vitamins side effects. Some people get nauseated or constipated from taking prenatal vitamins. If this happens to you, talk with your doctor about changing brands or the types of vitamins you’re taking.
Prenatal vitamins come in tablets or capsules, so finding the kind that works best with your body can help ease side effects. Your doctor or midwife can help you find a prenatal vitamin that will work best for your body.
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Prenatal Multivitamins (multivitamin, prenatal) Drug Interactions
A total of 146 drugs are known to interact with Prenatal Multivitamins (multivitamin, prenatal).
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- Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
- Fish Oil (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids)
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- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
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A: Folic acid (a B vitamin) is already included in prenatal vitamin formulas. So the question is whether it’s safe to take additional folic acid if you’re already taking a prenatal vitamin.
If your doctor has advised you to take supplemental folic acid in addition to a prenatal vitamin, find out whether there are specific features of your pregnancy that makes this advisable. If there are no special reasons to take extra folic acid, your prenatal vitamin supplement should provide sufficient folic acid for a healthy pregnancy.
Remember, all women of childbearing age are advised to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid a day in addition to what they get through their diet. This reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects by 70 percent. Higher doses (4 milligrams, equal to 4,000 micrograms) of folic acid are recommended if you or another family member already had a baby with a neural tube defect, or if you have diabetes or epilepsy. However, in low-risk situations, taking more than 1,000 micrograms (1 milligram) of supplemental folic acid is not generally advised. This is because high doses can mask another medical condition, pernicious anemia, which results from a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Throughout your pregnancy, your OB-GYN may recommend that you take folic acid and other vitamins to support the health of your growing baby. In addition to providing your baby with the nutrients he or she needs, you’ll also be supplying yourself with nutrients that can help you feel more energetic and alert during pregnancy. However, what many individuals and pregnant moms don’t know is that taking too much of certain vitamins can lead to an overdose that carries risks for both you and your baby.
Vitamin overdose occurs when you take more than the daily recommended amount of a certain vitamin. For example, if you take a daily multivitamin that already contains folic acid, and then you decide to take a separate folic acid pill, you could be getting more than the recommended amount and suffer from one or more of a range of symptoms that include nausea, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, and more.
Vitamin and supplement terms to know
When you read the labels of vitamin and supplement bottles, you may notice one or two of the following terms. Here’s what they mean:
- Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA): The recommended vitamin dosage for between 97 and 98 percent of healthy individuals.
- Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL): The maximum amount of a vitamin you can take on a daily basis without increasing your risk for negative health effects.
- Adequate Intake (AI): The estimated amount of a vitamin you can take when RDA cannot be determined based on studies, experiments, and observation.
- Vitamin Toxicity: The name of the illness that occurs when individuals overdose on niacin, or vitamins A, B6, C, and D.
Recommended daily vitamin intake for pregnant women
Pregnant women between the ages of 19 and 50 are advised to take the following doses of vitamins and supplements:
Symptoms of vitamin overdose
Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine when a pregnant woman is suffering from vitamin overdose since many of the symptoms are similar to those associated with pregnancy. Notify your OB-GYN or health care provider immediately if you begin experiencing one or more of the following symptoms after adding vitamins and supplementation to your diet.
- Frequent urination
- Cloudy urine
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Itching or signs of a rash
- Muscle, bone, or joint pain
- Muscle weakness
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Sensitivity to the sun or light
- Yellow-orange skin tint
- Cracking lips
- Irritability or mood swings
Regardless of whether you are pregnant or not, contact your health care provider prior to beginning any vitamins or supplementation. Your doctor can assess whether supplementation is necessary based on your personal health, and can verify that you’re not indirectly overdosing on vitamins based on your current health and nutrition habits.
CarePoint Health is dedicated to providing you with the individual care and attention you need so you can relax and focus on what is most important — the birth of your new baby. Contact us today to learn more about our obstetrics and maternity services.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.
Picky-eating toddlers probably don’t get all the vitamins they need from foods. Even the best eaters can lack key nutrients. That’s why 12% of children take some type of dietary supplement.
But there’s always the risk that little ones will mistake colorful, fruity-flavored gummy vitamins as candy. The next thing you know, they’ve eaten a whole jar by the handful and they’re looking really sick! This article addresses what to do in that situation.
Can you overdose on vitamins?
Yes! One of the most common supplements children take is a daily multivitamin made up of three main types of ingredients:
- Water-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins like the B vitamins dissolve in water. It’s virtually impossible to overdose on them since they are removed from your body when you urinate.
- Fat-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K enter your body’s fat cells. Your body doesn’t get rid of these vitamins as easily, so they can start to build up and cause serious symptoms if you take too many.
- Minerals. Minerals like iron are important to our health, but they can be dangerous in excess, especially when they start to accumulate in the body’s organs like the heart, brain and liver.
Here are the recommended amounts (RDA) and maximum amounts (UL) of fat-soluble vitamins and iron young children should have per day.
|Vitamins and minerals||Age (years)||RDA||UL|
|Vitamin A||1 – 3
| 300 mcg
| 600 mcg
|Vitamin D||1 – 3
| 600 IU
| 2500 IU
|Vitamin E (synthetic)||1 – 3
| 13 IU
| 220 IU
|Vitamin K||1 – 3
| 30 mcg
| Not established
|Iron||1 – 3
| 7 mg
| 40 mg
RDA = recommended daily allowance, UL = upper daily limit, mcg = micrograms, mg = milligrams, IU = international units
Guidelines for children less than one year old
Infants less than one year old may not need a multivitamin yet, but they should get 400 IU of vitamin D daily to ensure healthy bones. Newborns are also offered a vitamin K shot at birth to prevent vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB). Vitamin K is important for helping your blood to clot, but newborns can’t make enough on their own. VKDB is excessive bleeding caused by an inability for blood to clot.
Possible symptoms of eating too many vitamins
1) Upset tummy
Due to the sheer amount of sugar, dyes, and filler ingredients in vitamins (especially gummy vitamins), it’s no wonder your child might have an upset stomach after eating too many. Consuming large amounts of vitamins and fillers in a short about of time can cause nausea and vomiting. Nausea and vomiting can also be signs of vitamin A toxicity.
2) Colorful poop or urine
Speaking of fillers and dyes, you might see those show up in your child’s stool or urine over the next few days. Excessive B vitamins can also cause neon yellow urine, too. Don’t be alarmed—these ingredients have to come out somewhere!
Black or very dark stool is a normal side effect of taking iron supplements, but if you think your child may have overdosed on vitamins that contain iron, dark poop isn’t your biggest concern. See #4 to find out how to handle a potential iron overdose. (Hint: Call the National Poison Center or 9-1-1 right away!)
3) Dizziness, hair loss, and skin irritation from vitamin A toxicity
Of all the possible vitamin toxicities that could occur after eating too many vitamins, vitamin A toxicity is most likely. Too much vitamin A can cause hair loss, skin irritation, dizziness, trouble walking, nausea and vomiting.
4) Coma or death from iron toxicity
When your child takes too many vitamins, the most important question is whether the vitamin contains iron. For example, childrens’ vitamins like Poly-Vi-Sol with iron may be concerning, whereas plain Poly-Vi-Sol does not contain iron. Adult women’s vitamins like prenatal vitamins, which also contain iron, are especially risky since they are brightly-colored and sugar-coated.
Over the four phases of iron toxicity, the child can experience nausea, vomiting, liver failure, heart collapse, coma and death. During one of these phases (six to 24 hours after overdose) your child may show no symptoms. You should still get the child treated right away because symptoms will come back even worse after this phase.
Iron overdose can be deadly, so you’ll need to call the poison center immediately. They will likely instruct you to take your child to the emergency room.
What to do if you think your child overdosed
If you think your child took too many vitamins that may have contained iron, call the National Capital Poison Center right away at 1-800-222-1222. Staff at the poison center can notify a nearby emergency department that you are on the way to make sure they are prepared to treat your child ASAP. Or, poison center staff may send an ambulance so your child can get prompt treatment on the way to the emergency department.
If the vitamins did not contain iron, chances are you’ll be dealing with some GI upset and nausea. Be sure to give lots of fluids to replace the minerals your child might lose through vomiting or diarrhea. If you child seems to be getting worse, acting strange, or getting very tired and sluggish, call the poison center or 9-1-1 right away.
– – –
In any case, do not give your child any more vitamins or supplements until several days or weeks have passed. For example, if she ate 15 vitamins, don’t give her any more until 15 days have gone by. If he ate 30 vitamins, he won’t need any more until 30 days later.
Check out this article for ideas on how to store medications in your home so that children can’t get into them.
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A lot of people lack important nutrients, even if they eat right. The best way to get the vitamins and minerals you really need for your body to be healthy and stay healthy is to follow a healthy diet. Any woman that is pregnant or is trying to become pregnant should take prenatal vitamins to supplement their existing diet.
What is the difference between prenatal vitamins and regular multivitamins?
Standard adult multivitamins do not contain as much iron, calcium, and folic acid as prenatal vitamins. Prenatal vitamins ensure you are getting enough of these extra essential nutrients during your pregnancy, but they are not a substitute for eating right.
Here’s why these vitamins and nutrients are important during a pregnancy:
- Research suggests that taking prenatal vitamins can greatly reduce the risk of having a baby with low birth weight.
- Just like when you were a child and told to drink your milk for strong bones, the same thing applies to pregnancy. Calcium helps promote strong bones for the mother and baby during pregnancy and helps maintain your nervous, muscular, and circulatory systems and ensures they are all functioning properly.
- Folic acid helps prevent serious deformities to the brain and spinal cord caused by neural tube defects.
- Iron enriches the body with blood and muscle cells for the mother’s body and the baby’s body and helps these cells develop. When a body lacks iron, a condition that occurs is anemia, which is when the blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells.
Are there any other nutrients I should be concerned about?
Most prenatal vitamins are not rich in vitamin D, which is an important vitamin, especially in the third trimester. It is recommended that in addition to taking your prenatal vitamin, that you also drink low-fat milk that is fortified with vitamin D and each foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D. If you don’t drink milk, or are allergic to milk products, you should talk with your doctor about vitamin D and calcium supplements.
Another important nutrient that most prenatal vitamins do not contain is omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fatty acids help with important brain functions and help a baby’s brain develop. Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally found in fish and seafood. If you do not eat seafood, or are allergic, you should speak with your doctor about taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
Do I need a prescription for prenatal vitamins?
Virtually every pharmacy carries prenatal vitamins and they are available for purchase over-the-counter. However, your physician might recommend a specific brand of prenatal vitamins that might require a prescription.
How soon should I start taking prenatal vitamins?
During the first month of pregnancy, the baby’s neural tube starts to develop, which later develops into the brain and spinal cord. Because most women do not know they are pregnant at that point, it is recommended that any woman contemplating conceiving should start taking prenatal vitamins at least three months beforehand.
How long do you have to take prenatal vitamins?
All doctors recommend taking prenatal vitamins (with water or juice only) from before conception through the entire pregnancy. If you plan to breastfeed, it may be important to continue taking prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding, to continue to supplement the baby with extra vitamins and nutrients.
Will I experience any side effects from prenatal vitamins?
If you experience nausea from prenatal vitamins, this can help:
- Chewing on gum or sucking on hard candy after you take your vitamin
- Taking your vitamin nightly, instead of every morning
- Eating a snack before or after taking your vitamin
If you experience constipation, this can help:
- As long as you have your doctor’s permission, including more physical activity in your routine
- Adding extra fiber to your diet
- Drinking plenty of extra water
- Asking your doctor about using stool softeners
If none of these tips appear to help, there are other options you can speak with your doctor about, such as, taking a different brand of prenatal vitamin, folic acid, calcium, and/or iron.
Make Taking Prenatal Vitamins Easier
Incorporating a prenatal vitamin easier into your nutritional regimen when you’re planning a pregnancy, pregnant, and/or breastfeeding is the best way to support your vitamin and nutrient intake that is often lacking in the foods we eat.
Consuming prenatal vitamins helps to support a healthy pregnancy, and helps to replenish the vitamin stores that are depleted when breastfeeding.
Prenatal Vitamins Easier Than Big Pills
Due to a number of nutrients recommended for soon-to-be moms, prenatal supplements can be large and difficult to swallow. Many times, prenatal vitamins in pill-form have been known to cause upset stomach—particularly when there are several pills/tablets in one serving.
If you find yourself having difficulty swallowing your prenatal vitamins in pill-form, there are other ways that are just as effective to ensure you’re providing your body with the nutrients you and your baby need.
Gummy Prenatal Vitamins
These soft and chewable prenatal vitamins serve as a delicious treat that can help provide you with many of the nutrients you need during pregnancy. Particularly during the first trimester, gummy prenatal vitamins can help women who battle the onset of nausea and constipation.
However, most gummies usually lack two important nutrients – iron and calcium. As such, it is recommended that women who prefer gummy prenatal vitamins supplement with additional sources of iron and calcium to ensure they don’t end up with deficiencies in these two nutrients. Since calcium can make absorption of iron more difficult, we suggest taking one supplement in the morning and the other at night.
Moreover, women who are watching their sugar intake should be cautious when supplementing with gummy prenatal vitamins, as their sugar content tends to be higher than that of your average prenatal vitamin.
Protein Shake Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins in the form of a protein shake can be a great and easier way to get your prenatal vitamins while simultaneously supporting your protein intake.
The American Pregnancy Association recommends pregnant women consume a minimum of 71 grams of protein per day (Nutrients and Vitamins in Pregnancy ).
In particular, vegan and vegetarian women may benefit greatly from supplementing with prenatal vitamins in the form of a protein shake to help them maintain their daily protein requirements.
Drink/Beverage Prenatal Vitamins
One of the easiest forms of supplementing with prenatal vitamins may very well be when they’re consumed as a beverage.
Particularly useful for pregnant women with sensitive gag reflexes and first-trimester nausea, these prenatal vitamins usually come in a powdered form that dissolves quickly in water or any beverage of choice.
Usually available in 1-serving packets, these prenatal vitamins can be a great substitute for the unpleasant ‘horse pill’ to be used in the morning in combination with other supplements, or is easy to take on-the-go.
The American Pregnancy Association’s recommendation for a Prenatal Vitamin Drink: Prenatal Oxylent®
A special message from our Sponsor:
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- Nourishes: Supports the health of mom and baby†
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- Balances: Helps reduce nausea†
- Superior multivitamin/mineral content, with a full spectrum of essential nutrients
- Optimum bioavailability
- Science-backed ingredients of superior quality
- Ferrochel® form of iron reduces nausea & constipation
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Recommended for People who:
- Don’t enjoy swallowing pills
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Oxylent is a Corporate Sponsor of the American Pregnancy Association. To learn more, please visit our Oxylent sponsor page.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Last updated: November 8, 2019 at 15:42 pm
Multivitamins During Pregnancy and Autism Rates
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You’ve been taking your prenatal vitamins every morning since you started planning to get pregnant. Now that you are expecting, these vitamins are even more important. Prenatal vitamins before conceiving are essential for the optimal health of the mother to prepare for conception, while prenatal vitamins during pregnancy benefit both mother and budding child.
In fact, an international medical research team based in Sweden recently found that multivitamins during pregnancy may be linked to lower autism rates. The 273,107 women who participated in the study reported their daily doses of multivitamins. Preliminary findings point toward a correlation between lower instances of autism and higher dosages of multivitamins. (Be careful, though, as higher dosages of some nutrients, including folate and B12, may actually increase your child’s risk of autism. Confusing, right?)
Let’s explore the essential nutrients that should be a part of your healthy lifestyle as a mom-to-be, how much of each you need to take, and how to find the best prenatal vitamin for you.
What nutrients do I need during pregnancy?
Prenatal vitamins usually include the spectrum of B vitamins, as well as Vitamins C and E, and some key minerals like magnesium and copper. In addition to these nutritional building blocks, the March of Dimes recommends six other nutrients that should be part of your supplements and/or pregnancy diet to reduce the risk of autism and other health issues in your baby.
Your prenatal vitamin should contain the 1,000 mg of calcium that you need each day as a pregnant woman. From baby’s bones and teeth to muscles and nerves, calcium is an amazing mineral that works wonders on the health of your unborn child. A simple snack of cheese and crackers can infuse you with some bone-building calcium, or you can eat your greens like broccoli and kale and soak up a ton of other vitamins.
Just be careful to avoid some calcium-rich foods that may be dangerous during pregnancy, including soft cheeses like feta and brie as well as unpasteurized milk, which carry a risk of listeria.
If you live in a rainy region like Seattle, then your Vitamin D may be in short supply. Fortunately, basking in the sun isn’t the only way to get your recommended dose of this immune system-boosting vitamin. Your prenatal supplement ought to contain the 600 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D that you need daily. This crucial vitamin works in collaboration with calcium, aiding in proper absorption of the mineral.
Egg yolks (but not raw eggs!), shiitake mushrooms, and tofu are a few natural food sources of Vitamin D, so break out the skillet and stir up a nourishing omelet!
See also: Is a Vegan Diet Safe During Pregnancy?
Now that you’re pregnant, your body requires twice as much iron as it did before, a full 30 mg at minimum. Iron keeps your energy levels stable while carrying life-giving oxygen to your baby.
A dinner of chicken cutlets with an assortment of nuts and dried fruit for dessert is an excellent way to add to the suggested iron amounts that are likely already present in your prenatal vitamin. Just be sure to cook chicken all the way through and to carefully handle raw chicken in the kitchen to reduce the risk of salmonella.
Commonly dubbed “fish oil,” this nutrient’s formal name is docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA for short. Perhaps your grandmother coaxed you into swallowing a spoonful of fish oil when you were a child, praising the distasteful concoction for its benefits to your brain and eyes. Well, Grandma was right! DHA, the Omega-3 good fats that we hear so much about, also help to develop your baby’s brain and eyes as well as contribute to overall growth.
Found in low-mercury content fish, like salmon, trout, and halibut, DHA is not always included in prenatal vitamins. But that’s OK because studies have shown that DHA from food may be more effective than supplements. As the Mayo Clinic notes:
“Remember, prenatal vitamins are a complement to a healthy diet — not a substitute for good nutrition. Prenatal vitamins won’t necessarily meet 100% of your vitamin and mineral needs.”
So, you may need to whip up a tasty dinner of grilled salmon steak with sweet potatoes and baby carrots. Sure beats Grandma’s spoonful of fish oil!
Despite a negative reputation, salt is not necessarily the enemy, especially iodized salt that offers the vital nutrient of iodine. Assisting your thyroid in producing hormones, iodine also helps your baby’s nervous system develop, facilitating the formation of a healthy brain and spinal cord.
Like fish oil, iodine is often excluded from prenatal vitamins, so you may need to seek out this nutrient from a food source. Dairy such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are a reliable source of iodine. Or you may wish to sprinkle some iodized salt onto that grilled salmon for a double dose of prenatal nutrition!
Queen of the prenatal vitamins, folic acid stimulates your red blood cell production, decreasing your chances of becoming anemic and providing a wealth of potential health benefits for your baby. Before pregnancy, you may have been taking a supplement with 400 mcg of folic acid, but now that you’re pregnant, it’s a good idea to increase that dosage to 600 mcg. The right amount of folic acid can protect against a host of issues like neural tube defects, cleft palate, and heart disorders.
Comfort foods like your favorite fortified cereal swimming in pasteurized milk is an excellent way to get a little extra folic acid into your diet, but there’s no need to overdo it. Too much folic acid has been associated with various health issues in the unborn baby, so it’s important to discuss your individual needs with your doctor.
See also: Birth Injury vs. Birth Defect: Why It Matters
Choosing the Right Prenatal Vitamin
In a nutshell: A trusted multivitamin and these six nutritional supplements may correspond to lower rates of autism and higher rates of overall health for mother and child. Consult with your physician to choose the supplements and diet that are best for your body’s specific needs.
Once you’ve chosen a prenatal supplement, following label instructions is a must, and moms-to-be should not take more than the recommended dose because higher doses of certain vitamins may be detrimental to your baby’s health. So, keep track of when you take your prenatal vitamin each day and make sure you don’t double up. Taking the vitamin as part of your morning ritual with decaf coffee, tea, or lemon water will keep you consistent. Integrating healthy, home-cooked recipes into your daily pregnancy life will work in tandem with the benefits of your prenatal vitamin.
While there’s no magic formula for good health during pregnancy, safe multivitamins and nutrient-rich foods should definitely be a part of the mix!
You may also be interested in:
- What’s the Best Diet During Pregnancy? To Meat or Not to Meat
- Can Obesity Before Pregnancy Cause Cerebral Palsy?
- Working out to Prepare for Pregnancy
- 6 Best Apps for Moms to Monitor Growing Babies
- Benefits and Risks of Placental Encapsulation