New Study Suggests Prenatal Vitamins Are Not Worth the Money

For years, pregnant women have been advised to take prenatal vitamins in order to ensure proper growth and nutrition of the fetus.

However, a recent report by the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin says that prenatal vitamins are an unnecessary expense and are not as effective as doctors have made them seem.  

The report found there was no clear evidence of vitamins C or E preventing complications such as stillbirth, low birth weight, preterm birth or pre-eclampsia. Additionally, the report stated  certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A and iron, could actually be harmful to a pregnancy.

Health Talk spoke with Carrie Terrell, M.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at the University of Minnesota.

“The primary purpose of prenatal vitamins is to provide folate, which prevents certain birth defects and supplements a woman’s diet,” said Terrell.

Terrell explained that prenatal vitamins can provide iron supplementation, vitamin D supplementation and DHA, which may improve outcomes in certain cases.

Although the report found that the expensive vitamins, sometimes costing more than $30 per bottle, were unnecessary, Terrell said she still recommends that some pregnant women take them.

“My recommendations vary depending on the mother’s health, diet, and any pre-existing or developing complications.” Explained Terrell.

It is recommended that pregnant women talk to their doctor about prenatal vitamins, as the importance varies depending on a woman’s health, her diet, and any conditions her fetus may have.