Pregnancy And Your Pharmacist
Pregnant women have a close relationship with doctors and other healthcare providers. A pharmacist should make up part of that important team. Pharmacists are subject matter experts in medication, particularly knowledgeable in the effects that medications have on the body. Some women want to start or continue supplements while pregnant. The advice of a pharmacist becomes crucial. A pharmacist can help avoid potentially dangerous practices that can harm the baby. Here are 4 simple questions all women taking supplements should ask a pharmacist.
1. Should I even use supplements while pregnant?
Supplements are herbal or synthetic drugs that provide added vitamins and minerals. Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are essential for a growing baby and the mother’s health. Supplements can provide these compounds that are absent in the diet. At the same time, many supplements on the market contain harmful additives. In addition, most aren’t Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved and may contribute to future issues during pregnancy. Only use pharmacist-recommended supplements that have been independently reviewed for safety.
2. What supplements can I take while pregnant?
During pregnancy, the growing fetus gets all the nutrients from the mother. Additional nutrients through supplements serve both parties. Some common doctor-recommended supplements include vitamin D, DHA, folic acid, iron, and calcium. Pharmacists can also create a prenatal vitamin through compounding so women get the best nutrients available.
3. What supplements should I avoid?
Some vitamins and supplements can be harmful to the baby. Vitamin A is a typical example. Also called retinol, this vitamin A derivative can cause congenital disabilities if used during pregnancy. High doses of vitamin C, E, and B6 are also dangerous. Other harmful supplements include saw palmetto, goldenseal, Yohimbe, and licorice.
4. Should I be aware of any unwanted interactions?
Pharmacists understand that some medications and food have harmful interactions with each other. For example, some women may need hormone medication, and supplements may impact the effectiveness of this treatment. Pharmacists can perform a medication review to ensure that all supplements are safe.
Consider customized supplements
There are dozens and even hundreds of different supplements and brands on the market. Many are targeted toward the health and wellness of pregnant women. Yet, some vitamins and minerals are unnecessary while others may be insufficient. For increased effectiveness, the pharmacist may recommend compounding. A compounding pharmacist can create a special supplement or multivitamin with the exact quantities necessary for overall health. The patient’s doctor or OB/GYN can recommend what vitamins and minerals are necessary, then the pharmacist can create the vitamin.
Trust your pharmacist
Pregnancy is an exciting experience. There are many moving parts, and women want to be healthy for the process. Supplements can help, but a pharmacist should review these first. Ask as many questions as possible when starting or continuing supplements. These questions may sound simple but can be vital for a healthy baby.