You may well have heard on the news this month about the widely publicised results of a study published in the BMJ journal’s Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin which indicate that multivitamin and mineral supplements are unlikely to be needed by most pregnant women.
The main message about taking multivitamins during pregnancy to come out of this study is that although many women feel as though it could help them, especially if they’re having difficulty getting a balanced diet, some multivitamin supplements could actually be harmful to the baby. This is because some multivitamin supplements aren’t made specifically for pregnant women and therefore could contain high levels of vitamins such as vitamin A (also known as retinol). Too much vitamin A during pregnancy could harm your unborn baby and this is why mums-to-be are advised not to eat liver products for example, such as pâté, or even fish liver oil because these are very high in vitamin A.
Normal Intake – Keeping Healthy
The normal intake of vitamin A as part of a daily, balanced diet should be around 0.6mg a day for women. Making sure that you have a nutritious diet and physical activity will contribute towards keeping mother and baby healthy during pregnancy. It is obviously also important to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
Vitamin D / Folic Acid
One vitamin that we in the UK often have low levels of is vitamin D. This vitamin however can really help to improve a baby’s growth, and can reduce the risk of things like spina bifida, heart or limb defects, some brain tumours, and rickets. This is why women are advised to take 400 micrograms a day before getting pregnant, and to continue doing so right up until 13 weeks mark.
The Importance of Good Antenatal Care
One way to make sure that you are getting the right advice and help during pregnancy is good antenatal care. I offer Antenatal care until 20 weeks of pregnancy, and I work with Gordon Cochrane and Dean Meredith to provide a comprehensive Antenatal package.
I combine an orthodox practice with a genuinely holistic approach. The comprehensive antenatal and delivery package that I offer includes a dating scan, monthly antenatal assessments (until 28 weeks), screening for Down’s syndrome. (11-13 weeks), anomaly scan (20 weeks), 4D UltraSound bonding scan, growth scan (34 weeks), weekly antenatal appointments (from 34 weeks), presence and supervision of normal delivery, and Caesarean section and instrumental vaginal delivery (ventouse and forceps).