Staying healthy is vital during pregnancy. Vitamin C is touted as one of the keys to good health because of its immune-boosting reputation. While some vitamin C is essential to a healthy pregnancy, too much may lead to problems in both you and your baby, especially in early pregnancy. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you should get all of the vitamin C you need from a healthy, well-balanced diet and your prenatal vitamin, not from vitamin C supplements.
Safe dosage recommendations vary. The American Pregnancy Association recommends 80 to 85 mg daily, while the National Institutes of Health's Medline Plus suggests that pregnant women consume around 120 milligrams daily. The negative effects of vitamin C likely occur at dosages above the 2,000 milligrams tolerable upper intake level. Manage your intake by eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for their vitamin C content, rather than taking supplements to meet your nutritional needs.
Too much vitamin C during pregnancy can cause your baby to be born with a vitamin C deficiency, also called scurvy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. When you ingest too much vitamin C, your baby can develop an intolerance or resistance. Your own kidneys contribute by increasing the amount of vitamin C they excrete, even after you stop taking high doses.
Pregnant women used to turn to vitamin C as a natural way to manage pre-eclampsia, or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. The National Institutes of Health issued a statement in April 2010 indicating that, according to its research, vitamin C supplements, usually taken in combination with vitamin E supplements, do not reduce your risk of pre-eclampsia or minimize its negative effects on you and your baby. Pre-eclampsia can cause growth restriction in your baby and may lead to stroke or heart attack for you. The condition must be closely monitored by your health-care provider.
High doses of vitamin C may cause miscarriages, which prompts some women to use the vitamin as a home remedy for abortion. There is much controversy surrounding this concept, but some health practitioners believe that vitamin C encourages menstruation, resulting in a miscarriage, explains Pregnancy Baby Care. The amount of vitamin C found in a prenatal vitamin or other multivitamin does not have the high doses that may result in miscarriage, but if you have concerns, talk with your doctor about possible complications.
- Oregon State University: Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C
- National Institutes of Health; Vitamin C and E Supplements Do Not Reduce Risk for Blood Pressure Disorders of Pregnancy; April 2010
- American Pregnancy Association: Essential Nutrients & Vitamins for Pregnancy
- American Pregnancy Association: Prenatal Vitamin Limits
- Medline Plus: Vitamin C
- Pregnancy Baby Care: Vitamin C - A Natural Method to Induce Miscarriage