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Experts Corner

Nutrition

Prenatal Vitamins
By Mediconsult's Nutrition Services

Q. Do I need to take prenatal vitamins?

A. Pregnancy and lactation will increase a woman's need for many vitamins and minerals. The most important thing for women who are preparing for pregnancy or between pregnancies to do is eat a well-selected diet with a rich supply of fruit, vegetables, calcium-rich food and adequate sources of zinc and iron. During pregnancy, a prenatal vitamin-mineral supplement is usually prescribed by the doctor.

If you are already taking vitamin or mineral supplements be sure to discuss this right away with your physician as too much can be harmful. For example, excess intake of vitamin A has been shown to increase the risks of certain birth defects. All other dietary supplements should be discontinued, unless approved by your obstetrician.

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