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How important are pregnancy vitamins?

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#1 purple_daisy

Posted 04 February 2013 - 12:45 PM

Hello ladies

I'm starting to get the mummy-to-be guilts about not taking pregnancy vitamins. I was on folate for three months prior to conception and continued taking folate then blackmores pregnancy vitamins until about 8 weeks. But then I got so sick with hg that it was a struggle to hold down water let alone vitamins so I gave up taking the tablets.

I started taking blackmores again around 20 weeks but within 4 or 5 days I was suffering terrible constipation so I stopped and within a few days the system returned to normal.

I am still taking zofran anti-nausea medication which does make me very susceptible to constipation but over the past month or so I've managed that with diet.

So how important are the pregnancy vitamins? I've had one GP tell me it is just money down the toilet and another told me to make sure I was taking them.

I would say my diet is fairly good. On an average day I have cornflakes with prunes and milk for brekky, a tuna sandwich for lunch, meat and salad/3 veg for dinner and snacks would be a yoghurt, 3 or 4 pieces of fruit, some crackers and cheese and the odd serve of crisps or a banana paddlepop. I also drink about 2L of water each day. Overall I'm pretty healthy apart from a vitamin D deficiency over winter.

What have you been told about vitamins in pregnancy?

#2 EBeditor

Posted 04 February 2013 - 12:51 PM

You should talk to your OB, doctor or midwife, but as far as I know, folate is the most important one so well done!

Omega 3s and iodine are important and can be found obviously in fish and iodised salt. I became iron deficient in my 2nd or 3rd trimester but a doctor/midwife will usually pick that up in blood tests.

I also took calcium & magnesium tablets as I had bad leg cramps in pregnancy.

#3 fairymagic

Posted 04 February 2013 - 12:51 PM

If you are eating a healthy varied diet I too was told they are not required. I had two different OBs for my three children and both said the same thing. The folic acid is the most important element to take early in pregnancy - one OB told me till 12 weeks the other till 20 weeks. Beyond that unless you have an iron deficiency, they are not needed.

#4 Ice Queen

Posted 04 February 2013 - 12:53 PM

I did find the Elevit ones made me feel better with DS when I felt really crap.  I was just so rundown and tired so for me it gave me peace of mind that my own body (not bubs!) was getting what it needed.

#5 robot sm

Posted 04 February 2013 - 12:56 PM

My original GP just checked that I was taking something with folate, they haven't really been mentioned since then.  They were adding to my first-trimester queasy feeling, so I stopped taking them daily, and would take them every 2-3 days, until bloods at about 28 weeks showed my iron levels had dropped.  I went back to taking them daily and also started an iron supplement.  

IMO, as long as you're managing to get a balanced diet and blood tests don't show any particular deficiency, you should be fine without them.

#6 Amberlily

Posted 04 February 2013 - 12:58 PM

The folate is important to protect against neural tube defects - although I'm not sure how long you're supposed to be taking it (may not need to be for the full pregnancy).

When you're diagnosed as pregnant, most doctors will run a blood test for any vitamin deficiencies, so keeping any low levels topped up is important. Eg PPs iron deficiency.

Other than the folate - I've been told that bubs will simply take the vitamins from you for what he/she needs while growing in the womb (so as long as you're not deficient yourself in any vitamins, your baby won't suffer - your own body will - if that makes sense).

#7 HGL

Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:11 PM

I think the folate is the most important but really only for the first 12 weeks. I too struggled to swallow Elevit during week 12-14 because it would make me gag and almost vomit.
The other vitamins and minerals are only really required if you're deficient in something in particular and much like a regular multivitamin, a lot of doctors claim it's simply money down the toilet.
I found the constipation caused by Elevit worse when you start taking it but then your body gets use to it. I've been using Swiss Pregnancy & Elevit on alternate days as the Swiss contains much less iron than Elevit.
Your diet seems fine but Cornflakes are very low in fibre, 1g a serve - you need at least 30g fibre a day. For the same amount of calories, 2 regular weetbix has 3.6g fibre. For 27 more calories, Uncle Toby's Bran Plus contains 17.8g fibre! HTH

#8 tazcan

Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:15 PM

It is now recommended that you take iodine in Australia since NSW and a few other states have a deficiency - and you need especially high levels of iodine when pregnant and breastfeeding. When I was pregnant 2.5 year ago this wasn't in the pregnancy literature handed out to me by my doctor (although I knew about it then), but I noticed for this pregnancy it was now included in the handouts my gp gave me for pregnancy (both folate and iodine are important). Lack of iodine can cause mild to severe brain impairments in the fetus and young children. You would have been getting a bit extra since they now use iodised salt in bread (although there isn't much salt in bread) - and then it depends on whether you use iodised salt and eat lots of seafood or not.

From http://www.science.o...c-nutri...e(q).html

Studies conducted over the last decade in New South Wales and Victoria, where approximately 60 per cent of the Australian population live, indicate the presence of mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency in all groups tested. Study participants included school children, adult volunteers, and pregnant and postpartum women. The results of the National Iodine Nutrition Survey (NINS) conducted during 2003 and 2004 in school-aged children in all states except Tasmania and the Northern Territory are shown in Table 3. These results suggest a significant proportion of the Australian population is currently affected by iodine deficiency, particularly in New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, with median urinary iodine concentration (MUIC) for the total sample of 104 micrograms per litre, suggesting borderline iodine status.

Moderate to severe iodine deficiency (population median urinary iodine concentration les than 50 micrograms per litre) has profound effects on intellectual development with the most extreme being cretinism. The health effects associated with mild iodine deficiency (population median urinary iodine concentration less than 100 micrograms per litre) have, in the past, been less easy to define as the outcomes are often sub-clinical. The term mild iodine deficiency is perhaps misleading as it does not convey the seriousness of the associated health effects.

#9 MrsLexiK

Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:16 PM

I have been giving severe migrains and cluster headaches.  My OB was recently away and so I had to seek the OB who was taking on his cases.  He told me to stop the multi's I was taking and that really they were not needed too much anymore.  He said he assumed I would be having a blood test in the next 2 weeks (which I was) and if need be I could go on single iron tablet and a single vit d tablet as well.

ETA: whilst I did have one headache in the last 10 days it was nothing compared to the ones I was having it was actually dealt with cat A over the counter pain meds, and I haven't had once since then.

Edited by MrsLexiK, 04 February 2013 - 01:22 PM.

#10 caroldiem

Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:17 PM

I think they are crucial if your diet isn't that great like me because of my constant nausea i see a very well known fertility naturopath who has prescriped me my vitamins based on blood test results so she has analysed my nutritional deficiences.

I take

Vitamin B complex (which has the folate in it)
Vit D
Vit C
Fish Oil
Vit E

It's a lot of tablets but i know it's good for baby she told me don't stress over food so much but make sure i take my vitaminssssssss

#11 Koobie83

Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:19 PM

I was told that folate was only important for the first 7 weeks. After that time the neural tube is closed and has been formed.

I was taking a Swisse ultivite pregnancy multivitamin up until about a month or so ago because it had Omega 3. I had a strong aversion to fish and avocados in early pregnancy so I had to make sure I was having some Omega 3. Then the aversion went and leg and arm cramps set in so my doctor recommended Elevit which has a higher magnesium content than the Swisse one. So I take that. I don't worry if I don't take it everyday because my diet is pretty good.

If you are eating well and your vitamin and mineral counts are good then I wouldn't worry too much.

#12 epl0822

Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:23 PM

If pregnancy vitamins were absolutely necessary to having a healthy child, human beings would be extinct a looooong time ago.

I had severe morning sickness and it was not worth taking them.

#13 Natttmumm

Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:24 PM

My doc said I didn't need them after 3 mths pregnant.
He did give me iron tablets as I was low despite taking the multi.
I think what you have done is fine

#14 Bluemakede

Posted 04 February 2013 - 02:56 PM

I was only told to take folate by my dr, and that if I ate ok enough then I should be getting enough vitamins and minerals anyway.

I did take some pregnancy vitamins for the first 4 months, only because I don't eat seafood at all and wanted some omega 3 for the baby, figured it was easier to take 1 tablet rather than the omega 3 and folate.

#15 againagain

Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:23 PM

The midwives seem quite keen to make sure everyone is on a pregnancy multi, my dr thinks they are a waste of money and you just pee them out.

I take folic acid for the first tri (and before) but then nothing.

#16 Lady Sybil Vimes

Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:39 PM

In my first pregnancy I had hyperemesis & couldn't keep multivitamins down. I have a very healthy DS. This pregnancy I've been able to take them & keep them down. Don't stress about it, if you can't tolerate them then you can't.  Just keep focusing on maintaining a balanced diet. Best of luck, OP.

#17 namie

Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:51 PM

If you're concerned you could get some blood tests done so you can see what your vitamin levels are.

I'm deficient in Vitamin D (levels are really low) which is pretty important to a baby's development so I'm on an additional supplement of 1000mg on the orders of my GP, backed by my Ob. I'm also supposed to spend 20 minutes a day in the sun without sunscreen, in the early morning.

I also end up with really low iron from the 20 week mark so fully expect to have to take a supplement of that again this time round.

Everything else is ok, and the need for folate has passed as I reached 12 weeks, although as a PP said, my Ob did specifically mention Iodine this time as new studies have shown it can be beneficial.

#18 Amy 1976

Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:08 PM

RANZCOG have a statement on their website about the use of supplements prior to conception  and during pregnancy.

Other than folate, they do not recommend routine use of multivitamins.

Their policys on various matters can be found here http://www.ranzcog.edu.au/womens-health/st...ll=&start=1

They do recommend for example, vitamin D if you are deficient or in a risk group for deficiency (they make other recommendations too which you can read in their statement)

I tried to take multivitamins but they made me both nauseated and constipated so I have given up in favour of taking a folate tablet and a vitamin D tablet each morning as these don't seem to cause any side effects.

#19 countrychic29

Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:14 PM

my OB told me they were a waste of money.
He said they are ineffective in such small qtys.
I just take a vit D tablet and randomly take what i have left of the multi vitamins

#20 Chelly_M

Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:12 PM

I never took a multi vitamin, I only took specific supplements which I know I needed.    
I took folic acid and fish oil, as I don't eat fish.  
My iron levels were originally really good, but in the third trimester they became low, so then I started to take iron.
Regarding iodine, we use iodinised cooking salt, so should receive enough iodine in our food, I think.
Neither my gp or ob recommended that I take a multi.

#21 ~Supernova~

Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:16 PM

I haven't read the replies, so apologies if I am repeating. If you eat well, they really aren't hugely important. I think some vitamins which may need supplementation (depending on diet, and levels) is iodine, folate, vit d, and iron.

#22 RealityBites

Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:56 PM

QUOTE (epl0822 @ 04/02/2013, 02:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If pregnancy vitamins were absolutely necessary to having a healthy child, human beings would be extinct a looooong time ago.

I had severe morning sickness and it was not worth taking them.


A gp tried to make me feel guilty for not taking multivitamins. Then also tried to get me to do acupuncture. Honestly. I have HG (since week 6) and am on daily zofran. I am just thankful I can drink water again!!  rant.gif

#23 noi'mnot

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:01 PM

Like others, I take what I need. The pregnancy multivitamins don't have enough of what I need and have plenty of other things in small amounts that I don't need.

So I'm taking vitamin D and iron, as that's all that I need. Much cheaper than the pregnancy ones, too! original.gif

#24 Swarley

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:03 PM

I'm on my 5th pregnancy now and have never taken them regularly.  I started to a bit at the start of this pregnancy, and did find it helped give me a bit more energy.

But like others, have never been able to take them daily because of MS/HG.
I actually hunted around this time for a smaller or chewable one but had no luck. There's no way to swallow something that big without vomiting when you gag so easily.

I know it's anecdata - but other than the nausea, my pregnancies, labours and babies have all been trouble free and healthy. I wouldn't worry too much.

#25 purple_daisy

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:39 AM

Thank you EB mummies, I feel a lot better now. I think I just bought into all the advertising a bit too much about how essential the vitamins were.

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