Why Some Moms Should Skip Prenatal Vitamins

pregnant woman with pills

There are plenty of 'don'ts' for a mom-to-be during her nine months of pregnancy. From soft cheeses to alcohol, doctors recommend against plenty of intakes, but one thing that most doctors seem to agree on is folic acid. But new information is showing that folic acid might actually be poisonous to some women.


Doctors urge women, including those trying to conceive, to take folic acid because a deficiency could lead to spina bifida, a defect that occurs in the first month of pregnancy when the fetus' spine does not develop properly. 

More from The Stir: Taking Prenatal Vitamins Before You're Pregnant: Everything You Need to Know

However, as a Daily Beast article points out, and as a American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics report shows, 10 to 15 percent of Caucasian and more than 25 percent of Hispanic women do not properly metabolize folic acid. In fact, this percentage of women have a defect called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR for short), and cannot digest folic acid. This MTHFR gene mutation can lead to blood clots, heart disease, and miscarriages and usually manifests itself through migraines, anxiety, depression, strokes, and cancers.

However,  there are three fast and easy tests that are typically covered by insurance that check a women's possible MTHFR gene mutation. There is an oral swab, blood test, or saliva option to test for MTHFR, and if not covered by insurance, is typically less than $200. For women who are looking to get pregnant, or for those who have already conceived, the new information could open up a slew of options.

Would you consider getting an MTHFR test?


Image via Halfpoint/shutterstock

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