Vitamin A is required and useful for the fetal development and your health, but it may prove to be a real danger during pregnancy.
When it`s improperly administered and is found to be in excess in the body, vitamin A increases the risk of occurrence of some serious congenital abnormalities in the fetus, which puts the life of the baby in danger after birth.
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Role of Vitamin A in Pregnancy
Vitamin A, also known under the name of retinol, is especially essential for pregnant women because it helps in the postpartum repair of tissues and skin, as well as to fight against infections and enhance vision in diffuse light.
Vitamin A is lipo-soluble and is stored in the liver, during pregnancy being essential for the embryonic development (heart, eyes, bones, lungs, kidneys and circulatory, respiratory and central nervous systems), but in fat metabolism as well.
How Much Vitamin a Should I Take?
- For pregnant women over 19 years: 770 mcg (2565 UI) per day.
- Women of 18 years or younger: 70 mcg (2500 UI) per day.
- Breastfeeding women over 19 years 1.300 mcg (4330 UI) per day.
- Breastfeeding women under 18 years 1.200 mcg (4000 UI) per day.
A generally viable rule is that you shouldn`t follow these amounts on a daily basis, rather opting mostly for maintaining a constant weekly average.
It`s Necessary to Take Vitamin A Supplements?
In general, there aren`t any reasons to do this, because most people get enough vitamin A from their usual diet. Most prenatal vitamins contain vitamin A anyway. Check the labels of the foods you consume to ensure they don`t contain a higher amount then the one recommended.
Also, it`s safer if your vitamin supplements contain vitamin A at least partially, under the form of beta-carotene than preformed vitamin A, about which it`s known to cause congenital defects when it`s taken in too high doses right before conceiving or during pregnancy.
Foods that Contain Vitamin A
The most suitable sources are eggs (properly cooked) and dairy products, melon, oranges, apricots, mango, green leafy and yellow vegetables (pumpkin, carrots, peppers). Here are a few food sources along with their content of vitamin A:
- 1 sweet potato medium cooking: 1,096 mcg (21,909 IU).
- 1 large egg, omelette: 87 mcg (321 IU).
- 1 piece of pumpkin pie: 596 mcg (4,567 IU).
- ½ cup boiled spinach: 573 mcg (11,458 IU).
- 1 raw medium carrot: 509 mcg (10,191 IU).
- ½ cup of carrot pieces 665 mcg (13,286 IU.
- 1 cup of unfortified milk: 338 mcg (1,131 IU).
- 1 cup spinach raw: 141 mcg (2,813 IU).
- 1 cup of melon: 270 mcg (5.411 IU.
- 1 cup cooked ice cream peas: 84 mcg RAE (1,680 IU).
Cutting, squeezing, cooking and grating process may cause provitamin A to be absorbed more easily by the organism and it may seem that if a small amount of fat (1 teaspoon) is eaten along with it, it becomes even easier to assimilate.
First of all, vitamin A in excess increases the risk of occurrence of birth defects. In turn, too little vitamin A has shown delays of development, premature birth, skin conditions and ocular damage. Additionally, there`re studies which have associated the deficiency of this vitamin with a high risk of HIV-1 transmission from the mother to child. The signs of vitamin A deficiency include poor vision at night and weakened immunity or even xerophthalmia.
Vitamin A during Pregnancy in Excess
Foods that shouldn`t be consumed in excess during pregnancy are: liver, liver pate and liver sausages, which have high levels of this vitamin (a portion of beef liver might include up to 12 times the recommended daily dose). Also, if you aren`t careful, you may confront yourself with an excess regarding the consumption of prenatal multivitamin supplements as well. They sometimes present the preformed version of vitamin A (not carotenoid). Thus, get in touch with your doctor before choosing to take them. In principle, the maximum acceptable dose is 8.000 – 10.000 IU when it comes to supplements, but his particular level can easily be reached if you eat healthy foods, like eggs, vegetables along with fortified cereals or meat. Additionally, it was discovered that the anti-acne drug isotretinoin (also known as Accutane), and other medications that contain retinol (which include Retin-A or tretinoin) can be damaging for treatment of skin conditions. – Visit this page!
Consequences of Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A deficiency is very rare in well developed countries, as it`s quite simple to get this vitamin from dairy, vegetables, fruits, meat or eggs, as well as from food supplements that contain vitamins. The consequences are the weakening of the immune system and diminished vision at night. As already mentioned, people who have deficiency with this vitamin might also cause an illness known as xerophthalmia, which may lead to thickening of the cornea.