The One Thing Many Pregnant Women Aren’t Getting Enough of, Study Says

The good news—there’s an easy fix.
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profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
July 15, 2019
close up of pregnant woman taking a vitamin with water
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Many pregnant women aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals, research claims. Adding insult to injury, expectant moms consume an excessive amount of sodium.

In a 2019 study, published in JAMA Network Open, researchers looked at the dietary intake data of 1,000 pregnant women in the US. They found many of the participants didn’t consume enough of vitamins A, C, D, E, K and B6, as well as folate, choline and minerals iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Almost all of the participants consumed too much sodium, and in some instances, consumed too much folic acid and iron.

Traditionally during pregnancy, women will take additional nutritional supplements, including prenatal vitamins. In the study, almost 70 percent of pregnant women took a dietary supplement, primarily prenatal vitamins. “It appears that supplements may be necessary for most pregnant women to meet nutrient recommendations,” says Regan Bailey, an associate professor in nutrition science in Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences, who led the team.

“Without dietary supplements, 80 to 95 percent of pregnant women would fail to achieve iron recommendations,” Bailey says. “However, our findings suggest that responsible formulations of prenatal products could help women achieve recommended intakes without the potential for excess.”

Prenatal vitamins are crucial to your baby’s health, and yours too. Your body needs nutrients to grow a whole new person, and prenatal vitamins make sure you’re getting everything you need. Need help narrowing down which prenatal vitamin is right for you? Check out this helpful guide on how to choose the best prenatal vitamin.

Bailey says balance, moderation and variety are surefire ways to encourage a healthy diet during pregnancy.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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