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Can prenatal vitamins cause headaches: 16 Side Effects of Prenatal Vitamins When not Pregnant in 2023

16 Side Effects of Prenatal Vitamins When not Pregnant in 2023

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Prenatal vitamins are a key part of every pregnant woman’s diet, but what about when you’re not pregnant? Believe it or not, prenatal vitamins can have some pretty serious side effects when taken by non-pregnant women. In this article, we will discuss the 16 side effects of prenatal vitamins while not pregnant in 2022. Be sure to read this post before you take your next prenatal vitamin.

Elm & Rye prenatal supplements are the best prenatal vitamins to use if you want a natural supplement to maximize your health during pregnancy.

Prenatal vitamins are a type of vitamin supplement that is specifically designed for pregnant women. They usually contain a combination of vitamins and minerals, such as iron, folic acid, and calcium, which are important for the health of both the mother and the baby.

However, taking prenatal vitamins when you’re not pregnant can also have some negative side effects. These include nausea, dizziness and headaches, as well as changes in menstrual periods and increased risk of birth defects in future pregnancies. 

Prenatal vitamins are an essential part of a healthy pregnancy, but they can also have some serious side effects if consumed while not pregnant. Here are 16 of the most common side effects of prenatal vitamins when not pregnant:

1. Nausea and vomiting. 

Prenatal vitamins often cause nausea or vomiting because they contain higher amounts of iron than your body requires when not pregnant. 

2. Constipation or diarrhea. 

Many prenatal vitamins contain high levels of folic acid, which can cause constipation in some people. If you experience diarrhea instead, it is likely due to the extra iron that is found in most prenatal vitamins. 

3. Lowered libido. 

High levels of folic acid have been found to decrease libido in women who aren’t pregnant, making sex less appealing. 

4. Restlessness and lack of focus.


Prenatal vitamins may cause increased feelings of restlessness and lack of concentration, especially if taken later in the day or at night. If these feelings persist, speak to your doctor about whether other vitamin supplements or smaller doses may help reduce any side effects.

5. Nausea and constipation. 

If you experience nausea when taking prenatal vitamins, it is likely due to the high levels of iron in the supplement. This can be avoided by gradually increasing your dose of prenatal vitamins and by taking them with meals.

6. Heartburn or indigestion. 

If you experience acid reflux or heartburn when taking prenatal vitamins, it is likely due to the high levels of iron in the supplement. Speak to your doctor about lowering your dose of prenatal vitamins or switching to a non-iron prenatal vitamin.

7. Abnormal bleeding. 

In some cases, prenatal vitamins can cause abnormal bleeding or spotting, particularly if you are taking an iron-containing supplement. If you experience this side effect and it does not improve after lowering your dose of prenatal vitamins, speak to your doctor about other options for managing iron levels in your body.

8. Diarrhea and other stomach issues. 

Some women may experience diarrhea or constipation when taking prenatal vitamins. This is usually caused by the high levels of iron in the supplement. To avoid these side effects, speak to your doctor about lowering your dose of prenatal vitamins or switching to a non-iron vitamin such as folic acid or vitamin D.

9. Itchy skin. 

In some cases, prenatal vitamins can cause itchy skin or increased sensitivity to the sun when taken in high doses. If these side effects persist, speak to your doctor about lowering your dose of prenatal vitamins or switching to a non-iron vitamin that is more gentle on your body.

10. Allergic reactions. 

In rare cases, women can develop an allergic reaction to the ingredients in prenatal vitamins. These side effects may include a rash or hives, swelling of the face and lips, difficulty breathing, or other symptoms that cause discomfort. If you experience these side effects after taking prenatal vitamins for a few days, speak to your doctor immediately about other options for managing your vitamin needs.

11. Changes in mood. 

Some women may experience changes in mood or anxiety when taking prenatal vitamins, particularly if they are a high dose or taken later in the day. This is often caused by the high levels of iron in the supplement. 

12. Blurred vision. 

Some women have reported experiencing blurred vision when taking high doses of prenatal vitamins, although this is rare. If you experience vision changes while taking prenatal vitamins, speak to your doctor about switching to a lower dose or a different type of vitamin supplement that may be more gentle on your body.

13. Too much of a good thing. 

While prenatal vitamins are an important part of maintaining a healthy pregnancy, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. Keep in mind that overdosing on prenatal vitamins can have dangerous side effects and should be avoided at all costs. If you experience any side effects while taking prenatal vitamins (or if you experience any other symptoms), always speak to your doctor before continuing to take the medication.

14. Prenatal vitamins are not a substitute for a balanced diet. 

While prenatal vitamins can help ensure that you get all of the nutrients your body needs during pregnancy, they should never be used as a replacement for a healthy and well-rounded diet. If you are concerned about whether or not your current intake of vitamins and minerals is adequate, speak to your doctor about taking a daily multivitamin or other types of additional supplements.

15. Women with certain health conditions may need higher doses of prenatal vitamins than others. 

If you have any preexisting medical conditions, speak to your doctor before starting a prenatal vitamin regimen. This is because some women require higher doses of certain nutrients to remain healthy, and it is important to work with your doctor to ensure that these levels are safe for you.

16. Difficulty Swallowing 

Last, but not least, some women experience the side effect of having difficulty with swallowing when taking prenatal vitamins when not pregnant. If you have this experience, speak to your doctor about other options that may be more comfortable for you.

For most women, the benefits of taking prenatal vitamins far outweigh the side effects. However, it is important to monitor how your body reacts to these supplements and always talk to your doctor if you are concerned about any negative side effects or uncomfortable symptoms. Whether you are pregnant or not, it is essential to maintain a balanced and healthy diet in order to stay healthy. 

How long can you take prenatal vitamins if you’re not pregnant?

In general, prenatal vitamins are designed to be taken by women who are pregnant or trying to conceive. However, if you do not necessarily intend to get pregnant but still want the health benefits of a prenatal vitamin, you can take them for up to three years.

So what are some possible side effects of taking prenatal vitamins when you’re not pregnant?

One common side effect is nausea. Because prenatal vitamins contain a high level of iron, some people experience stomach upset or diarrhea when taking these vitamins. Other potential side effects include constipation and headaches.

If you find that you are experiencing any of these side effects, talk to your doctor about switching to a different type of prenatal vitamin, or altering your dosage. Ultimately, the benefits of taking prenatal vitamins when you’re not pregnant can help boost your overall health and well-being, so it is important to work with your doctor to find a solution that works best for you.

Overall, if you are interested in taking prenatal vitamins but are not trying to get pregnant, it is important to talk to your doctor and do your research before starting a supplement regimen. With the right dose and type of prenatal vitamin, you can enjoy all of the health benefits without the side effects.

Can prenatal vitamins mess up your period?

It is possible that taking prenatal vitamins could affect your period or other hormonal functions in the body. This is because many prenatal vitamins contain high levels of iron, which can interfere with hormone levels and cause menstrual irregularities.

Additionally, some people experience nausea or other stomach upset when taking prenatal vitamins. If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms after starting a prenatal vitamin supplement, it is important to talk to your doctor about possible side effects and how they can be managed.

Do prenatal vitamins make you gain weight?

There is no clear answer to this question, as the effects of prenatal vitamins on weight gain can vary from person to person. Some people do experience weight gain when taking these supplements, possibly due to an increase in water retention or changes in hormonal balance.

However, some research has shown that prenatal vitamins may actually help to promote weight loss, as they contain nutrients and compounds that can boost metabolism or suppress appetite.

If you are concerned about weight gain while taking prenatal vitamins, it is important to talk to your doctor about your specific supplement regimen and any symptoms you are experiencing. They can help you determine whether your dosage or type of vitamin may be contributing to any issues with weight gain, and may be able to recommend a different supplement or dosage that can help you achieve your health goals.

Overall, the effects of prenatal vitamins on weight gain can be complex and are often impacted by other factors such as diet, exercise, and overall health. It is important to work with your doctor to find a supplement regimen that works for your body and lifestyle.

Why do people take prenatal vitamins if they’re not pregnant?

There are a few reasons why some women take prenatal vitamins when not pregnant. Some women may take them to ensure they are getting the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals. Others may take them in hopes of boosting their fertility. And finally, some women may take prenatal vitamins in case they become pregnant, even if they are not currently trying to conceive.

Why are prenatal vitamins packed full of nutrients?

Prenatal vitamins are packed full of nutrients because they are specifically formulated for pregnant women. They contain vitamin A, E, D and K, as well as folic acid, calcium and iron. The recommended daily allowance of these vitamins and minerals is higher during pregnancy than it is when not pregnant to ensure that both mother and baby are getting the nutrition they need to grow and develop healthily.

Can prenatal vitamins affect your hormones?

Yes, prenatal vitamins can affect your hormones. Many people believe that prenatal vitamins increase fertility and boost your chances of getting pregnant when you’re not trying to conceive. While there is some evidence to support this, the exact mechanism by which they work is still unclear. 

Some research has suggested that prenatals may help improve egg quality in women with diminished ovarian reserve, a condition that can cause reduced fertility. However, there is also some evidence to suggest that prenatals may affect hormone levels in unexpected ways. For example, research has shown that women who take prenatal supplements for longer than six months may experience higher rates of pregnancy loss and early miscarriage. 

So if you’re not pregnant and you’re taking prenatal vitamins, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects and talk to your doctor about whether they are right for you. Possible side effects may include changes in hormone levels, fertility problems, and pregnancy loss. 

While prenatal vitamins can help ensure that a woman receives the proper nutrients during pregnancy, they should not be taken without medical supervision if you are not pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are experiencing any of the above side effects, talk to your doctor about taking a lower dose of prenatal vitamins or switching to a non-iron vitamin. If the side effects persist, it may be best to stop taking prenatal vitamins altogether until you are ready to become pregnant or begin breastfeeding.

Elm & Rye prenatal supplements are the best prenatal vitamins to use if you want a natural supplement to maximize your health during pregnancy.

What They Are & How to Treat Them

Prenatal vitamins can help provide the building blocks — nutrients — your body needs to grow and develop a new little human, and keep you healthy.

But even good, nourishing things can come with a few hiccups.

You may not have been… well, regular, since you started taking prenatal vitamins. Or maybe you’ve noticed other symptoms, like you’re always really itchy.

You’re not imagining it — prenatal vitamins can sometimes cause minor side effects.

So, what’s in prenatal vitamins? And why do they sometimes cause annoying side effects? Here’s what to know about prenatal vitamins and side effects and what you can do about them.

Some common prenatal vitamin side effects are also common side effects of pregnancy. This means that sometimes you might not know if your prenatal vitamins are causing the hiccups (including the literal ones when you feel like you might vomit).

Prenatal vitamin side effects may be even worse when you’re pregnant than when you’re not. But some people may not get any vitamin side effects at all.

Below is a list of common prenatal vitamin side effects and some of their causes:

Digestive discomforts

Prenatal vitamins include iron because your body needs this mineral to make lots of red blood cells to carry oxygen to you and your baby. While iron gets your blood flowing, it can clog up the digestive pipes a bit.

Along with constipation — a very common complaint — you might have other gut-related side effects like:

  • stomach cramps
  • upset stomach
  • bloating
  • gas
  • hard or small bowel movements
  • tarry or dark-colored bowel movements

Skin and hair changes

Certain vitamins can cause common hair and skin side effects.

Side effectMay be caused by:
hair lossvitamin A
skin dryness or peelingvitamin A
skin itchinessvitamin A or fillers in prenatal vitamins
easy bruisingvitamin E
skin rashvitamin E

Other aches, pains, and changes

Iron, calcium, iodine, and other minerals in prenatal vitamins can sometimes cause side effects including:

  • hives
  • stomach bleeding
  • teeth staining
  • muscle weakness

These minerals can also be fully or partially responsible for some effects that are also common in pregnancy:

  • sore teeth and gums
  • stomach irritation
  • fast or uneven heart rate
  • urinating more often
  • not being able to focus — also known as “pregnancy brain” because your body is super-multitasking!
  • confusion (see above)
  • appetite loss
  • more mouth watering — or is eating for two just making you hungrier?

Other side effects that can happen when you’re pregnant may be made worse by prenatal vitamin side effects. These include:

  • headache pain
  • back pain
  • muscle pain
  • joint pain
  • dizziness
  • strange or unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • dry eyes
  • blurred vision
  • unusual tiredness

Other risks

Too much of a good thing can be harmful to your health. It’s completely possible to take too many or too high a dose of prenatal vitamins.

You also need to be aware of vitamins and minerals in other supplements or products you use. Too much of some vitamins and minerals can be dangerous for you or your baby.

For example, while too little vitamin A can cause poor eyesight, too much of this vitamin can be toxic for you and your baby. Too much vitamin A can harm your liver and may lead to some birth defects in baby.

Tell your doctor if you’re taking or using any kind of vitamin, medication, or creams. Avoid all vitamin A products while you’re pregnant, even skin creams.

Check for vitamin A ingredients like:

  • tretinoin
  • isotretinoin
  • retin-A

In fact, you can overdose on vitamins A, D, E, or K. These vitamins stay in your body for a long time and too much can be serious for you, and also harm your growing little one.

Other nutrients in prenatal vitamins like some minerals may also cause serious side effects if you take too much. Get urgent medical attention if you think you’ve taken too many supplements or have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor about all the medications you’re taking. Prenatal vitamins can have negative interactions with some over-the-counter and prescription medications, like:

  • pain relievers (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Aleve, Advil, Motrin)
  • blood pressure medications
  • heart medications
  • diuretic or water pills
  • trimethoprim
  • sulfamethoxazole

Prenatal vitamins are also called prenatal supplements because they contain vitamins along with minerals and other nutrients you and your growing baby need.

Doctors recommend that women of child-bearing age take prenatal vitamins even if they’re not planning to get pregnant — just in case.

While our bodies absorb the best kinds of nutrients from the foods we eat, let’s face it, everyone isn’t always able eat the best variety of food or very much fresh food every day.

When you’re pregnant and suffering from nausea or aversions, it can be even harder to get your 5 fruits and veggies a day!

Plus, you may not know you’re pregnant for weeks or longer. From the very first month of pregnancy, lots of important baby stuff is developing, like the brain and spinal cord. This is why taking a prenatal vitamin has you and your baby covered!

For example, folic acid in a prenatal vitamin is needed to help your baby grow a healthy spinal cord and nervous system. Vitamin A is needed for healthy eyes. Too little of this vitamin is a leading cause of blindness in babies around the world.

Prenatal vitamins can help fill nutritional food gaps and make sure you and your baby have all the vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy pregnancy and birth. They can even help keep you healthy after your delivery while you breastfeed.

Not all prenatal vitamins are the same. Different formulations may have slightly different dosages of some nutrients. Ask your doctor about the best one for you.

All prenatal vitamins are made for pregnant people and normally include:

  • folic acid or folate
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin K
  • vitamin B12
  • iron
  • calcium
  • copper
  • zinc
  • magnesium

Remember: the benefits of prenatal vitamins outweigh the side effects — as long as you take them exactly as directed.

Ask your doctor about the best prenatal vitamins for you and your baby.

Try these tips to avoid or reduce side effects from prenatal vitamins:

  • Take your prenatal vitamin regularly and in the exact prescribed dosage.
  • Avoid taking other multivitamins, vitamins, supplements, or herbal remedies while you’re taking prenatal vitamins and especially when you’re pregnant.
  • Don’t take a prenatal vitamin on an empty stomach — take prenatal vitamins with food or after a meal.
  • Drink a full glass of water to wash down a prenatal vitamin.
  • Swallow the prenatal vitamin whole. Do not chew, cut, break, crush, or open a prenatal vitamin.

Ease constipation with these remedies

  • Drink plenty of water with your prenatal vitamin.
  • Add more fiber to your diet, like whole grains, oats, and fresh fruit and veggies.
  • Add natural prebiotics and probiotics to your diet, like yogurt, bananas, and onions.
  • Ask your doctor about taking other supplements that help ease constipation, like fish oil and probiotics.
  • Try a prenatal vitamin with less iron in it.

Was this helpful?

If you’re getting a lot of side effects, like itching and stomach irritation, the fillers or additives in some prenatal vitamins might just not suit you. Ask your doctor about switching to a different kind or brand of prenatal vitamin.

Prenatal vitamins are very important for a healthy pregnancy and baby. This is why doctors recommend taking them well before you plan on getting pregnant.

Prenatal vitamins can sometimes cause minor but annoying side effects. These can be worse when you’re pregnant because some of them are the same as common pregnancy side effects.

Prenatal vitamin side effects aren’t serious and can normally be managed with home remedies and changes in your diet.

Tell your doctor if you have serious prenatal vitamin side effects. Taking too many prenatal vitamins or other supplements can be harmful for you and your growing baby. Check with your doctor before taking any new supplements.

The role of vitamins during pregnancy for women

During pregnancy, a woman’s body experiences a serious load. It is not surprising, because from the very first days a whole organ system of the baby is being laid. Of great importance during this period is the full-fledged proper nutrition and the intake of vitamin complexes, which are necessary for the healthy bearing of the baby.

Undoubtedly, food is the best source of vitamins and minerals. But during such a responsible and difficult period as pregnancy, even healthy food cannot always fully replenish the necessary reserve of vitamins that are necessary for the proper development of the fetus.

Each trace element has its own physiological function, so the intake of vitamins should be made taking into account the requirements of the daily intake, developed and recommended by the Russian Federation of obstetricians and gynecologists.

Surprisingly, the body immediately begins to give signals about the lack of a particular vitamin through various symptoms. Malaise, drowsiness, headache – the cause of each of the symptoms is a lack of the corresponding vitamin.

  • Vitamin A is involved in the formation of visual pigments. With it, nails become brittle and brittle, visual acuity decreases.
  • Deficiency of vitamin B1 can cause cramps, numbness of the fingers and toes.
  • Vitamin E is responsible for the elasticity of the skin and when it is deficient, women notice dryness, peeling, and irritation on the skin.
  • Vitamin C is the strongest antioxidant responsible for immunity and performance. Drowsiness, apathy and irritability can be the cause of the lack of this element.
  • B2 is responsible for the regulation of hematopoiesis and its deficiency causes burning, dry skin, tearing, dizziness.
  • Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which is needed to keep bones and teeth healthy. Bleeding gums, enamel damage and joint pain are the first signs of deficiency.
  • Calcium is responsible for the formation of the nervous system of the fetus, its lack is expressed in brittle nails, brittle bones.

If you notice any unpleasant symptoms, discomfort, you should immediately contact a specialist. A gynecologist in Novosibirsk, after a complete examination, will prescribe the appropriate drugs and vitamin and mineral complexes.

Do not self-diagnose hypovitaminosis and prescribe treatment. Remember that you are now taking all the drugs and vitamins with your baby.

Importance of folic acid in early pregnancy

Folic acid is one of the most important elements in the formation of a healthy child. The significance and importance of vitamin B9 has been known to medicine for a long time, but in the last 10 years gynecology has begun to pay special attention to this microelement.

Deficiency of folic acid, which plays an important role in the formation of DNA and the development of the baby’s neural tube, can lead to serious consequences, up to placental abruption and miscarriage.

Clinical studies have shown that 80% of births of children with congenital defects of the brain and spinal cord can be avoided with the timely use of folic acid before pregnancy and during childbearing.

Considering that this microelement is excreted from the body of a pregnant woman 4-5 times faster, the daily requirement for the microelement B9 in healthy women is 0. 4 mg. It is especially important to adhere to this recommendation in the first trimester of pregnancy.

The intake of prescribed vitamins in no way replaces proper and nutritious nutrition. Therefore, the fulfillment of all the appointments and prescriptions of the doctor, walks in the fresh air and the correct regimen will be the key to the successful bearing and birth of a healthy baby.

Vitamin D overdose | World news | Izvestia

Uncontrolled intake of vitamins can lead to serious health problems due to the development of a condition called “hypervitaminosis”. An overdose of vitamins A and D is considered the most dangerous, Oksana Mikhaleva, an endocrinologist, dietitian at the SM-Clinic, and a candidate of medical sciences, told Izvestia.

“Hypervitaminosis is a complex of symptoms that occurs when there is an excess of vitamins in the body. First of all, we are talking about large doses of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), since they are well absorbed, but slowly excreted from the body. An overdose of these vitamins can cause serious harm to the body and cause a number of unpleasant symptoms. The most dangerous of them in this regard are vitamins A and D, ”the doctor said.

So, according to an endocrinologist, an excess of vitamin A can manifest itself not only with unpleasant symptoms (nausea, fatigue, headache), but also lead to more serious health problems: insomnia, unhealthy weight loss, bone and joint pain, increased risk of bone fractures, menstrual irregularities, nosebleeds, hair loss. The most dangerous effect associated with vitamin A is the negative effect on the fetus during pregnancy, especially in the early stages.

Speaking about an excess of vitamin D, the doctor identified such possible symptoms as: nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, skin itching. However, the main danger lies in the excessive accumulation of calcium under the influence of large doses of vitamin D. Excess calcium is deposited in the body, which can lead to the formation of kidney stones, vascular calcification and the progression of cardiovascular diseases. The consequences of an overdose of vitamin D for pregnant women are especially dangerous, as this can cause fetal pathology, as well as diseases of the skeletal system in newborns.

“An excess of vitamin E is more rare. Long-term use of high doses can lead to gastrointestinal upset, weakness, fatigue, diplopia, headaches. An overdose of vitamin E can lead to a decrease in blood clotting and the risk of bleeding, especially in patients taking anticoagulants. Also, vitamin E can reduce the effectiveness of the treatment of iron deficiency anemia due to a violation of the absorption of iron preparations, ”said Mikhaleva.

Vitamin K regulates the blood clotting process and its excess in patients at risk of thrombosis can cause increased clotting, as well as negate the effectiveness of anticoagulants, which can be dangerous for patients after myocardial infarction.

The doctor also noted that water-soluble vitamins (eg B vitamins, vitamin C) can also cause an overdose.