Vitamin A

The increment in vitamin A requirements during pregnancy is based on the amount of the vitamin that is found in fetal liver at birth. The liver content is assumed to be 36 mg, mostly accumulated during the last 3 months of gestation. Using an estimated 70% absorption of the vitamin from the maternal diet, the EAR is 50 mg above the requirement for the nonpregnant woman, whereas the RDA is 20% higher (60 mg).

In wealthier regions of the world, vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy is rare. Rather, there is more concern about the potentially adverse effects of consuming excessive amounts of the vitamin. Based on the potential for retinol excess to cause birth defects (malformations), especially if high doses are consumed early in pregnancy, a UL of 3000 mg/day is set for all women who may become pregnant as well as those who are pregnant. This intake is unlikely to be achieved with natural food, although it would be possible if large amounts of liver, foods fortified with the vitamin, or supplements were consumed. One situation in which this restrictive UL becomes important is in the context of developing countries where high-dose vitamin A supplements are provided to postpartum women and their infants as part of the Expanded Program on Immunization, National Vitamin A Days, or similar programs. It is accepted that it is only safe to provide these high-dose supplements to the mother during the first 6 weeks postpartum, in case she becomes pregnant again.

Nevertheless, it is important to provide pregnant women with their recommended intake of the vitamin because one major study in Nepal showed a 40% reduction in infection-related maternal mortality by supplementing the women with approximately their RDA as retinol per week. Supplementation with ^-carotene reduced mortality by 49%, and it is a nontoxic alternative. Additional trials to confirm the benefits of maternal supplementation with the vitamin in deficient populations are ongoing.

100 Pregnancy Tips

100 Pregnancy Tips

Prior to planning pregnancy, you should learn more about the things involved in getting pregnant. It involves carrying a baby inside you for nine months, caring for a child for a number of years, and many more. Consider these things, so that you can properly assess if you are ready for pregnancy. Get all these very important tips about pregnancy that you need to know.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment