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"I Gained Fifteen Pounds in my First Trimester!"
Help! You're expected to put on some pounds during pregnancy, but what if that weight comes too fast? Read on to learn what to do if this happens to you. 

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Say NO to Vitamin A Supplements

Unsafe For You and Baby
-- By Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietician & Nicole Nichols, Health Educator

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for human reproduction, cell growth and development. It is also involved in the growth and formation of eye tissue, skin cells, mucus membranes, and bone tissue.

The vitamin A content of a food is sometimes measured in International Units (IU) and at other times in "micrograms retinol equivalents," (mcg RE), a measurement which has recently changed to "micrograms retinol activity equivalents (mcg RAE). The recommended intake of vitamin A for adult females is 700 mcg RAE (2,330 IU). During pregnancy, a woman's need increases to 770 micrograms RAE (2,565 IU). If breastfeeding, your needs are even higher-1,300 micrograms RAE (4,330 IU).

Because foods rich in vitamin A are so prevalent in the American diet, deficiency is not common (but it can result in reproductive problems). Because vitamin A is stored in the body, excessive consumption can be very harmful-especially during preconception and pregnancy. High levels of vitamin A intake can be toxic to the baby and may cause birth defects or spontaneous abortion.

Your body can obtain vitamin A in two forms: 1) preformed vitamin A and 2) beta carotene.

Preformed vitamin A (retinols) comes from animal sources (meat, fish oil and eggs), fortified products (milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, cereals) and supplements. Because this is "true" vitamin A, these sources should be limited to avoid toxicity. The maximum amount of preformed vitamin A that a pregnant woman should consume daily is 3,000 mcg RAE (10,000 IU). Due to the risk of toxicity, pregnant women and women who may become pregnant must also avoid prescription drugs related to retinol, including Accutane (isotretinoin) and topical creams like Retin-A (tretinoin).

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Member Comments About this Article
"Unlike Vitamin A, Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and the body removes excess so there is no fear of toxicity to the body or baby." -- TONKA_14
"How sbout vitamin c?? Is safe for the baby??" -- MALYNHAETTA
"We agree that eating a balanced, healthy diet and taking your prenatal supplement provides the necessary vitamin A for a healthy pregnancy. Usually it isn't necessary to take additional vitamin A supplements especially since it can be extremely dangerous and usually not recommended by medical providers. We are very glad to hear your healthy diet with vitamin A rich food sources helped you have a healthy pregnancy!" -- TONKA_14
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About The Author
Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. She teaches prenatal classes and counsels individuals, helping women eat right and stay fit before, during and after their pregnancies.
Becky Hand

 


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