Vitamin A Derivatives Can Be Harmful During Pregnancy

What's good enough for Bugs Bunny probably isn't good for the baby. And the item of choice isn't carrots, but what's in them, namely Vitamin A. It's not a big deal if the vitamin comes in a more natural state in foods such as carrots and other orange and yellow veggies or other staples as fish, liver, milk, and eggs. But if one takes it as a supplement while pregnant, the risk to an unborn baby's well-being increases.

Much of it has to do with retinoids, a synthetic compound that's closely related to Vitamin A which could cause birth defects in babies. The synthetic derivative is frequently used in more dermatological applications, namely as a wrinkle reducer that speeds up the replacement of epidermal cells and helps with the unclogging of pores. It's also medicinally effective against diseases like acne and psoriasis.

However, the same component has been known to inhibit baby development. And it's enough of a concern for practitioners to give it a name: fetal retinoid syndrome. This refers to the defects associated with using retinoids while pregnant including the increased likelihood of growth delays during and after pregnancy, facial and skull malformations, and abnormalities affecting the heart and central nervous system.


More popular retinoids are available as over-the-counter skin treatments in a less concentrated form known as retinol. These are normally rubbed into the skin to boost collagen growth, which is critical to maintaining skin elasticity. According to most doctors, the ointment variation poses little risk since it's applied externally. It's only when retinoids are ingested that a pregnant mother should be concerned.

Expectant mothers who still believe that they need the derivative should take it under the close supervision of a doctor but should avoid it at all costs if they're already on a hormonal contraceptive. However, if you take your vitamins the old-fashioned way, choosing vitamin-rich foods to pack your diet with, your baby will benefit from the potential for better visual health and an even better immune system with all the natural building blocks to take on the world.


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