Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vitamin A: Trying to conceive, pregnancy & PCOS

Vitamin A: Friend or foe for TTC, baby and PCOS?
Vitamin A is important for the normal development of the baby, and also helps with infection resistance and fat metabolism.

However, we have to avoid taking too much vitamin A, especially in the form of  retinol in the early stages of pregnancy because it can increase the risk of birth defects at high doses.   

However, the other form of vitamin A - beta carotenoids found in fruits and vegetables does not seem to cause the same problems (ok to eat fruits/vege). 

What to watch out
The potential for birth defects is one reason to be very careful when taking multivitamins, or fish oil supplements to make baby smarter (read the label!). The advise is to also avoid eating food with particularly high vitamin A contents, such as liver, sausages ( that contain liver) and cod liver oil. 

For women with PCOS, Vitamin A is commonly used to make us look prettier ( get rid of the acne), either through prescription by doctor in the from of a capsule(Accutane or Roaccutane), or as a creams to apply on the face. However, those contains various forms of vitamin A and should be avoided if you are trying to get pregnant or already pregnant! 

In fact, since Vitamin A is stored in the body, you should stop taking Accutane for a few months before trying to conceive. 

How much Vitamin A is needed?
Pregnant women, 19 and older: about 770 micrograms RAE of vitamin A (approximately 2,565 IU) per day
Pregnant, 18 and younger: 750 mg (2,500 IU)
Breastfeeding women, 19 and older: 1,300 mcg RAE (4,330 IU)
Breastfeeding, 18 and younger: 1,200 mcg RAE (4,000 IU)

Practical stuff:
  1. Fruits & vege good. Liver and cod liver oil bad.  Watch out for those sausages (even the organic ones), you don't really know what they had stuffed in it!
  2. Read supplement labels, especially multivitamins - that is why I am paying so much for pre-pregnancy one!
  3. Check acne products - acne has to be tolerated (??) for baby :(  [that is so unfair!!!!!!]

More info: There is an excellent article from the


Feliz4life said...

I am so happy you are doing this!

sammy said...

Congratulation Good Post
Thank you very much
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