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Can Supplements Affect Prenatal Vitamins?

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: July 3, 2022

Pregnant women are often inundated with information about what they should and shouldn't do during their pregnancies. One of the most important things to consider is prenatal vitamins. What many people don't know, however, is that supplements can affect how well these vitamins work.

In this blog post, we will discuss how supplements can interact with prenatal vitamins and some of the best options for pregnant women.

Reasons to Take Supplements While Pregnant

Although supplements may interact with your prenatal vitamins there are some valuable reasons women during pregnancy might want to take them.

Can Replace Lost Nutrients

In general, the macronutrients that women need while pregnant will increase significantly. Any carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that you consume should be of high quality and in more amounts to ensure that your baby is getting the best possible nutrition.

Protein intake is generally recommended to increase from 0.36 grams per pound of body weight to 0.5 grams per pound.

You will also need to increase the number of micronutrients while pregnant. These can include your vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. Doctors generally recommend these micronutrients need to increase more than the number of macronutrients you ingest.

This is the reason for some prenatal vitamins but they won't give you everything you need especially if you are deficient in certain vitamins or minerals to begin with.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is when pregnant women experience severe nausea and vomiting which can lead to dehydration and a loss of nutrients.

This can cause a woman to lose important electrolytes like potassium, sodium, and magnesium. These nutrients need to be replaced through diet or supplements.

Vegans or women with allergies to certain types of food may need supplements to make up for the loss in nutrients.

May Help With Ailments

Herbal supplements can potentially help with your pregnancy although they might also interact with the prenatal vitamins you're already taking.

You may be able to take them to help with ailments like nausea or an upset stomach although it is highly recommended to seek medical advice from your doctor before doing so.

You wouldn't want to risk any harm happening to you and your baby. There have not been enough studies done on herbal supplements and pregnant women in order to know if they are safe to take.

Safe Supplements to Take During Pregnancy

Although some supplements can have a negative effect on your pregnancy there are others that should be generally safe to use.

Of course, it's important to let your doctor know your plans on taking them to get their approval and advice on dosage amounts.

If you are taking any of the supplements below, make sure they are evaluated by a third-party organization to ensure the vitamins adhere to safe standards and practices.

Folate

One supplement that requires around 600 micrograms of daily intake is Folate. It's a B vitamin that can be found in leafy greens, legumes, fruits, and fortified foods.

You might have heard of it being called "folic acid" which is the synthetic form found in supplements. It's important to get this nutrient during early development as it can help prevent neural tube defects.

Iron

Iron is another essential mineral for pregnant women. It helps with the production of hemoglobin which carries oxygen to the cells.

You can find iron in foods like red meat, poultry, seafood, beans, leafy greens, and fortified grains. The recommended amount is 27mg a day but this number will increase if you're pregnant with twins or more.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is well known and researched for its benefits in maintaining strong bones and teeth.

It's found in fortified foods like milk, some types of fish, and eggs. You can also get it from being out in the sun but this can be hard to do when you're pregnant.

The recommended amount is 600IU daily but some women might need more if they're deficient.

Magnesium

The role magnesium plays in your body can't be underestimated and pregnant women need around 310 to 320mg of magnesium a day.

It helps with the development of bones and teeth, regulates blood sugar levels, and aids in muscle and nerve function. You can get magnesium from eating dark leafy greens, seeds, nuts, whole grains, and fish.

How Supplements Interact with Prenatal Vitamins

Generally, doctors will recommend prenatal vitamins only as they contain a significant amount of the nutrients you and your baby need. You might not need to take any additional supplements but if you have a deficiency, are vegan, or have trouble eating enough then some might be recommended.

Be sure to speak with your doctor about which ones would be best for you as well as the dosage amounts. Some vitamins can interact with each other and cause problems. For example, too much vitamin A can be harmful to your baby.

You also want to be careful of taking calcium supplements as they can reduce the absorption of iron. It's best to take them at different times of the day or even on different days altogether.

FAQs

What are some vegetarian prenatal vitamins pregnant women can take?

Some plant based prenatal vitamins include Garden of Life mykind Organics, Rainbow Light Prenatal One, and MegaFood Baby & Me.

What should you not mix with prenatal vitamins?

You should be careful about taking calcium supplements as they can reduce the absorption of iron and over-the-counter pain medications like aspirin or Benadryl.


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