A recent study claims taking pre-conception vitamins can be dangerous, despite current guidance, but what's the truth?
If you're planning on getting pregnant, or just discovered you're expecting, you may reach for a multivitamin to make sure you're getting all the nutrients needed for a healthy baby, including folic acid and vitamin D.
But a study of 35,000 mums-to-be, has claimed that taking a multivitamin supplement in the six weeks before before you conceive could increase the risk of having a miscarriage by 32%. The researchers from the Universities of Southern Denmark, Aarhus and Pittsburgh in the US, identified multivitamins that contained folic acid as producing the biggest risk, while those who took just a folate supplement or a regular multivitamin on its own as being safe.
It's caused confusion and worry for many mums-to-be as current NHS guidance recommends taking a supplement of 400 micrograms of folic acid before you start trying to get pregnant, which is often presented in a pregnancy multivitamin format. This is to reduce the risk of your baby being born with a neutral tube defect such as spin bifid a, which can affect the growth of your baby's brain and spinal cord.
So what should you do?
Despite their findings, the authors do concede that further studies are needed and you should still follow guidelines recommended by your doctor or midwife.
GP Dr Phillippa Kaye agrees, saying, 'I think it's important not to panic here. The study should not be interpreted as a reason to go against current advice for folate supplementation.
'The researchers have tried to rule out some other factors such as obesity but that doesn't mean that they've confirmed that supplements are the real cause for increased miscarriage risk.
"I think it's important not to panic here. The study should not be interpreted as a reason to go against current advice for folate supplementation"
'There have been no changes to the UK guidelines and there clearly needs to be further investigation before we can say anything concrete about not taking certain supplements in pregnancy.
But that doesn't mean you should take any vitamin in pregnancy. 'The current guidance is to take 400mcg of folic acid before you start trying to conceive and continue for the first three months of pregnancy, as well as 10 micrograms of vitamin D during pregnancy. You can take these separately and not in a multivitamin if required. It's not recommended that you take multivitamins that are not for pregnancy or combine multivitamins due to the risks to your baby related to excessive vitamin A,' adds Dr Kaye.
Do you rely on supplements for your pregnancy hit? Let us know in the comment box below.