Pregnancy Supplements: What to Take and Not to Take

Supplements are not only good for a woman’s health, but they’re also a great way to keep up with dietary recommendations and minimize pregnancy risks. For example, nutritional supplements are a great way to avoid consuming high-mercury seafood and alcohol, and cigarettes. Plus, some of these supplements can even improve your maternal outcomes.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bone development and absorption. Vitamin D is also necessary for preventing pregnancy complications, including pre-eclampsia. However, knowing how much vitamin D during your pregnancy is good for you is essential. A daily allowance of 4,000 IU may be enough. Consider taking a supplement if you’re not getting enough vitamin D through food or sunlight.

However, excessive supplementation of vitamin D can cause toxicity. Too much vitamin D can lead to hypercalcemia, an accumulation of calcium in the blood. This can be harmful to both the mother and fetus. To avoid toxicity, doctors recommend taking at least 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily. Higher doses may be recommended for short periods in the third trimester, but pregnant women should monitor their calcium levels.

Folic Acid

Pregnant women should take folic acid supplements if they’d like to reduce the risk of neural tube defects, which are problems that result from the lack of folic acid. These defects can result in the baby being born with a spinal cord that doesn’t close properly. Some examples include spina bifida, where part of the baby’s spinal cord remains outside the body, resulting in paralysis of the legs and bladder control issues. In extreme cases, the baby can die. Additionally, folic acid may help prevent some types of heart disease, as well as some cancers.

Folic acid helps form the neural tube of a developing baby, which is essential to developing the baby’s brain and spine. It also helps prevent neural tube defects and congenital disabilities during early pregnancy. This is why the CDC recommends folic acid for pregnant women. Studies have shown that folic acid can reduce the risk of neural tube defects by 50 to 70%. Therefore, taking folic acid supplements daily is vital to protect your unborn child’s future.


Calcium supplements during pregnancy are safe, and some women may benefit from them. Studies show that calcium can reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia and other pregnancy complications. Preterm birth, one of the leading causes of infant mortality in low-income countries, can also be reduced with calcium supplementation.

In one study, calcium and antioxidant supplementation decreased the risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women. It did not, however, reduce the number of miscarriages. In addition, calcium supplements had no significant effect on platelet counts, uric acid, or urinary protein.

Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is a North American plant commonly used to treat gynecologic disorders. The plant is sometimes taken as a supplement to alleviate menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and cramps. Native Americans also use it to treat other ailments such as musculoskeletal pain, cough, and pneumonia. Native Americans and European settlers have used it for centuries.

Black cohosh supplements should be used responsibly and with caution. Research indicates that high doses may trigger side effects. Some people report abdominal pain, headaches, or joint pains after high doses. Others experience dizziness, tremors, and visual dimness.

Nonprescription Cold And Cough Medicines

When taking over-the-counter cough and cold medicines during pregnancy, you should carefully read the label to ensure that no ingredients are dangerous to the developing fetus. Certain elements are unsafe to use in pregnancy, including guaifenesin, which may be present in some cough medicines. A lower dose should be used for shorter periods, and there are several other precautions that you should take.

The first thing you should know about nonprescription cough and cold medicines is that many contain more than one medication. Some of these combination medicines have drugs that are unsafe to take during pregnancy, such as loratadine and pseudoephedrine. Before beginning any combination product, always consult with your healthcare provider. Depending on your circumstances, some of these medicines are safe for pregnancy, while others may cause harm to you and your unborn baby. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about what is safe to take for the best results. The best way to stay healthy during pregnancy is to use the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time.

Vitamin C

Knowing how much Vitamin C to take during your pregnancy is essential. Taking high doses of the vitamin can be dangerous. The US Food and Nutrition Board, part of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, recommends that pregnant women take no more than 80 milligrams of vitamin C daily. The recommended upper limit for vitamin C is 2,000 mg for women aged 19 and over and 1,800 mg for women younger than 19. Pregnant women should not exceed these amounts as it can cause fetal harm, congenital disabilities, and rickets.

In one study, supplementation with vitamin C during pregnancy did not reduce the risk of stillbirth or other pregnancy complications, such as perinatal death and preterm birth. However, it did reduce the risk of placental abruption and pre-labor rupture of membranes. However, further research is needed to determine if vitamin C can reduce the risk of these conditions or prevent them.