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Vitamin E & Your Baby

April 10, 2009, 5:12 PM by Kelli Grant

Vitamin E & Your Baby
One of the most common supplements is now considered dangerous for pregnant women.  Researchers say too much Vitamin E may cause congenital heart defects in babies.

Viollca Pervizi and her five-week-old son are happy and healthy.

"You just want to have the best experience and the healthiest baby," Pervizi said.

During her pregnancy, she followed her doctor’s orders. She ate a balanced diet and didn't take any supplements other than the recommended pre-natal vitamins.

"Anyone who's pregnant, you get worried that anything you put into your body or anything you do is going to affect the baby," she said.

And now researchers say she was right on target. A new study warns that taking Vitamin E supplements while pregnant, or trying to conceive, greatly increases the risk of congenital heart defects.

"We think that high quantities of Vitamin E can actually damage cells. It can alter gene express and cell development," OBGYN Dr. Jennifer Wu said.  "Patients should speak with their doctors before taking any additional supplements, vitamins, herbal supplements, these can all impact the developing fetus. And they may not realize it.”

Pregnancy can be a stressful time.

"Every time I had a concern, I would call my doctor and ask her if it was OK," Pervizi said.

Doctors say the bottom line is, for most women, a normal diet and a recommended pre-natal vitamin are what's best for mom and baby.

The studies research showed that women who ate a diet high in Vitamin E and took the recommended daily amount of 15 milligrams a day during the first two months of pregnancy were nine times more likely to have a baby with heart defects. And the risk was the same for women in the month prior to conception.

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