Pregnancy remains the last frontier of medical science in my opinion. We not only have two people, we have two people intersecting, and it’s during a time that we can’t properly examine or study either of them.
But one of the few things we actually do know about pregnancy is the link between folate deficiency and neural tube development issues. In addition, scientists have recently explored how variations of the MTHFR gene may lead to the inability to process or “methylate” folic acid in its most common supplemental form. For those women (like me), it’s best to take supplements which have folic acid in its methylated form called L-methylfolate.
When I switched to a prenatal with methylated folate, it was like a whole new world. I didn’t get nauseous or dizzy or have a racing heart-rate. And I no longer had that wretched constipated feeling - which is the main reason why women mistakenly think they are gaining weight from their prenatal.
If you can’t get the MTHFR test, I would recommend taking a prenatal that has methylated folate in it just in case. This may be your ticket to a new world too, free from prenatal vitamin side-effects! Smarty Pants & Naturelo are both great brands, but I encourage you to keep trying until you find one that genuinely works for you. Don’t force yourself to suffer through it just because you bought it! I would also recommend buying them from a reputable store like Target or Walgreens, to avoid the potentially dangerous counterfeits on Amazon.
Lastly, don’t overdo it. While we know that not enough is definitely bad for the baby, too much may also be bad for the baby. (Oh great, one more thing we have to get perfect?!) Research from Johns Hopkins states that if a new mother has “more than four times the level of folate in her blood, the risk that her child will develop a condition on the autism spectrum doubles. Very high vitamin B12 levels in new moms are also potentially harmful, tripling the risk that her offspring will develop an autism spectrum disorder. If both levels are extremely high, the risk that a child develops the condition increases 17.6 times.”
And, on that discomfiting note I will sign off. Until we know more about the prenatal vitamin, take it easy - but take it.