Side Effects of Taking Prenatal Vitamins Before Pregnancy
Taking prenatal vitamins may be suggested for women who are thinking of becoming pregnant. Prenatal vitamins are a specially formulated combination of vitamins and minerals essential for normal fetal development and the prevention of certain birth defects. As in the case of any medication, prenatal vitamins can cause side effects in some women whether taken before or during pregnancy.
Vitamins and Minerals in Prenatal Vitamins
During pregnancy, the daily requirement for certain vitamins and minerals increases. To meet this need, prenatal vitamins are formulated with higher levels of vitamins and minerals than levels found in multivitamins. For maternal health and proper fetal development, higher amounts of folic acid, iron and calcium are incorporated. You can find vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamins B6 and B12, niacin and vitamins C, D, E and K listed in prenatal vitamins. Prenatal vitamins supplement a woman’s daily requirement for potassium, magnesium and zinc.
- During pregnancy, the daily requirement for certain vitamins and minerals increases.
- For maternal health and proper fetal development, higher amounts of folic acid, iron and calcium are incorporated.
Can You Prevent White Hair Growth?
Your physician will recommend prenatal vitamins to provide the additional vitamins and minerals needed before conception, during pregnancy, and sometimes while breast-feeding. Many vitamins and minerals can cause serious side effects if taken in large doses. Never take more than the prescribed dose of a prenatal vitamin. Do not take any other multivitamin products within two hours before or after taking a prenatal vitamin. Vitamin overdose or serious side effects can result when similar vitamin products are taken together at the same time. Before taking prenatal vitamins, consult your physician.
- Your physician will recommend prenatal vitamins to provide the additional vitamins and minerals needed before conception, during pregnancy, and sometimes while breast-feeding.
- Before taking prenatal vitamins, consult your physician.
When taken as directed, prenatal vitamins do not cause serious side effects. Some women have an upset stomach after taking a prenatal vitamin, while others may experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The higher level of iron can lead to constipation or darkened or green-colored stools. An unusual or unpleasant taste in the mouth is another side effect. There is always the potential for an allergic reaction to prenatal vitamins. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue and throat. Seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing these signs of an allergic reaction.
- When taken as directed, prenatal vitamins do not cause serious side effects.
- Some women have an upset stomach after taking a prenatal vitamin, while others may experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Does Calcium Cause Headaches?
If you are experiencing nausea caused by taking a prenatal vitamin, try taking it with a snack or at night. Tips for coping with the side effects of constipation include drinking plenty of water and adding more fiber to your diet. Talk with your healthcare provider about using a stool softener and ask if increasing your daily physical activity is advisable.
Can You Prevent White Hair Growth?
Does Calcium Cause Headaches?
Vitamins for the Menstrual Cycle
Vitamins for an Overactive Bladder
Side Effects of Extra B-Complex Vitamins
Vitamins That Relieve Constipation
Important Vitamins for Fatigue
Foods and Vitamins to Help Heal Nerve Endings
Vitamins and Minerals for Fever Blisters
What Are Side Effects of Vitamin B12 Tablets?
- Drugs.com: Prenatal Vitamins
- American Pregnancy Association: Prenatal Vitamins: How Much is Too Much?
- Drugs.com: Prenatal Multivitamins Side Effects
- Albahrani AA, Greaves RF. Fat-Soluble Vitamins: Clinical Indications and Current Challenges for Chromatographic Measurement. Clin Biochem Rev. 2016;37(1):27–47.
- Selhub J, Paul L. Folic acid fortification: why not vitamin B12 also? Biofactors. 2011;37(4):269-71. doi:10.1002/biof.173
- Ebben M, Lequerica A, Spielman A. Effects of pyridoxine on dreaming: a preliminary study. Percept Mot Skills. 2002;94(1):135-40. doi:10.2466/pms.2002.94.1.135
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. ToxNet: Nicotinic acid. Updated November 28, 2018.
- Chambial S, Dwivedi S, Shukla KK, John PJ, Sharma P. Vitamin C in disease prevention and cure: an overview. Indian J Clin Biochem. 2013;28(4):314–328. doi:10.1007/s12291-013-0375-3
- Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington (DC): National Academies Press; 2000.
- Golan D, Staun-ram E, Glass-marmor L, et al. The influence of vitamin D supplementation on melatonin status in patients with multiple sclerosis. Brain Behav Immun. 2013;32:180-5. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2013.04.010
- Mason C, de Dieu Tapsoba J, Duggan C, Wang CY, Korde L, McTiernan A. Repletion of vitamin D associated with deterioration of sleep quality among postmenopausal women. Prev Med. 2016;93:166–170. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.09.035
- Rizvi S, Raza ST, Ahmed F, Ahmad A, Abbas S, Mahdi F. The role of vitamin E in human health and some diseases. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2014;14(2):e157–e165.
- DiNicolantonio JJ, Bhutani J, O'Keefe JH. The health benefits of vitamin K. Open Heart. 2015;2(1):e000300. doi:10.1136/openhrt-2015-000300
- NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age. Updated October 2018.
- Ross AC. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2011.
- Straub DA. Calcium supplementation in clinical practice: a review of forms, doses, and indications. Nutr Clin Pract. 2007;22(3):286-96. doi:10.1177/0115426507022003286
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. ToxNet: Calcium Compounds. Updated January 29, 2000.
- Gröber U, Schmidt J, Kisters K. Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients. 2015;7(9):8199–8226. doi:10.3390/nu7095388
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. DailyMed: Milk of Magnesia. Updated October 19, 2018.
- Kantor ED, Rehm CD, Du M, White E, Giovannucci EL. Trends in Dietary Supplement Use Among US Adults From 1999-2012. JAMA. 2016;316(14):1464–1474. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.14403
Maryann Gromisch is a registered nurse and a freelance writer. She has clinical experience in medical, surgical and critical care nursing. Since October 2009 she has written articles related to the digestive system for Empowher.com, a women's health online magazine. She has a bachelor's degree in nursing from Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven.