Vitamins and mineral supplements that may cause problems
Vitamin A, also called retinol, helps to maintain your skin and vision. When you’re pregnant, though, taking vitamin A supplements can cause birth defects. Because of this, it is important to avoid taking any supplements or multivitamins other than your prenatal vitamin, that contain extra vitamin A.
Iodine is a very important nutrient during pregnancy. It is essential for the proper development of the fetus. However, when taken in excess it can affect thyroid function. Iodine overdose may cause hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Too much iodine may also affect the neurodevelopment of the child.
Herbal supplements to avoid during pregnancy
You should always clear it with your obstetrician before taking any supplements while pregnant.
Following is a list of supplements you should avoid when pregnant. Remember, this list is not exhaustive! It is important to always consult your doctor before taking a supplement, especially when pregnant.
- Juniper can have negative effects on your pregnancy.
- Saw palmetto is not safe to use throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. It can also interfere with your hormones.
- Yarrow may cause miscarriage.
- Licorice can affect fetal health.
- Boldo can harm the fetus and organs.
- Ephedra has been labeled as having an unreasonable risk by the FDA.
- Goldenseal can reach the fetus through the placenta, worsen jaundice, and lead to a life-threatening condition.
- Blue and black cohosh have been known to induce labor.
- Dong quai may be unsafe, as it may affect the uterus muscles.
- Pennyroyal can cause miscarriage and has also caused organ failure.
- Shepherd’s purse can also cause miscarriage.
- Passionflower can induce labor and uterine contractions.
- Red clover can interfere with your hormones when pregnant.
- Yohimbe can cause seizures and heart attacks.
Alternative treatments and drugs
Be cautious of any drugs that you might take when pregnant. Drugs include suppositories, medicines, tablets, oils, inhalants, and ointments. Anything you take may be passed to the baby through the placenta. Medicines have the possibility of causing a birth defect, or congenital malformation. They can impact the baby’s development. Medications can also have a negative impact during labor.
Also make sure to speak to your doctor before using any alternative treatments such as aromatherapy, homeopathic remedies, or massage oils.
Foods and beverages to avoid
Now you know the dangers of taking these vitamins and supplements directly. It is just as important to become aware of foods and beverages high in the same vitamins and other substances that can harm your baby. Among things to avoid while pregnant are foods high in vitamin A:
- Livers and liver products such as paté
- Fish liver oils such as cod liver oil
- Foods that are supplemented or fortified with vitamin A
Foods with vitamin A such as carrots are safe to eat while pregnant.
You will also want to avoid fish that contains high amounts of mercury. While oily fish is beneficial to you and to the baby’s development, it is not recommended you eat more than 2 portions per week. Many oily fish contain high amounts of mercury, which could harm your baby’s nervous system. These include:
- King mackerel
- Bigeye tuna
- Tilefish (Gulf of Mexico)
- Orange roughy
Don't overdo green and herbal teas. It is recommended you limit yourself to 4 cups of herbal or green tea per day. Some herbal teas may be harmful. There are not enough studies made to know if a large amount can be harmful to the baby, and caution is recommended. Check with your doctor first.
It is important to talk to your healthcare provider if you are in doubt about the safety of any supplement or food.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
AJP Reports: "Severe Hyponatremia Associated with Use of Black Cohosh during Prolonged Labor and Unsuccessful Home Birth"
Birth Defects Research (Part B): "Preliminary Screening Study of Reproductive Outcomes After Exposure to Yarrow in the Pregnant Rat"
BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies: "Safety classification of herbal medicines used in pregnancy in a multinational study"
Complementary Therapies in Medicine: "Pregnancy outcomes in psychiatric patients treated with passiflora incarnata"
European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology: "Influence of mineral and vitamin supplements on pregnancy outcome"
Experimental Biology and Medicine: "Estrogen and Progestin Bioactivity of Foods, Herbs, and Spices"
Federal Register: "Final Rule Declaring Dietary Supplements Containing Ephedrine Alkaloids Adulterated Because They Present an Unreasonable Risk"
JAMA: "Pennyroyal oil poisoning and hepatotoxicity"
MedicinePlus: "Dong Quai"
Medscape: "FDA Updates Advice on Eating Fish for Pregnant Women, Children"
nct: "Drugs and prescriptions in pregnancy," "Which vitamins to take during pregnancy"
NIH: "Goldenseal," "Yohimbe"
Nutrition Reviews: "Safety and efficacy of supplements in pregnancy"
RBGO Gynecology and Obstetrics: "Use of Medicinal Plants with Teratogenic and Abortive Effects by Pregnant Women in a City in Northeastern Brazil"
Tommy's: "Foods to avoid in pregnancy"
WMW: "Health risks over the Internet: advice offered by "medical herbalists" to a pregnant woman"
Top Vitamins and Supplements Avoid During Pregnancy Related Articles
Am I Pregnant QuizWhat are early pregnancy symptoms? In some women, symptoms range from a missed period to feeling lightheaded. Others may experience typical "morning sickness" and food cravings. Could you be pregnant? Take the quiz!
What Foods Should Be Avoided During the First Trimester of Pregnancy?The first trimester is the first 3 months of your pregnancy. Foods to avoid during the third trimester of pregnancy include raw or undercooked seafood; seafood containing mercury; raw or undercooked eggs; unpasteurized milk or other dairy products; raw sprouts and unwashed vegetables and fruits.
Pregnancy (Week by Week, Trimesters)Signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary by stage (trimester). The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but others include breast swelling and tenderness, nausea and sometimes vomiting, fatigue, and bloating. Second trimester symptoms include backache, weight gain, itching, and possible stretch marks. Third trimester symptoms are additional weight gain, heartburn, hemorrhoids, swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face, breast tenderness, and trouble sleeping. Eating a healthy diet, getting a moderate amount of exercise, also are recommended for a healthy pregnancy. Information about the week by week growth of your baby in the womb are provided.
Pregnancy Myths and Facts QuizBeing pregnant is a delicate time for both mother and baby. Take this pregnancy myths and facts quiz to separate the myths and facts about being pregnant, and learn the truth behind healthy pregnancies!
Pregnancy Planning (Tips)Pregnancy planning is an important step in preparation for starting or expanding a family. Planning for a pregnancy includes taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy for you and your baby, disease prevention (for both parents and baby) to prevent birth defects and infections, avoiding certain medications that may be harmful to your baby, how much weight gain is healthy exercise safety and pregnancy, travel during pregnancy.
Pregnancy: Prenatal Care and TestsPrenatal care is important for the health of both mother and baby. Common prenatal tests include ultrasound, amniocentesis, screening for group B strep and chronic villus sampling. Prenatal care also helps detect health conditions related to pregnancy, such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
Pregnancy Diet (Menu Plans)When a woman is pregnant, she needs more vitamins, minerals, and other foods in her diet to stay healthy and deliver a healthy baby. A healthy pregnancy diet menu plan should consist of lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats (unless you are vegan or vegetarian), and dairy. Examples of healthy pregnancy diet meal plans include holistic pregnancy diet, vegan or vegetarian diet, and low-carb diets. Begin your healthy eating plan around three months before you begin trying to conceive, and follow the same eating plan until after you have stopped breastfeeding. If you are overweight or obese, being pregnant is not the right time to try to lose weight. Discuss your options with your health care professional.
What Foods Should I Eat During My First Trimester of Pregnancy?What to know about diet during the first trimester. Learn more about how to protect and fuel your body and baby during this exciting time.
Stages of PregnancySee pictures on the various stages of pregnancy. See and learn what changes a woman's body goes through and view fetal images of how her baby grows during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
What Vitamins and Supplements Should I Take During Pregnancy?Even if you eat a variety of nutritious foods, you may need to take pregnancy vitamins and supplements. This is especially true if you have a restricted diet, are pregnant with twins or multiples, have food allergies, or nutrient deficiencies. Talk to your doctor about your needs.
Pregnant? Don't Eat ThisDo you know which common foods may be risky during pregnancy? Learn which foods to avoid, while pregnant, such as queso dip, lunch meat, coffee and more.