One of the things on the cautious list is Vitamin A which is essential for healthy development of the baby’s eyes, circulatory system, respiratory system, central nervous system, heart and immune system.
Vitamin A is also essential for women in late pregnancy, because it helps with postpartum tissue repair.
The concern arises because Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin (so must be consumed with foods containing fats), it can potentially accumulate in the mother’s body to levels which are toxic to the foetus, assuming she eats a lot of liver and/or takes a supplement with high levels of Vitamin A.
In pregnancy we are therefore advised to avoid liver and instead to eat vegetables and fruit containing beta-carotene,[see ** below] which the body can convert to vitamin A, though only in optimal conditions.
Even if we could perform this conversion efficiently, we would have to eat masses of veg and fruit to provide enough Vitamin A.
Pregnancy supplements should contain no more than 5000iu Vitamin A per day.
Worryingly, in women not taking a “pregnancy multi” and avoiding fats in their meals, a deficiency can arise and this has the potential to lead to infant eye defects and other problems.
This page is under development, please come back soon.