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Can taking too many supplements have a negative impact on your pregnancy?

It is only natural for women to want to take vitamins and supplements while undergoing fertility treatment and during the initial stages of their pregnancy to help improve their chances of achieving a healthy ongoing pregnancy. But can too much of a good thing be harmful? Definitely!

Like all medications and supplements, they can have their benefit and we of course encourage our patients to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle when looking at undergoing fertility treatment.

However, studies have shown that exceeding the maximum daily dosage for some medications and supplements can actually have a detrimental effect on your chances of falling pregnant and possibly cause adverse effects on your pregnancy. A Dutch study previously revealed that there was a strong association with excessive doses of antioxidants such as vitamin E in early pregnancy and a higher instance of congenital birth defects in children.

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant which helps protect the body against tissue damage from free radicals, helps maintain a healthy immune system and plays a vital role in the formation of red blood cells. It can be found in foods such as vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, and green leafy vegetables and is essential for the body to function normally.

The recommended daily dose of vitamin E in pregnancy is between 16-30 IU, however when the dose is exceeded, it can be harmful. The study has shown that pregnant women who consume excessive levels of vitamin E, are 70% more likely to have a child with birth defects. The Dutch study was able to make a strong association between the increased risk of congenital defects in children and excessive doses of vitamin E during early pregnancy, which raises the question: How much vitamin E should I be consuming?

Fertility First suggests prenatal products and supplements that already contain the correct dosage of vitamin E, in addition to recommending a healthy diet that includes a sufficient source of the vitamins and minerals necessary for normal bodily functions.

Always remember: “The difference between a medicine and a poison is the dose.”