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Confused about whether to take a pregnancy multi? You need to read this.

Article in a nutshell:

Daily multivitamin during pregnancy associated with 55% reduction in risk of miscarriage (2016 study)1

Multivitamin supplementation during pregnancy may be associated with reduced autism risk (2017 study)2-5

Both vitamin D & multivitamin supplementation during pregnancy found to reduce risk of pre-eclampsia (2018 study)6

Multivitamin & mineral supplementation found to be more beneficial than multivitamins alone (2014 study)7

Are you pregnant and confused about the advice you’ve being given? Well if you’ve heard that taking dietary multivitamin & mineral supplements before and during pregnancy is a waste of time and money, take a look at some recent research on the subject before you decide what’s best:

In March 2016, results of a major study carried out by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that taking a multivitamin every day during pregnancy was associated with a 55% reduction in risk of miscarriage.1

In a 2017 observational prospective cohort study based on 273,107 mother-child pairs, and published in the British Medical Journal, researchers found that maternal multivitamin supplementation during pregnancy may be inversely associated with autism spectrum disorder.2 These findings are in line with three existing case control studies from the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment (CHARGE) study in the USA. This is however a complex issue and much more research is needed to establish any definite association.3-5

Pre-eclampsia is a serious pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure, elevated urine protein and possible organ damage. It may affect between 2 - 8% of all pregnancies and can impact maternal health after pregnancy. A systematic review & meta-analysis was carried out to assess the effects of multivitamin supplements on the risk of pre-eclampsia. Results were published in 2018 in the Journal of the Formosan Medical Association and researchers found that vitamin D supplementation could significantly reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia. Similar benefits were reported for multivitamin supplementation.6

In a 2014 single-blind, randomised clinical trial, 104 pregnant women aged 18 – 30 years were randomly assigned to receive either a multivitamin or multivitamin & mineral supplement for 20 weeks. The researchers found that birth weight and head circumference were increased in infants whose mothers received multivitamin-mineral supplements for 5 months during pregnancy compared with infants whose mothers received just multivitamin supplements.7

1. Buck Louis, GM et al. Lifestyle and pregnancy loss in a contemporary cohort of women recruited before conception: the LIFE Study. Fertility and Sterility. Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.03.009
2. DeVilbiss EA, Magnusson C et al. Antenatal nutritional supplementation and autism spectrum disorders in the Stockholm youth cohort: population based cohort study. British Medical Journal. 2017; 359: j4273
3. Schmidt RJ, Tancredi DJ, Krakowiak P, Hansen RL, Ozonoff S. Maternal intake of supplemental iron and risk of autism spectrum disorder. Am J Epidemiol2014; 180: 890-900. 10.1093/aje/kwu208
4. Schmidt RJ, Hansen RL, Hartiala J, et al. Prenatal vitamins, one-carbon metabolism gene variants, and risk for autism[published Online First: 2011 Jul]. Epidemiology 2011; 22: 476-85. 10.1097/EDE.0b013e31821d0e30
5. Schmidt RJ, Tancredi DJ, Ozonoff S, et al. Maternal periconceptional folic acid intake and risk of autism spectrum disorders and developmental delay in the ASD (CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment) case-control study. Am J Clin Nutr 2012; 96: 80-9. 10.3945/ajcn.110.004416
6. Fu ZM, Ma ZZ et al. Vitamins supplementation affects the onset of preeclampsia. J Formos Med Assoc. 2018 Jan; 117(1):6-13.
7. Asemi Z, Samimi M et al. Multivitamin versus multivitamin-mineral supplementation and pregnancy outcomes: a single-blind randomised clinical trial. Int J Prev Med. 2014 Apr; 5(4):439-46

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