Why are pregnant women advised to take a prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement?
You should first turn to nutritious foods to meet your vitamin and mineral needs, but the reality is that many women’s diets fall short of the ideal. A prenatal vitamin supplement can fill in the nutritional gaps on those days when you don’t eat quite right. The secret is to supplement sensibly.
A multiple-vitamin-and-mineral supplement that supplies about 100% of the Daily Values for each nutrient (as listed on the label) is sufficient for most adults. However, during pregnancy, iron, calcium, and folic acid are required at higher levels. Therefore, your physician may want you to take a vitamin-and-mineral supplement to help meet your needs.
Pregnancy isn’t the time to experiment with large doses of single nutrients, since megadoses of some of them—such as iron, chromium, vitamin A, selenium, and fluoride—can produce numerous side effects, ranging from mottled teeth to birth defects. Always consult your physician before taking any prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement during pregnancy.
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