Couples in the childbearing age who are contemplating pregnancy should keep this in mind: although consuming too much caffeinated drinks increases the risk of miscarriage, experts said taking multivitamins early on can reduce the miscarriage risk significantly.
In an intensive study that involved 344 couples, researchers found that women who took multivitamins before conception were 55 percent less likely to miscarry. Those who continued to take multivitamins during early pregnancy had 79 percent reduced risk, according to lead researcher Germaine Buck Louis.
"We were really surprised at how strong the reduction in risk was," said Buck Louis, who is the director of the Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. "We think this is really good news. We know that vitamins protect against a lot of other adverse pregnancy outcomes."
The Benefits Of Prenatal Multivitamins
It is recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that women who plan to become pregnant take multivitamins for better health. The CDC also recommends women to avoid tobacco smoke and too much alcohol consumption.
But not all multivitamins are safe, the CDC said, so soon-to-be moms must consult doctors for a specially formulated prenatal vitamin.
The Mayo Clinic said taking folic acid - a type of vitamin B - helps prevent neural tube defects, which are abnormalities of the spinal cord and brain that can occur during the first month of gestation. Taking prenatal vitamins that are rich in iron supports fetal growth and development, and helps reduce the risk for anemia.
Vitamin D and calcium are important as well, especially during the third trimester. At this point, the baby's bones start to rapidly grow and become stronger. These two nutrients depend on each other: vitamin D regulates the levels of calcium and phosphate in the body.
Additionally, vitamin C helps keep cells healthy and protects them. The UK National Health Service recommends a balanced diet with fruit and vegetables including citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes and blackcurrants to get the vitamin C that is needed.
In contrast, the NHS said taking too much vitamin A or any food with retinol may harm the baby.
Lastly, the Mayo Clinic reminded that prenatal vitamins are a complement to a healthy diet and not a substitute for nutrition.
Photo: Quinn Dombrowski | Flickr