What are Common Effects of Prenatal Vitamins?

Pregnant women often take prenatal vitamins in order to sustain a healthy pregnancy, but there are often as many effects on their own bodies as their unborn babies'. There are both good and bad effects of prenatal vitamins. Some of the beneficial effects include increased fertility in women hoping to become pregnant, enhanced energy, healthy growth of hair and nails, and of course a healthy unborn baby. On the other hand, some women experience side effects that are bothersome, ranging from nausea and vomiting to constipation and headaches. If negative effects are observed, it is important to talk to a doctor for help in finding a prenatal vitamin that does not cause these issues.

The main point of prenatal vitamins is to ensure that the unborn baby develops properly, as ingredients like folic acid can decrease the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. Additionally, calcium is important for the bones to grow, while iron ensures that oxygen is properly carried from the lungs to the cells in the tissue. While these benefits are especially crucial for the developing fetus, they are also usually helpful for women trying to conceive since proper vitamins can make the uterus a hospitable place for an embryo, and also reduce the risk of birth defects even before conception. For these reasons, taking prenatal vitamins both before and during pregnancy is recommended.


In fact, the positive effects of prenatal vitamins extend to the pregnant woman as well as the fetus. For example, the extra calcium ensures that the fetus will not take the calcium in its mother's bones in order to grow. Iron is also helpful in keeping anemia at bay, which can sap energy quickly. Additionally, the vitamin B complex that some prenatal pills contain can help improve the growth of hair and nails, and may even help clear up skin. Therefore, pregnant women can look forward to some beneficial effects of taking prenatal vitamins.

Unfortunately, some women experience side effects of this kind of pill that discourage them from continuing to take it. Some of the most common negative effects of prenatal vitamins include nausea and vomiting, constipation, indigestion, diarrhea, headaches, and insomnia. Excess gas, urine discoloration, fatigue, and muscular aches have also been reported as side effects of some prenatal pills. When such effects are felt, doctors usually recommend a different vitamin, or even another form, such as chewable or liquid prenatal supplements. If negative effects of prenatal vitamins are still felt, some doctors may suggest increasing intake of certain foods to get the correct nutrients, instead.


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Discuss this Article

Post 3

Heavanet and Talentryto, I have heard that the liquid prenatal vitamins are easier on the stomach than the type you have to swallow.

Post 2

In addition to adjusting their diets like the article says, some women find that taking their prenatal vitamins after they have eaten some food helps to ease the side effects. Taking them on an empty stomach can certainly be irritating and make the negative effects worse.

Post 1

Some women find the side effects of taking prenatal vitamins, such as upset stomach or nausea, to be very troubling. On top of being nauseous from the pregnancy, they often find that the vitamins compound these unpleasant symptoms. However, it is important that they do not stop taking them. Does anyone have thoughts about the best way to avoid these unpleasant side effects?

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