Multivitamin and mineral supplements, often promoted to pregnant women as a means of giving their child the best possible start in life, are unlikely to be needed by most mums-to-be and are an unnecessary expense, concludes a review of the available evidence, published in this month's issue of the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin.
Pregnant women would do well to resist the marketing claims, which don't seem to translate into better outcomes for mother or baby, and, instead, focus on improving their overall diet and taking folic acid and vitamin D supplements, both of which are available at relatively low cost, it says.
Good nourishment, both before and during pregnancy, is essential for the health of the mother and her unborn child, says dtb. And deficiency in key nutrients has been linked to various complications of pregnancy and birth, including pre-eclampsia, restricted fetal growth, neural tube defects, skeletal deformities and low birthweight.
A wide range of multi-vitamin and mineral supplements is heavily marketed to women for all stages of pregnancy to guard against these sorts of problems.
Typically these supplements contain 20+ vitamins and minerals.
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