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  • Can I Get Too Much Vitamin A?
  • Registered Dietician Q&A
Can I Get Too Much Vitamin A?

Q: I love this time of year because of all of the pumpkin foods around! But I’ve heard that getting too much Vitamin A during pregnancy can be bad for the baby. Does this mean no pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving this year?!
A: That’s an excellent question and one that I hear a lot because it can be confusing!
Vitamin A actually comes in two forms: retinol (or preformed/ready-to-use) and carotenoids (plant compounds). During pregnancy it is important to monitor your intake of the retinol form for Vitamin A, as too much may cause birth defects. The retinol form is found mostly in dietary supplements, making it important not to increase your dosage of prenatal vitamins without talking to your doctor first. It is also found in some animal products, such as liver and fortified milks and cheeses. The carotenoid form of Vitamin A, however, which is found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables, does not have a limit and is safe to enjoy during pregnancy. So dig into your pumpkin pie! 
Vitamin A is extremely important in the development of your baby. It is necessary for cell division and cell differentiation during the first trimester; it is important for the development of the heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes, bones, circulatory, respiratory, and central nervous systems; and it is important right before birth to help with postpartum tissue repair. Not to be overlooked, too, are its better known jobs of maintaining eyesight and immunity! So, with the holidays just around the corner and Fall in full swing, be sure to enjoy some of the many seasonal foods rich in Vitamin A, such as sweet potatoes, dried apricots, and pumpkin, as they are beneficial to the health of you and your growing baby. 

  • Registered Dietician Q&A

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