Can Prenatal Vitamins Cause Weight Gain?
Published November 7, 2017
Are you currently expecting and worried that you’re gaining too much weight too quickly? Are you wondering if your prenatal vitamins could be contributing to your weight gain?
It’s never too early to start taking care of your baby, and by taking a prenatal vitamin, you will get you and your baby both off to a healthy start. But, are there any risks associated with taking prenatal vitamins? Could they possibly cause weight gain or any other side effects?
In this post, we will discuss why it’s important to take a prenatal vitamin, when you should start taking one, if prenatal vitamins cause weight gain, what you should do if you’re experiencing any sudden weight gain, and other side effects that could be from your prenatal vitamins.
Why Do I Need to Take a Prenatal Vitamin?
Proper nutrition is so important for both you and your baby’s health. Your baby depends on you for all of her nutrition needs, and it’s likely that your diet could be lacking in vitamins and minerals that you need to support a healthy pregnancy.
Taking a prenatal vitamin will help fill those nutritional gaps that are essential for healthy fetal development. It’s even more important to take a prenatal vitamin if you have any dietary restrictions, health issues, or pregnancy complications (source).
Other benefits of prenatal vitamins include:
- Reduced nausea: Vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce nausea associated with morning sickness. Women that take prenatal vitamins before conception tend to have less nausea in the first trimester than those that didn’t.
- Fertility boost: Some research has shown that taking a prenatal vitamin will boost your chances of conceiving a healthy baby faster.
- Reduced risk of congenital disabilities: The biggest reason to take a prenatal vitamin is to ensure you are getting enough folic acid, which has been proven to drastically reduce the risk of neural tube defects in your growing baby (source).
Can’t I Just Take a MultiVitamin?
Prenatal vitamins are specifically formulated to meet the nutrition needs of both you and your growing baby, whereas a multivitamin will only meet the needs of your own body.
Pregnancy increases your daily intake requirement for vitamins and minerals to support proper fetal development. Prenatal vitamins typically provide higher doses of folic acid (folate or folate supplements) which helps prevent neural tube defects, iron which prevents anemia and supports baby’s development, and calcium to support bone development.
Most prenatals also contain DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) to support the development of the brain, eyes, and nervous system (source).
When Should I Start Taking a Prenatal Vitamin?
Healthcare professionals recommend starting taking a prenatal vitamin three months before you conceive to prepare your body to take on a growing baby. However, we all know that pregnancies aren’t always planned, so if you were just surprised with a positive pregnancy test, go ahead and start taking a prenatal vitamin right away.
Will My Prenatal Vitamins Make Me Gain Weight?
No study can prove that prenatal vitamins can make you gain weight, as most pregnant women gain about 25-35 pounds throughout their pregnancy regardless of whether she is taking a prenatal vitamin or not. And since vitamins contain zero calories, the weight gain is thought to be due to just the pregnancy itself.
Prenatal vitamins can cause constipation and bloating, making your clothes feel tighter. But no one can definitively proclaim that prenatal vitamins can cause you to gain weight.
But I Have Sudden Weight Gain; What Could Be Causing It?
If you experience sudden weight gain at any point throughout your pregnancy, be sure to visit your doctor as soon as possible, as this is a common sign of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is nothing to mess around about, as it can have severe effects for both you and your baby, such as low birth weight, miscarriage, stillbirth, seizures, and even maternal death.
Are There Other Side Effects of Prenatal Vitamins?
There is no way to tell if prenatal vitamins can make you gain weight or not, but they can cause other minor side effects for some women, such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Dark stools
- Metallic taste
- Loss of appetite
- Bright yellow or green coloration in urine
However, most of these side effects are symptoms that are common with pregnancy, so it can be difficult to determine if it is truly the prenatal vitamin causing them. Talk with your healthcare provider about any side effects you may have from taking prenatal vitamins.
To Sum it Up
Taking a prenatal vitamin will support the health of both you and your growing baby. Prenatal vitamins have even been shown to reduce nausea, boost fertility, and reduce chances of birth defects. By taking a prenatal vitamin 3 months before planning to conceive, you will ensure that you are getting enough folic acid, calcium, and iron to support a growing baby.
Although prenatal vitamins can cause constipation, bloating, and other minor side effects for some women, there is no definitive proof that prenatal vitamins can cause you to gain weight. And because they contain zero calories, your weight gain is most likely from just the pregnancy itself.
If you are experiencing sudden weight, contact your physician as soon as possible, as this can be a sign of serious pregnancy complications, like gestational hypertension or preeclampsia.
Did you experience any side effects while taking prenatal vitamins or experience any abnormal weight gain during pregnancy? Share your experiences with us in the comments and be sure to share this post with your expecting mama friends.