My prenatal vitamin makes me feel sick. Can I stop taking it?

prental supplement is a vitamin and mineral supplement you can take daily to make sure you’re getting the right amount of certain important nutrients during pregnancy.  Your doctor can help you determine a prenatal supplement that is right for you.  Typically, a liquid multivitamin will provide you will all the vitamins and minerals needed for you and your baby.  Studies have shown that the risk of many birth defects can be reduced by taking prenatal vitamins, particularly ones containing folic acid.  Additionally, a good prenatal supplement will have no more than the recommended allowance of vitamin A, as this may increase the risk of birth defects.

Some women experience nausea when taking their prenatal vitamin.  This may be for several reasons.  First, the iron in a prenatal supplement may amplify morning sickness.  If this should happen to you, try taking your supplements with food or just before you go to bed.  If this is ineffective, check with your physician to see if you can switch to a prenatal supplement without iron for the first trimester, when morning sickness tends to be at its worst.

Another cause of sickness from prenatal vitamins may be gagging.  If the size of the supplement is what’s making you gag, ask your practitioner if you can switch to a chewable supplement or a smaller one without calcium.  Calcium is very bulky and you can probably get what you need from separate chewable calcium supplements, antacids, or dairy products.  Also, make sure that your supplement contains vitamin B6, as this may help relieve nausea.

Finally, you should consider all of your options before you stop taking a prenatal supplement.  If your body does not get sufficient amounts of folic acid and other vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, you greatly increase the risks of birth defects such as spina bifida.  Additionally, if your body is naturally low on iron, you need that iron supplement to avoid other pregnancy complications.  Always consult with your physician before stopping or making a change to your prenatal supplement.

Leila Pereira
Leila Pereira
I work in occupational therapy and occupational science. I specialize in early intervention pediatrics for children from birth to three years old; with an emphasis on children with autism. My goals are to support the achievement of developmental milestones in your child while collaborating with caregivers & parents; including play skill development, education, leisure, rest and sleep, feeding, nutrition and social participation. Licensed by the California Board of Occupational Therapy

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