Prenatal Vitamins Supplement Review

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Prenatal Vitamins
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Prevention of congenital spine malformations
+3 (Strong Evidence)
Prevention of congenital heart and facial defects
+2 (Moderate Evidence)
Prevention of pediatric cancers
+2 (Moderate Evidence)
Prevention of autism & autistic spectrum disorders
+1 (Slight Evidence)

PRO

  • The benefits of prenatal vitamins are very strong and well established, especially when started three months prior to pregnancy.
  • Prenatal vitamins contain a B vitamin called folic acid, which, when taken very early in pregnancy (before you’ve even missed your first period), prevents a serious spinal birth defect called spina bifida.
  • Prenatal vitamins reduce the risk of developing other birth defects, especially heart defects and a defect of the mouth and nose called a cleft palate.
  • Prenatal vitamins reduce the risk of other common childhood cancers, including leukemia, neuroblastoma, and brain tumors.
  • Prenatal vitamins with DHA decrease autism and autism spectrum disorders by 40% when taken 3 months prior to conceiving and throughout pregnancy.

CON

  • While rare, side effects may include nausea.
  • Otherwise, there are not a lot of cons to taking a prenatal vitamin.

* *ADVISORY* *
Not all prenatal vitamins are the same. Recommendations about optimal doses of the other vitamins contained in them do change from time to time. Work with your health care provider to determine what is right for you.

DOSAGE:Choose a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid and 600 mg of DHA for the most benefit, and take one every day.

CONCLUSION:We conclude that prenatal vitamins are a safe and effective product for pregnant mothers and women hoping to conceive. It is remarkable that such a small intervention, one essentially without risk, can reduce the risk of so many devastating medical problems. Start discussing your hopes and plans to conceive with your medical provider now. Prenatal vitamins are available only with a prescription and, ideally, you will want to start taking them before you become pregnant. Work with your healthcare provider to determine a dose that is right for you.

REFERENCES
Folic Acid for the Prevention of Neural Tube Defects: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Annals of Internal Medicine (2009) 150:626-631
Goh, Y.I. et al. Prenatal Multivitamin Supplementation and Rates of Pediatric Cancers: A Meta-Analysis


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