Sceptical of prenatal vitamins. Do I really have to take them?
January 10, 2011 6:57 PM Subscribe
Prenatal vitamins - aside from folic acid, is supplementation really necessary given healthy nutrition and lifestyle?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I am currently in my first trimester of pregnancy (thus the anonymous question...) and gather that supplementation with prenatal vitamins is recommended in the US. I live in the US, but am originally from Germany, where prenatal vitamin supplementation is not common; pregnant/TTC women usually only take folic acid.
I have taken folic acid since TTC and continue to do so; I have not taken a complete prenatal vitamin though. I understand that folic acid is crucial for warding off neural tube defects. But the evidence for other supplementation routines seems sketchy or non-existent. Is it really medically necessary for me to take a "complete" prenatal vitamin combination instead of just folic acid?
Everything I can find online basically says that since there's "no risk" in taking a prenatal vitamins, one should do it "just to be on the safe side" (this is also the stance of my OB/GYN). I am extremely sceptical of this type of pregnancy advice and find it rather condescending, to be honest. Aside from possible side effects and cost, I would prefer to make my own risk assessment, and generally I'd rather only take stuff that is positively proven, or at least assumed with some empirical evidence, to be advantageous given my personal circumstances (healthy, early 30s, varied nutrition that complies with all recommendations, healthy lifestyle and no risk factors like drinking or smoking).
I am under medical supervision and assume that, should a deficiency crop up, I could still supplement (e.g. iron later in pregnancy), and of course I would not subject to supplementation then.
tl;dr - Aside from folic acid, and given a good diet and generally healthy constitution/lifestyle, is there positive empirical evidence for the advantageousness of prenatal vitamin supplementation? I'm not really interested in personal pregnancy anecdotes, please aim for the hard facts. I have searched Google Scholar, but was not very successful... Thanks in advance!