Early Pregnancy and Prenatal Vitamins

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If you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, you probably know that it is important for you to get plenty of folic acid. Folic acid helps to reduce brain and spinal defects in your baby, especially in early pregnancy. What you may not know is how important it is to take multivitamins, as well.

A study, recently published in the medical journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, noted the importance of taking multivitamins if trying to conceive or newly pregnant. Their research concluded that women who take multivitamins in early pregnancy reduced their child’s risk of developing certain brain tumors.

Researchers found that women taking multivitamins close to the time they conceived had babies who were less likely to develop medulloblastoma and primitive neuroectodermal brain tumors. Brain tumors are fairly rare in children, occurring in 1 in 20,000 kids under the age of six. Medulloblastoma is the second most common brain tumor in children.

The study at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia compared 315 children with brain tumors to 315 randomly chosen healthy children. Researchers called each mother and asked if they had been taking multivitamins before or after conception. The findings were slightly significant , yet they were comparable to a study conducted in 1993 by a different group.

Interestingly, taking a multivitamin during the later stages of pregnancy did not significantly reduce the infant’s risk of developing brain tumors. This makes it all too clear that if you are trying to get pregnant, you should begin taking your multivitamins right away. Then continue with the approval of your physician at least through the early stages of your pregnancy.

Women are strongly urged to choose a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid. Reproductive women should eat healthy foods with plenty of vitamins and folic acid.

When choosing your vitamin, check its vitamin A content. Never take more than 770 micrograms of Vitamin A. Too much can cause birth defects in babies.

You should also look on the label for the letters USP. This means the vitamin has been evaluated and meets certain criteria by the U.S. Pharmacopeia Organization. Vitamins with a USP stamp have certain standardized levels of purity, safety, quality and content.

Your OB/GYN will help you choose a pre-natal vitamin before you even get pregnant. So good luck if you are trying to conceive, and take that multivitamin for both you and your baby!

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