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Are pregnancy vitamins a waste of money?

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In Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin researchers claimed that they have studied all evidence and are sure that no vitamins or supplements can boost the health of babies and mothers. Of course, it is said that such vitamins include much iron; however, by mid-pregnancy a woman needs only about seven milligrams more iron daily.

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Typical vitamins do contain magnesium and calcium. Magnesium adds to the absorption of the iron. But calcium supplements aren't recommended for a routine use during pregnancy as they aren't weight-loss pills like Duromine that should be taken daily for awesome results. The fetus uses only 2.5% of the maternal calcium. Most of it is in bones and is readily mobilized for fetal growth. And if the administration of pregnancy calcium-containing vitamins is regular, it can prevent the absorption of the iron.

Recently supplement-makers said that most women don't get enough nutrients during pregnancy. It may be true, but let's not forget that supplement-makers are the ones interested in higher sales.

"We do agree that pregnant women should make sure they take Vitamin D and folic acid. But we also make emphasis that professional guidelines are needed as neither vitamin or supplement is taken for nine months," they say in Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin.

Only a certain amount of folic acid is needed during pregnancy (before conception through early pregnancy). "Folic acid has been shown to reduce the occurrence of heart defects and spina bifida," Dr. Lockwood says.

A milligram of folic acid per day helps raise the odds of a healthy child. However, when this kind of supplement hasn't been administered in early pregnancy or before conception, it doesn't mean the baby is going to have defects; folic acid is present in many foods (white beans, cereals, spinach), so you have probably eaten enough of it. Researchers from Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin have the strongest evidence to support the intake of this supplement, but for a short period only.

What about vitamin D? Recently, the journal Fertility and Sterility published a study that links the replete stores of vitamin D to a successful fertilization. Ten milligrams of Vitamin D per day is a regular dose for healthy bones in the baby and mother.

The only supplement that may be dangerous, though supplement-makers deny it, is Vitamin A: too much of it harms the baby.

Most pregnant women feel coerced into purchasing very expensive multivitamins that are said to give a baby the best start. In Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin they suggest not buying expensive vitamins but paying attention to the only two types that are really needed: Vitamin D and folic acid. They are effective and available at comparatively low costs. Women should resist different marketing claims and pay attention to what healthcare experts say. "Our researchers stress that a pregnant woman shouldn't eat for two. It is a common myth. A well-balanced diet is what really required. And the food amount must be normal."

And though supplement-makers insist on buying more multivitamins to ensure enough nutrients and vitamins for a proper development of a baby, every woman should understand that it's one of the marketing strategies that they keep to. Pregnancy vitamins often become a real waste of money, because most expecting women are ready to spend much on what is beneficial for their babies.
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Michael Blount is a blogger from Gratis, Ohio, USA. He frequently touches on the themes of gender rights, ecological problems and healthy lifestyle in his articles. Michael communicates with different people and eagerly shares his (more...)

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Are pregnancy vitamins a waste of money?

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