Do Prenatal Vitamins Have Any Side Effects?

When a woman gets pregnant, her body normally undergoes a lot of changes. It also requires certain vitamins and minerals, necessary for the development of the fetus in the uterus during the entire nine months of pregnancy. In most cases, OB-GYN, doctors, or midwives recommend taking prenatal vitamins before, during and after pregnancy. These prenatal vitamins are a combination of vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, etc. Are prenatal vitamins safe? Are there any side effects of prenatal vitamins?

Do Prenatal Vitamins Have Side Effects?

Yes, sometimes prenatal vitamins do have certain side effects.

Bowel Problems

Getting all the necessary nutrients during pregnancy is very important for the well-being of the pregnant women and the developing fetus. Getting enough iron during pregnancy is extremely important as it helps the body produce the necessary hemoglobin needed for the transportation of oxygen in the circulatory system. It also prevents anemia in pregnancy, one of the most common problems women deal during these nine months.

Prenatal vitamins among many minerals and vitamins contain iron too, sometimes in larger amounts than needed. One of the side effects related to iron is constipation, a common problem during pregnancy. However, in some cases, iron can lead to diarrhea instead of constipation. A darker color of the stool is also normal during the first few days or weeks after you start taking prenatal vitamins. Don’t panic if you notice a change in the color of your stool as it is something completely normal. If you notice any bowel problems related to prenatal vitamins consult with your health care provider.

Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting is a common problem in pregnancy, mostly occurring in the first trimester of pregnancy, early in the morning. However, in certain cases, nausea and vomiting can be related to prenatal vitamins and prenatal vitamins can make these symptoms get worse.

If you are nauseous or vomit immediately after taking your prenatal vitamins, your body is probably not benefiting from these vitamins. These symptoms can be minimized if you take your prenatal vitamins before going to bed or if you take them with a meal. If you have a hard time dealing with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and if you think that these symptoms are related to prenatal vitamins that you have been taking, consult with your health care provider.

Other Side Effects

Other possible side effects of prenatal vitamins include headaches, a change in urine color from bright yellow to greenish, a metallic taste in the mouth, etc.

  • Headaches are also common during pregnancy, but if you have severe headaches or if you suspect an overdose of prenatal vitamins, consult your health care provider immediately.
  • A change in urine color is a normal and harmless side effect of prenatal vitamins. However, if you have any concerns consult your health care provider.
  • A metallic taste in the mouth is another common side effect of prenatal vitamins which can be minimized or eliminated by consuming acidic things such as lemonade, oranges, etc.

Overdose Concerns

Taking too many prenatal vitamins can lead to serious side effects. Overdose symptoms with prenatal vitamins include a tingling sensation around the mouth, severe headache, stomach pain, presence of blood in the urine, backache, muscle pain, joint pain, etc. If you experience any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, seek immediate medical help.

More Questions About Prenatal Vitamins

After learning side effects of prenatal vitamins, here are more questions that you may have about prenatal vitamins. Check the answers here.

Why Are Prenatal Vitamins Necessary?

Prenatal vitamins are necessary during pregnancy in order to help your body grow a healthy baby and sustain the pregnancy. These prenatal vitamins contain all the necessary minerals and vitamins needed for this purpose. However, a good nutrition is also very important as well.

  • Folic acid is one of the necessary nutrients a pregnant woman needs in order to prevent neurological birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly.
  • Iron is another compound needed during pregnancy in order for your body to produce enough hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is known to help carry oxygen in the blood.
  • Calcium is another mineral very important for your body to grow a healthy baby as it helps develop bones, muscles, and teeth.
  • Vitamin D helps the body absorb the necessary amount of calcium.
  • Iodine which is normally included in prenatal vitamins is needed for proper development of your baby’s neurological system.

When Is the Right Time for Prenatal Vitamins?

The best thing to do is to start taking prenatal vitamins a couple of months before even trying to conceive. However, if this is not a planned pregnancy and you just found out that you are pregnant, start taking prenatal vitamins immediately. The sooner you start taking these vitamins, the better it will be for your own health and for the health of your baby.

How Should I Take Prenatal Vitamins?

Prenatal vitamins are available in various forms, as capsules, pills or as a liquid. Your doctor will determine which type of prenatal vitamin is recommended for you. Prenatal vitamins can be taken either once a day or a couple of times daily, always depending on the type of vitamins your doctor prescribed you. It is very important to take prenatal vitamins as your doctor prescribed them to you. Various side effects of prenatal vitamins occur when they are taken more than recommended.

Which Prenatal Vitamins Are the Ones I Need?

Which prenatal vitamins you will need to take during pregnancy is individual and mostly depends on the fact how well you tolerate these vitamins. You can either decide to take prenatal vitamins as capsules, pills or as a liquid.

Are Prenatal Vitamins a Must?

Prenatal vitamins are recommended for every pregnant woman. Taking prenatal vitamins regularly before, during and after pregnancy will make sure you and your baby are both healthy. Prenatal vitamins can prevent possible birth defects such as spina bifida or anencephaly which are related to folic acid intake.

However, some mothers choose not to take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. Remember that prenatal vitamins don’t do wonders and a proper nutrition is also very important for your overall health and proper development of your baby inside the uterus.