The Dangers of Excess Vitamin A During Pregnancy and How To Prevent It

The Dangers of Excess Vitamin A During Pregnancy and How To Prevent It

Vitamin A is one of the important nutrients that need to be met by pregnant women. However, the amount of intake needs to be adjusted, because excess vitamin A during pregnancy can not only harm the health of pregnant women, but also the fetus in the womb.

Vitamin A is a type of vitamin that plays an important role in maintaining healthy eyes and skin, as well as increasing the immune system of pregnant women. For the fetus, vitamin A plays an important role in supporting the growth of skin tissue, muscles, bones, eyes, and various other organs of the body.

Vitamin A also acts as an antioxidant to prevent tissue and cell damage during pregnancy and the fetus. Therefore, pregnant women are recommended to always meet the needs of vitamin A by increasing the intake of foods high in vitamin A, but according to the amount recommended for pregnant women.

Potential Dangers Behind Excess Vitamin A During Pregnancy

Vitamin A is a type of fat-soluble vitamin. In the body, vitamin A will be stored in the liver and fat tissue. If the intake is too much, vitamin A will accumulate, causing vitamin A poisoning which can damage the liver.

Vitamin A can be obtained from various types of food, such as meat, beef or chicken liver, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, and fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, spinach, pumpkin, melon, broccoli, and tomatoes.

Intake of vitamin A from fruits and vegetables is safe for consumption in large quantities. However, sources of vitamin A from other food sources need to be limited because they have the potential to cause vitamin A poisoning.

There are even some pregnant women who take multivitamin supplements with vitamin A in it, even though they have eaten foods that also contain vitamin A.

This can cause the accumulation of vitamin A and endanger the condition of pregnant women and fetuses. Therefore, taking vitamin A supplements during pregnancy should be based on doctor's advice.

Some of the dangers that can arise when excess vitamin A during pregnancy are:

Increases the risk of a baby being born with a disability

As well as if pregnant women lack vitamin A, excess vitamin A during pregnancy can also cause congenital abnormalities or the condition of the baby being born with defects.

This birth defect can be in the form of deformities in almost all parts or organs of the body, including the eyes, head, lungs, and heart. In addition, excess vitamin A during pregnancy can also increase the risk of miscarriage.

Vitamin A poisoning

Excess vitamin A can cause vitamin A poisoning or hypervitaminosis A. This condition can occur in pregnant women or anyone who consumes too much vitamin A from foods sourced from animals, such as meat and liver, or vitamin A supplements.

Meanwhile, intake of vitamin A from fruits and vegetables tends to be at a lower risk of causing vitamin A poisoning.

Hypervitaminosis A can cause various complaints or symptoms, such as headache, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, bone pain, decreased appetite, and skin feels rough, dry, and turns orange in color. In the fetus, hypervitaminosis A can cause birth defects and miscarriage.

Prevent Excess Vitamin A During Pregnancy This Way

To get the various benefits of vitamin A for health, pregnant women need to have sufficient intake of vitamin A in the right amount.

According to the recommendation of the Nutrition Adequacy Rate from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia in 2019, pregnant women are advised to meet the needs of vitamin A as much as 900 micrograms (mcg) every day.

This intake can be obtained from foods that contain lots of vitamin A and also additional vitamin A supplements, if needed. However, there are some things that every pregnant woman needs to pay attention to.

Pregnant women are recommended to limit the consumption of liver, because the liver contains high vitamin A. If you want to eat it, pregnant women should not consume beef liver more than 1 serving every week.

Meanwhile, additional vitamin A supplements should not be taken by pregnant women to meet the needs of these vitamins during pregnancy, unless a gynecologist recommends it.

After all, most pregnancy vitamins already contain vitamin A. So, pregnant women do not need to supplement their vitamin A needs with additional vitamin A supplements.

If pregnant women want to take vitamin A supplements or pregnancy vitamins, you should first consult with a gynecologist. This is done to avoid the possibility of the wrong dose that can cause excess vitamin A during pregnancy.