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Are There Vitamins to Avoid When Pregnant?

author image Adam Dave
Adam Dave, M.D., has written both fiction and nonfiction since 1997. His most recent work, "The Paradigm Diet," a short course on applied nutrition, is available on Amazon. He holds a medical degree from Medical University of the Americas and trained in family medicine at the University of Colorado.
Are There Vitamins to Avoid When Pregnant?
pregnant woman drinking water in kitchen Photo Credit: Александр Ермолаев/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamins are essential to life, and because the body does not synthesize them, they are a required part of your diet. The food you eat is the best source of nutrients, but pregnant women require extra amounts of certain vitamins, such as folic acid, and supplementation may be required. A well-balanced diet does not put you at risk for overdosing on any vitamin. Supplementation with the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E, which are stored in the tissues, can have toxic side effects if consumed in amounts that exceed the recommended dietary allowance.

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Vitamin A

pregnant woman eating vegetables in the kitchen
pregnant woman eating vegetables in the kitchen Photo Credit: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Vitamin A is required for growth, reproduction and healthy skin. In addition, it is a component of the visual pigments of the rod and cone cells in your and your baby’s eyes. A healthy diet that includes yellow and dark green vegetables and fruits meets the recommended dietary allowance for this vitamin, which is 770mcg per day. The upper limit for this vitamin is 3,000mcg per day. Amounts exceeding this can cause congenital malformations, or birth defects, in the developing fetus.

Vitamin D

pregnant woman remaining indoors so as not to get too much Vitamin D from sunlight
pregnant woman remaining indoors so as not to get too much Vitamin D from sunlight Photo Credit: telnyawka/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamin D acts as a hormone in your body, regulating your blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Both vitamin D2, found in plants, and vitamin D3, found in animal tissues, are sources of preformed vitamin D, and vitamin D is also produced in your skin on exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is the most toxic of all vitamins, and intakes that exceed 100mcg per day can cause loss of appetite, nausea, thirst and stupor and can adversely impact your baby’s health.

Vitamin E

vitamin E capsules
vitamin E capsules Photo Credit: areeya_ann/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant, and vegetable oils, including oils present in whole foods such as leafy greens, are rich sources of this vitamin. Deficiencies are rarely seen, and supplementation is usually not necessary to achieve the recommended dietary intake of 15mg per day. Vitamin E is the least toxic of the fat-soluble vitamins, and potential benefits outweigh the possibilities of harm. If you choose to take a multivitamin during pregnancy, avoid one that exceeds the RDA of the fat-soluble vitamins.

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