Many pregnant women have special circumstances that prevent them from consuming an adequate diet. These include lactose intolerance, substance abuse, being an adolescent or a strict vegetarian, and having multiple fetuses. For these women, a multivitamin-mineral supplement may have positive benefits, including a reduced risk of some developmental defects, improvements in immune function, and a reduction in the onset and/or progression of some cancers. Anemia is common during pregnancy and justifies treatment with iron supplements. However, some micronutrients commonly taken as supplements are potentially harmful to the developing fetus or, less often, to the pregnant woman, especially when consumed in relatively large amounts.
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