Vitamin supplementation in pregnancy

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Abstract

Ensuring that a woman is well-nourished, both before and during pregnancy, is crucial for the health of the woman and that of the unborn child.1 Maternal deficiency in key nutrients has been linked to pre-eclampsia, restricted fetal growth, neural tube defects, skeletal deformity and low birth weight.1,2 Many nutritional supplements containing vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients are heavily marketed to women for all stages of pregnancy. However, much of the evidence for vitamin supplementation in pregnancy comes from studies carried out in low-income countries,3 where women are more likely to be undernourished or malnourished than within the UK population. The challenges lie in knowing which supplements are beneficial and in improving uptake among those at most need. Here we summarise current UK guidance for vitamin supplementation in pregnancy and review the evidence behind it.

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