Having a healthy diet and good nutrition is an important concern for many pregnant women. A maternal diet that is rich in vitamins and nutrients will aid in the prevention of birth defects and will provide the developing offspring with the resources he needs to grow. Additionally, vitamins like biotin may protect the mother from some of the adverse side effects of pregnancy, including hair loss. Always consult your health care provider before taking any new supplement or medication, or combining more than one of these.
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About Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are frequently prescribed by physicians for a gestating woman to meet the nutritional demands of her developing child. Vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, iron and the B vitamins are important for fetal growth and maternal health and may not be available in sufficient quantity from dietary sources. Prenatal vitamins are available by prescription and over the counter. Be aware that not all prenatal vitamins are created equal -- some contain a higher dose of one vitamin, and a lower dose of another. Ask your physician to help you pick a supplement that will meet your unique needs.
Biotin, also known as vitamin B-7 or vitamin H, is available from some dietary sources and is involved in the functioning of several enzymes in your body. Symptoms of biotin deficiency include hair loss and a red, scaly rash on the face. Other symptoms include tiredness, hallucinations, depression and tingling of your extremities.
Biotin and Pregnancy
Change in hair growth and distribution is a common symptom of pregnancy. Most women notice a fuller head of hair during their pregnancy as circulating hormones prevent normal hair loss. About three months after the birth of your child, all the hair you accumulated during the pregnancy will fall out all at once, or over several weeks. While alarming, the hair loss is normal and your hair will return to its pre-pregnancy state within six to 12 months. The American Pregnancy Association suggests that using shampoos containing biotin or taking biotin supplements orally may reduce the loss of hair following your pregnancy.
While biotin is considered safe during pregnancy and is available without prescription, you should consult your physician before taking any new supplement. Your prenatal vitamin may already contain biotin, and the vitamin should not be taken in excess. The best source of vitamin B-7 and other nutrients is a healthy diet. Biotin is found in cauliflower, yeast, egg yolk, liver, avocado, raspberries, salmon, pork, whole-wheat bread and cheddar cheese. The recommended daily intake of biotin is 30 micrograms, unless you are breastfeeding in which case it is 35 micrograms, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. There is no upper limit set for biotin intake, but your combined intake of prenatals and biotin supplements should stay within that range. A biotin deficiency may result in birth defects such as abnormal development of your baby.