Q: Taking my prenatal vitamin makes me sick. Is it harmful to skip it occasionally, and is there a way to lessen the nausea?
A: Although pregnant women with very healthy eating habits may be able to skip a prenatal vitamin occasionally, it's better to find a way to make supplements more palatable, says Miriam Erick, a senior perinatal dietitian at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and the author of No More Morning Sickness: A Survival Guide for Pregnant Women. In the first trimester, when women are most likely to experience morning sickness, it's especially crucial to fetal development that they get the folic acid and other nutrients provided by supplements.
To lessen the nausea, don't take your vitamin on an empty stomach; have a snack first. "You can also try taking vitamins with lemonade or one of what I call the 'friendly' juices -- creamy, smooth juice drinks like an orange-banana combo," Erick says. Just make sure it doesn't contain added sugar.
Another option is to take your supplement at a different time of day; some women have the best luck at night, Erick says. If that doesn't work, ask your ob-gyn whether changing the brand of vitamin might help. As a last-ditch effort, Erick sometimes advises trying kids' chewable vitamins with folic acid added. "Although they have lower dosages," she says, "something is better than nothing."
Copyright © 2003. Reprinted with permission from the June/July 2003 issue of Child magazine.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.