When you're expecting you do as much as you can to ensure the health and well-being of your baby, and for most of us that includes taking extra pregnancy vitamin supplements. But there's a new report just been released claiming that pregnancy multivitamins are an "unnecessary expense" and don't improve the health of either mother or baby.
That isn't to say that pregnant women shouldn't take any supplements, but the experts concluded that pregnant women should focus on taking the single vitamins recommended by the NHS.
The new research was done by a large panel of experts who investigates the evidence on folic acid, vitamin D, iron, vitamins C, E, A and multivitamins in pregnancy.
They published their findings in the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, and they found good evidence for the use of folic acid to reduce the risk of spina bifida, evidence for the use of vitamin D - which is important for the ability to absorb calcium, and for bone and tooth formation. But they found "no evidence" that women should take pregnancy multivitamins, which often contain 20 or more vitamins and minerals.
The report said that pregnant women are subject to "heavy marketing" of multivitamins, but much of the evidence comes from studies carried out "in low-income countries, where women are more likely to be undernourished or malnourished than within the UK population".
For most women who are planning to become pregnant or who are pregnant, complex multivitamin and mineral preparations promoted for use during pregnancy are unlikely to be needed and are an unnecessary expense.
Pregnant women may be vulnerable to messages about giving their baby the best start in life, regardless of cost, and be unaware that the only supplements recommended for all women during pregnancy are folic acid and vitamin D, which are available at relatively low cost.
– DRUG AND THERAPEUTICS BULLETIN
Does this new report affect your opinions on pregnancy multivitamins, or would you still continue to buy and take them?
If you want any advice on nutrition and healthy eating during pregnancy you can find information on the NHS website here, or consult your midwife or health visitor.