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The Great Pregnancy Vitamin Conspiracy!

I write this today because many healthy pregnant women are being manipulated into believing that they need to take pregnancy multivitamins for the whole 9 months.  They do not, and here’s why.

For many big pharmaceutical companies, pregnancy multivitamins are big business.  Women are more susceptible to being misinformed when they find out they are pregnant with the baby they have been longing for.  Many pregnancy and birth website’s and magazine’s display adverts for multivitamins so women are constantly exposed to the hype and they become confused over the guidelines.

The national institute of clinical excellence (NICE) recommends that women should take 400mcg of Folic Acid for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, in order to protect against neural tube defects such  as Spina Bifida (SB); in women with a family history of SB a higher dose of 5mg is recommended. A systemic review of over 6,000 babies had found that taking folate in early pregnancy reduced the risk by 95%. For healthy women there is no need to take folate after the first trimester.  In fact this may contribute to other disorders.

A Boston study conducted between 1998-2013 of 1400 women found that women with high levels of folate in their blood had a 17.6% increased risk of their child developing autism.  There have been other studies that suggest higher level’s may also contribute to childhood Asthma.  So ladies, look at your pack of multivitamins and read how much Folic Acid is in them.  If you are healthy and over the first Trimester you do not need to use them.  The only other recommended vitamin you need and this is important throughout your pregnancy is 10mcg of good old vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency is common within the northern hemisphere due to our lack of exposure to the Sun’s ray’s.  There is so much research into the benefits of taking vitamin D especially throughout the winter, Public Health England suggests we all take this supplement, it benefits bone and brain health so don’t stop taking that one and if you have young children ask your health visitor or GP about your children’s Vitamin D requirements.

A healthy diet is what you and your baby need, Organic Vegetable’s, fish, meat and pulses.  Wholemeal grains, organic fruit and have at least one vegetarian meal a week.  Too much meat is not good for you or baby do your research.  Keep your sugar intake to a minimum, save sugar’s for a weekly treat.  Make sure you exercise at least 30 minutes per day 5 day’s a week. Find time to relax and enjoy the last few month’s of peace.

There is no need to spend money on pointless products, a BBC report demonstrated how vitamins are a waste of money! the only other time you may need a supplement is just after you have given birth then you can give your body a boost with a month’s course of a multivitamin.  Remember Vitamin D needs to be taken for at least 6 months post delivery.

One last point – If you have been told you need to take extra supplement’s by a healthcare professional then please listen to that advice. If you suffer from a disorder, or have problems with absorption, or you have a bad diet then yes take your daily dose of vitamins.

Related blogs Getting fit for pregnancy & Birth

Wendy Kuharska

www.callthemidwives.co.uk

 

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