Prenatals: Yea or Nay? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 38 Old 07-22-2014, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Question Prenatals: Yea or Nay?

Ok a little background to help all you mamas understand a little bit of my reasons for inquiring. When I got pregnant with my first I started taking a prenatal but I was not consistent with it at all. After a few weeks of inconsistancy I just stopped all together. We are vegan and I truly believed (still do) that everything we need we can get from our foods. I also have never had morning sickness (don't be too envious see my posts in the symptoms thread to see what I do get instead) so I didn't have to worry about being depleted of vitamins and nutrients. I also had blood tests fairly often to make sure all was well with iron and B vitamins etc... Everything went great that pregnancy so with my following 2 pregnancies I didn't take a prenatal either. Then last June 2013 I got pregnant when my youngest was 15 months and still nursing. Because I was nursing and it was my 4th pregnancy I figured my body could use a boost and so I got a raw vegan prenatal and started taking it. That pregnancy ended as an M/C. So now as crazy as it sounds I am terrified of taking a prenatal. Then last night I was checking with Dr.Google about links between m/c's and prenatals and I found quite a bit of studies linking prenatals, especially high iron ones to misscarriages . What do you mamas think? What prenatals are you taking, if any? Thanks for all your thoughts! I am definitely going to be discussing this with my midwives but my first appointment isn't until I am 10 weeks!

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#2 of 38 Old 07-22-2014, 04:34 PM
 
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What a great topic!

I took prenatals with my first, but couldn't stomach them my entire pregnancies with 2 & 3. We eat a very well-rounded organic, fresh diet (low carb, lots of fermented foods, grass-fed meats, our own chicken eggs etc) and my vitamin levels have always been great on blood work (except for Vitamin D at times). Oh, and we cook with cast iron, which supposedly keeps your iron levels high (has worked for me). We are currently eating a diet based (loosely) on Weston A Price and I just don't think I am going to get anything extra from prenatals. Weston A Price even discourages prenatals on this diet because you run the risk of getting too much synthetic vitamin A (we take cod liver oil, a natural source of vitamin A & D).

So, this go-around I don't think I am even going to pretend to take them. However, this pregnancy is very close to my last one and I am cautiously hopeful I have enough reserves and stores built up to sustain a healthy pregnancy without detriments to the baby or my energy levels. So far, this has been the easiest beginning-of-pregnancy yet, so hopeful we are on the right track.

I have a bottle of Honest Company's prenatals in my cupboard leftover, so I can always go back to it if I feel like I am needing some additional supplementation.

What other supplements are people taking? (I am taking cod liver oil and BioKult probiotics).
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#3 of 38 Old 07-22-2014, 04:42 PM
 
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I didn't take them with my last pregnancy and I suffered from depression for a good half of it. I am NOT generally prone to depression at all--I'm sunny and optimistic. I have been noticing that depression shadow once again and decided to look into it; it would appear that DHA supplementation helps. I am not vegetarian (was "vegan until six" with my last pregnancy and vegetarian for my first) but am no longer. I read that DHA levels are depleted with subsequent pregnancies and that the Western diet (low in organ meats and fatty fish) leaves you further at risk. Soooo, yes, I'm supplementing this time. I have an egg white allergy and don't think I can look any organ meats in the eye for the time being. Fatty fish is great, but I can't afford to eat the sustainable varieties I prefer all of the time! I took my prenatals for the first time today and must say I am feeling markedly better.

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#4 of 38 Old 07-22-2014, 05:25 PM
 
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So I spent a while reading up on this, and while I found lots of hearsay on the internet I didn't find any links to studies with actual conclusive information. If anyone comes across one (the study itself, not just something talking about one) let me know, I'd love to read it.

With my daughter, I took prenatals without iron because the iron made me puke, and slow FE in later trimesters because I was SO TIRED and it helped.
With my second pregnancy I didn't know I was pregnant until pretty late, took no prenatals at all, and had a miscarriage at 8 weeks.
With my third I was pretty inconsistent with taking my prenatals but they did have iron in them, and had a miscarriage at 12 weeks.
With this pregnancy I was taking them before conception, and have continued to be pretty bad at remembering to take them... so we'll see!
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#5 of 38 Old 07-22-2014, 08:26 PM
 
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So, I went onto PubMed & found a few articles.

One in particular, in the American Journal of Epidemiology is titled, Self-reported Vitamin Supplementation in Early Pregnancy and Risk of Miscarriage (2009). I downloaded the PDF, if anyone would like me to email it. Basically, the study concludes that prenatal vitamin use (self-reported) was associated with a DECREASED risk of m/c. One fault I see right away is that 95% of the study participants reported using vitamins in early pregnancy. I'm not sure that a solid conclusion can be drawn from such a small percentage of non-users. Although the entire study was large (>4k participants), so the actual number of women is decent. Also, they cannot exclude other factors, such as the fact that vitamin use is presumably associated with other health-conscious behaviors, and (present company excluded) non-vitamin use may be associated with lack of concern for healthy habits. Also, they used self-report, so it is likely that vitamin use was over-reported. That's just what I got from reading the abstract. I have the full-text, though, if anyone would like it.

Just to clarify, lest I offend anyone: Of course, I'm talking about mainstream, general public here. Obviously, all the moms on this board are health-conscious, evidenced by the fact that we're on here talking about this, and I am certainly not implying otherwise. I do not judge anyone for ANY conscientiously-made decisions.


I also found one article linking prenatal folic acid supplementation with infant Bronchitis in the same Journal. And one other linking low prenatal folate and B6 levels (measured by plasma) to m/c. That one was looking at China, and was published in the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (2002). I found one longitudinal study (4 years postnatal) of randomized DHA supplementation, which concluded that there is NO evidence that DHA supplementation increased any measurable factors (cognition, &etc.) (2014). Finally, I found one study suggesting that prenatal vitamin use (2nd trimester) may reduce risk of autistic behaviors at 4-5 years.

That was about all PubMed had to offer on the topic, except for a few 3rd-world studies, and I'm assuming those probably don't apply. I also found two studies suggesting NSAID use in early pregnancy is NOT linked to m/c, and another that modified that conclusion to say that race is a factor, and caucasians are more susceptible to NSAID effects.

When I have more time (haha), I'd like to look into the benefits of natural nutrients (that is, actual foods) versus supplements, and lab-created supplements vs. natural/organic ones. I wonder if there's any published data about it.

I can get most of the articles through UF, so let me know if you want to read any for yourself.

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#6 of 38 Old 07-22-2014, 08:39 PM
 
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With my two other kiddos I started taking the prenatals like a good little girl...and eventually just got lazy/forgot whatever. I have an iron deficiency when pregnant so I was also on an iron supplement. No issues or problems with either.
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#7 of 38 Old 07-23-2014, 08:16 AM
 
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Because of my condition I am taking A LOT of vitamins, including prenatals. So far so good.

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#8 of 38 Old 07-23-2014, 08:38 AM
 
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I take them. I have been for over a year. No side effects luckily for me.

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#9 of 38 Old 07-23-2014, 09:25 AM
 
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Dang I typed up a whole response and lost it so the short and sweet of it was that yes I am taking prenatal vitamins (rainbow lights), and will continue as I know at times my diet is quite lacking. I too have a history of miscarriage, but I don't think there is a link to prenatal vitamins. My pregnancy with my DD I did NOT take prenatals, but this time I feel like the vitamins are more nourishing to me as I am still breastfeeding my almost 3 year old and pregnancy can be quite depleting to mama.

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#10 of 38 Old 07-24-2014, 05:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You all are wonderful! I knew I would get thoughtful and kind responses
@MamaO nflora : Soumds like we have similar experiences Thank you for sharing! The only thing I am taking is flax seed oil.. and green smoothies if they count lol!
@Rosemarino : I am glad you are feeling better! With my third pregnancy I had depression near the very end as well. It was so awful because you feel depressed and then you feel quilty for feeling depressed because its bad for baby. I am taking flax seed oil which is used as a vegan DHA supplement and so gar so good.
@MakeItSew : Im so sorry for your loses mama It can be so hard to enjoy a current pregnancy after a loss but thank you for sharing your experiences. I hope we both get our rainbow babies!
@Yali na : Thank you for doing that research! Thats great that you have access to all that info! If you come across anything else please post it as well! And no offence taken at all... I appreciate that you took the time to look into that... it will help put my mind at ease
@SummerL , viddy & plainjane : Thats great that all is going well! I appreciate and value others experiences a lot so thank you for sharing
@Lexi drew: I am sorry for your previous losses. I agree that nursing and being pregnant at the same time can be depleting. Thank you for sharing your experience as well!

I think I will wait until I have an ultrasound in about 2 weeks and get some blood work done and then I will start taking some. So far I feel great (except for needing an afternoon nap) so I will continue to listen to my body but once I see a heartbeat I think I may start taking some. Thanks again mamas! Glad we can share this journey together!
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#11 of 38 Old 07-24-2014, 06:57 AM
 
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@Yaliina , thank you so much. I love having research-based information that I don't have to dig up myself.
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#12 of 38 Old 07-24-2014, 06:59 AM
 
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I've been taking the vitamins and the DHA for the last 3 days. Could be something else but my depression is gone and my nausea is low/negligible. Now I don't want to directly correlate them because something else could be going on, but I'd like to think that this is what is helping. I have another u/s tomorrow afternoon so I'll find out if everything is ok then.

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#13 of 38 Old 07-24-2014, 07:46 AM
 
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If you're getting enough vitamins from food, too much can definitely cause problems, and I do think that the isolated vitamins (even if they're not artificial, we're meant to get vitamins in a whole package with our food, imo) is worse than getting too much from food, although that can be a problem as well.

Too much iron can be really bad for you. Vitamin C also can, apparently, cause miscarriages so if you get a lot of vitamin c in your diet then the prenatal may push you over the edge.

I've seen doctors warn about little kids taking multi-vitamins because getting over your RDA limit can cause problems, it's kind of funny that they push multi-vitamins so hard on adults without the same warning.

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#14 of 38 Old 07-24-2014, 10:23 AM
 
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Right now I'm only taking folic acid. Once I start seeing my midwife and get some blood work done I'll see about adding anything else. Or if I end up unable to eat well due to nausea.
From what I've read a multi is unnecessary for most people and since too many of some vitamins is linked to increased risk of disease I feel more comfortable avoiding one for now.
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#15 of 38 Old 07-30-2014, 10:59 AM
 
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When I was pregnant with my son, I took the Rainbow Light prenatal vitamins the whole time. When I got my lab results back in the first trimester, we found that I was super low in vitamin d. I starting taking a huge dose of vitamin d, as midwife prescribed, and just 5 months later my levels were up to an ideal level. That alone made me think that vitamins do help our bodies, especially in this time where soil quality is so low (we aren't getting as many micro-nutrients from the foods we eat).
I haven't stopped taking the prenatal since my son's pregnancy, so I'm still taking it now. The Rainbow Light kind is very gentle on my stomach, which I like. I also take probiotics and extra magnesium. The magnesium has been awesome for the nausea and it's also helped any headaches or tension that comes on.
So, for me, it's a supplemental yea! Every body is different though. <3
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#16 of 38 Old 07-30-2014, 02:18 PM
 
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@Morgan Harrigan , I take Rainbow Light, too. I like them. I think because it's summer and I'm out a lot, vitamin D won't be a problem. But maybe later on! I do supplement in the winter. I took magnesium for a couple of days but had bathroom problems.

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#17 of 38 Old 07-30-2014, 07:42 PM
 
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I've been taking the Rainbow Light Prenatal One... Took something similar with my first, midwife advised. We do eat pretty clean here, but with wacky cravings I can have bad days.

Over the RDA consistently can cause problems, but mostly with the fat soluble vitamins ADEK... I've never heard of the vitamin c overuse related to miscarriage... Do you have a source? I'd like to read.
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#18 of 38 Old 07-31-2014, 01:55 PM
 
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I've heard the vitamin c thing, too, but my "source" is the internet.

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#19 of 38 Old 08-01-2014, 07:18 AM
 
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With the first pregnancy, I did prenatals for half the pregnancy (prescription) which made me sick. I then changed to rainbow light. They were better on the stomach, but really hard to swallow. swallowing them tends to make me sick.

My second pregnancy I did the same with the rainbow lights.


Third pregnancy, I just did the gummy vitamins.

This pregnancy, I was drinking Shakeology. i am continuing that, and just adding more dark greens, broccoli, lentils for extra folate. It seems better - as lightly steaming or raw makes the folate more bioavailable.
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#20 of 38 Old 08-01-2014, 07:20 AM
 
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The rainbow light are like horse pills. But yes, they are the only ones that help me feel ok.

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#21 of 38 Old 08-01-2014, 06:28 PM
 
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You ladies made me think about this, as I'd never questioned it before, but I've decided to keep taking the Rainbow until I either run out or decide to switch to the New Chapter Perfect Prenatals, which is what I took with DS2. We are neither vegetarian nor super-uber-healthy with our eating. We like food, and fix most of it ourselves, but we do order out more than I'd like, especially while I'm in class. Our garden was going pretty great, but a our zucchini & squash that were producing died suddenly, so I think that might not last too much longer, other than the peppers, which are doing really well. I feel better knowing that I'm really getting all the bases covered every day. I'm loving this discussion!

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#22 of 38 Old 08-01-2014, 07:41 PM
 
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What is Shakeology?

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#23 of 38 Old 08-01-2014, 08:12 PM
 
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Right now, I'm just taking shaklee multi vitamins and b's and d's- I was doing that before so I'm sticking with it. They give me some pretty great energy. Pretty soon, I'll start taking some floradix- more so as an iron supplement- I get super anemic in the second trimester and onward.

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#24 of 38 Old 08-05-2014, 06:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FruitOfTheWomb7 View Post
I am definitely going to be discussing this with my midwives but my first appointment isn't until I am 10 weeks!
Hey-- I have been thinking of you & this discussion. Have you had your appointment yet? The vitamin thing is on my mind. I was vegan for 12 years. Knowing now what I did then I wonder if I would have been able to continue being vegan if I'd been more careful about taking B12. I was always like, eh, I eat enough nutritional yeast... But I wonder if I would have started feeling so awful if I was taking B12 supplements (after I started feeling bad I began expanding my diet). Every body is different but I've been worrying about you from afar, hoping you are feeling well!

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#25 of 38 Old 08-06-2014, 10:11 AM
 
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(Lurking from the February 15 DDC)

On the vitamin C thing, my understanding is that the big issue is taking a high dose and then stopping it suddenly, it can cause "rebound scurvy" where you basically induce scurvy symptoms. It can happen in the baby if you're taking a ton of it while pregnant, then if you stop after it's born, it can have scurvy-like symptoms from the withdrawal. I'm not sure how much would get passed on into breast milk even if you continued supplementing after birth. Also, always make sure you're taking a food-based C and not plain ascorbic acid.
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#26 of 38 Old 08-06-2014, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teamviddy View Post
Hey-- I have been thinking of you & this discussion. Have you had your appointment yet? The vitamin thing is on my mind. I was vegan for 12 years. Knowing now what I did then I wonder if I would have been able to continue being vegan if I'd been more careful about taking B12. I was always like, eh, I eat enough nutritional yeast... But I wonder if I would have started feeling so awful if I was taking B12 supplements (after I started feeling bad I began expanding my diet). Every body is different but I've been worrying about you from afar, hoping you are feeling well!
Thats so nice of you to have been thinking of me! We have had family from overseas here for the last 3 weeks so things have been super hectic. I can't wait until things settle down so I can get back on MDC and read all the posts I have missed! I am doing well so far! My appointment is on the 22nd. I am scheduled for an ultrasound next Tuesday! I am really looking forward to that and I hope that they will do some blood tests soon! I definitely think that I will start taking a B12 supplement this pregnancy. That's so neat that you were vegan for 12 years! We have been vegan since October 2006 and so far so good! How have you been doing pregnancy wise? I hope all is going well with you and little Chip)).
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#27 of 38 Old 08-10-2014, 04:07 PM
 
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I am so glad you ladies are talking about this! I've been debating whether or not to start taking prenatals -- right now I'm taking 800 mcg of Solgar folate (more absorbable than folic acid, btw), and I usually take a tbsp of Nordic Naturals cod liver oil a day but I'm out right now. I've been feeling a little irresponsible for not taking them, but something just doesn't seem right about hyperdosing on so many different vitamins. If I did take one, it would probably be the New Chapter since its non-GMO, organic and food-based.

This is my first pregnancy, so I don't really know what to expect. I have my first midwife appt in a week (we're going with a homebirth, yay!) -- will they test me for all the really important nutrients and tell me what, if anything, I'm deficient in? And in the case could I just try to increase my levels of those nutrients rather than take a huge multi?

I've also been taking red raspberry leaf and nettle tea every day -- this not only helps tone the uterus, but also contains a lot of iron, calcium, magnesium, etc. So I hope I'm covering my bases for the time being!

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#28 of 38 Old 08-10-2014, 05:22 PM
 
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Every midwife is different, @chickweed . I've been to some who tested just like a physician's office, and other who left it completely up to you to pick and choose which tests you think are important. If it's a homebirth midwife, it will also depend on how your insurance covers that. Our direct entry midwife had to charge us the lab fees for each test we did, and I don't think our insurance covered that. So, we just went to a regular OB for testing.

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#29 of 38 Old 08-10-2014, 05:50 PM
 
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Today I forgot to take my prenatals and for the first time since I started taking them I have not felt nauseous or had stomach pain. I'm thinking it's the vitamins. I read up on the kind I am taking and it seems like they can provoke nausea even in people who aren't pregnant. I wonder.

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#30 of 38 Old 08-10-2014, 06:05 PM
 
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Did you say you're taking Rainbow Light? Those killed me even before I was pregnant. There is just so much iron at once, plus I think the digestive enzymes threw my gut for a loop. If you want to switch to another food-based vitamin, I'm still having great luck with New Chapter's Perfect Prenatal. Less iron, and spread out between three doses.
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