Which Supplements Can Be Safely Taken or Should Be Avoided in Pregnancy

Which Supplements Can Be Safely Taken or Should Be Avoided in Pregnancy

A quick search can show you plenty of things to avoid during pregnancy, some of which are just old wives’ tales. However, supplements meant to improve your health can sometimes have an adverse effect on your baby. 

If you’re newly pregnant or want to conceive in the near future, a consultation with your OB/GYN can help you decide which supplements and prenatal vitamins are best for you and your baby. 

At Physicians for Women in Madison, Wisconsin, The Madison Midwives and our board-certified obstetricians are committed to protecting your health throughout your pregnancy, from prenatal care to delivery. Here’s our advice regarding supplements.

Safe supplements that can stay in your pregnancy diet

There are plenty of supplements that are beneficial for pregnant women and unborn babies. Most of these supplements will be included in prenatal vitamins and a healthy diet, and can be kept on your safe list. 

Make certain you buy your prenatal vitamins from a reputable source and take them as directed by your doctor or midwife, no more and no less. 


This B vitamin is likely in your prenatal vitamin, listed as folic acid, so check with your pregnancy healthcare professional to make sure you’re getting enough or if you need an additional folate supplement.


Pregnancy can put you at risk for anemia, so getting enough iron is a must. Try to get as much as you can from food, as iron supplements can cause constipation. Your prenatal vitamin may have enough iron in it.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is another common problem for pregnant women. Check with your doctor to see if your prenatal vitamins have enough vitamin D, especially if you aren’t drinking a lot of milk. 


Making sure you have the right amount of this mineral can help lower your risk of premature labor or high blood pressure. Once again, this should be in your prenatal vitamin.  


This is one supplement that isn’t in most prenatal vitamins. If your doctor or midwife says you need to supplement, you’ll need to take it separately. 

Additional supplements you can safely take during pregnancy include:

Supplements to skip for safety during pregnancy

Some supplements should be limited during pregnancy or avoided altogether, as they can interfere with fetal development or your own health. Check with your doctor or midwife before taking any of these supplements:

Extra vitamin A

If you’re taking prenatal vitamins, you have plenty of vitamin A and shouldn’t double down, as too much can lead to concentration in the liver. 

Extra vitamin E

The same goes for vitamin E: you’ll get enough from your daily prenatals. Excess amounts can cause abdominal pain.

Black cohosh and Dong quai

These popular Chinese medicine herbal supplements can cause uterine cramping, putting you at risk for miscarriage, so discontinue them immediately.


This can worsen jaundice in infants and even cause brain damage in severe cases, so cut this one out of your diet.

In addition, if you take any of the following, you should discontinue them if you get pregnant or plan to get pregnant:

Anything else “natural” or “herbal” should be run by your doctor or midwife. Have questions? We have answers. Call us at 608-218-4825, or book an appointment online.

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