Bleeding after taking your prenatal vitamin can be alarming and unexpected, and may be a warning sign of a problem with your pregnancy. Bleeding can also be a sign that you are getting too much of a particular nutrient. While it is not always cause for concern, consult your doctor immediately if you are bleeding while pregnant.
Importance of Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are designed to meet a pregnant woman’s nutritional needs, which are greater than those of the average woman. Your unborn baby needs extra folic acid and iron, which may be difficult to get from your diet alone. In addition, if you do not get enough calcium in your diet, you risk losing bone density as your baby’s bones develop. Prenatal vitamins can make up what nutrients may be lacking in your diet. Many women start taking prenatal vitamins before they become pregnant, to prepare their body for its upcoming journey. Getting too much of certain vitamins or minerals, however, can cause unwanted side effects such as bleeding.
Vitamin Excess and Bleeding
While vitamins and minerals have a recommended daily allowance, they also have upper limits – the maximum amount most people can safely tolerate. It can be tempting to take extra vitamins for your unborn baby’s health, but exceeding the daily recommendation can cause severe health issues. Too much vitamin E during pregnancy, for example, can increase your risk of bleeding excessively or bruising after an injury. According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnant women only need around 15 milligrams of vitamin E daily and should not take more than 800 to 1,000 milligrams. Excessive amounts of iron can cause blood to seep into the digestive symptom, appearing in the stool or vomit. Pregnant women should avoid taking more than 45 milligrams of iron a day, says the APA.
Other Causes of Bleeding
While prenatal vitamins do not directly cause vaginal bleeding or spotting, these symptoms may occur early in pregnancy whether you are taking the supplements or not. Women may bleed during early pregnancy if their cervix becomes irritated, such as during vigorous sex. Light bleeding or spotting may also occur when the fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus a few weeks after conception. Heavy or continued bleeding may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as an ectopic pregnancy or an impending miscarriage.
All types of unexpected bleeding should be checked out by your doctor, especially if you are already pregnant. Your doctor may perform tests to determine the cause of your bleeding, such as an ultrasound or blood work. If you notice other types of bleeding before or during your pregnancy, talk to your doctor about your supplements. Vitamin overdoses may not only cause bleeding but can also have serious consequences for you and your unborn child. To avoid exceeding the upper limits of your prenatal vitamins, take them only as directed and talk to a nutritionist about your specific needs.
- “Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy”; Mayo Clinic; Harper Collins; 2004