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Pros and Cons of Taking Prenatal Vitamins When Not Pregnant

By    |   Monday, 12 October 2015 05:10 PM

Some women take prenatal vitamins when they are not pregnant, and while the supplements can make up for certain nutrients, they can potentially be more harmful than helpful.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy, well-balanced diet can provide all that is necessary for a single human being without the need for multivitamins.

Some women, however, have made claims that taking prenatal vitamins even when they're not pregnant has benefits such as thicker hair or stronger nails.

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Here are some of the pros and sons of taking prenatal vitamins while not pregnant:


• For women who hope to become pregnant soon, prenatal vitamins help prepare a healthy environment for a baby. Prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, which is crucial to a baby's brain and spine health. "I always suggest a prenatal vitamin, but if a woman feels more comfortable taking a multivitamin instead, that's OK too, as long as she is getting at least 400 mcg of folic acid daily when she is trying to get pregnant," Dr. Carol Bates told WebMD.

• Taking prenatal vitamins is encouraged after the baby is born while the mother is breastfeeding. "Continuing to take prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding is a good idea to make sure you're getting essential vitamins and minerals," according to BabyCenter. "Most women can get all necessary vitamins and minerals from food if they're eating a well-balanced diet. But that can be hard to do when you're taking care of a baby, a home, and perhaps a career as well."

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• Ingesting too much folate can have unwanted side effects. "Less serious side effects include digestive problems, nausea, loss of appetite, bloating, gas, a bitter or unpleasant taste in the mouth, sleep disturbances, depression, excessive excitement, irritability and a zinc deficiency," according to LiveStrong. "More severe signs include psychotic behavior, numbness or tingling, mouth pain, weakness, trouble concentrating, confusion, fatigue and even seizures."

• Prenatal vitamins are also high in iron, and taking them when not pregnant could mean ingesting too much iron. Having an intake of too much of this nutrient can lead to constipation, vomiting, and nausea, the Mayo Clinic said.

• There is not a sufficient daily amount of calcium in prenatal supplements. "Because prenatal vitamins are intended to supplement calcium you get in your diet, they generally contain only 200 to 300 mg of calcium" when you need 1000 mg daily, according to the Mayo Clinic. "If you rely on prenatal vitamins to meet your calcium needs, you likely won't get enough, raising your risk of osteoporosis and other health problems."

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Some women take prenatal vitamins when they are not pregnant, and while the supplements can make up for certain nutrients, they can potentially be more harmful than helpful.
pros, cons, prenatal vitamins, not, pregnant
Monday, 12 October 2015 05:10 PM
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