Supplementation During Pregnancy Is Critical—U.S. medical organizations recommend multivitamins for pregnant women

Washington, D.C., July 12, 2016In response to a  report1 titled “Vitamin supplementation in pregnancy,” published  today in the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, issued the following statement:

Statement by Duffy MacKay, N.D., senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN: 

“Reputable medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Endocrine Society, and the American Thyroid Association, recommend that pregnant women take a multivitamin as a way to assure they are getting adequate nutrients such as folic acid and iodine that are critical for the development and well-being of the fetus, as well as for their own health. In fact, iodine is now recognized as a nutrient so critical to the cognitive development of the baby during pregnancy that CRN recently developed guidelines urging the dietary supplement industry to ensure that prenatal multivitamins contain at least 150 mcg of iodine daily.

Good nutrition during pregnancy is so important for healthy babies and mothers, and pregnancy and breastfeeding are the only times when what a woman eats directly impacts another life. The scientific evidence is clear—requirements for folic acid, calcium, iron, iodine, protein, and other nutrients go up during pregnancy—and the consequences of not getting enough can be significant for both mother and child. In addition, we know from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines that most Americans fall short in key nutrients, and pregnancy is no exception, especially if you consider appetite changes and nausea that can accompany pregnancy.

The study’s authors dismay from the lack of more clinical evidence in support of supplement usage during pregnancy. It is unfortunate that, in addition to disregarding the immense value a multivitamin and its ingredients can provide pregnant women, the authors fail to acknowledge that conducting randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on a multivitamin in pregnant women would be unethical as you cannot deprive a pregnant woman of essential nutrients. When the totality of all available evidence is considered, the value of nutrient supplementation during pregnancy makes a clear case.

We know that Americans are not getting all the nutrients they need from food alone. So while it’s ideal to strive to get the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of key nutrients from diet only, realistically, there will be shortfalls and dietary supplements fill those gaps. Pregnancy is no time to gamble. The alarming headlines that issued after this report published could lead to serious repercussions. We hope that other health organizations and healthcare practitioners will step up and speak out against the irresponsible nature of this report in order to protect the health of our pregnant population.”

1. Vitamin supplementation in pregnancy. Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin. Published online July 11, 2016.

Note to Editor: The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 150+ dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit Follow us on Twitter @crn_supplements and @wannabewell and on Facebook.