You take prenatal vitamins on the advice of your doctor. You take them because you want to do everything you can to ensure that your pregnancy and your baby are healthy. You take them every day, feeling reasured you are doing something really good for that kid in there kicking you. You smile and pat your belly…
Then you hear that your prenatal vitamins may be laced with lead.
The Food and Drug Administration began testing vitamins for women and children in 2007, after hearing rumblings that there were elevated lead levels in some over the counter supplements. The vitamin research covered 324 multivitamin and mineral products available online.
Only four were free of lead. Out of 324. Yep.
However, in something that closely resembles English — but is not English — the government agency indicates prenatals, as well as the other tested vitamins for women and children, are not unsafe.
Estimates of Pb exposures for all products were below the PTTI levels for the at-risk population groups of children, pregnant and lactating women and adult women.
What’d I tell ya? Not English!
Here is the F.D.A. report, with a complete list of tested vitamins, as well as charts and graphs. You’ll feel like you’re back in college! In no time you’ll be looking for someone else to read the report for you — and take notes — while you go play frisbee.
Yeah, I know you.
Back to the issue at hand, it is simply shocking, to me, that you would find any trace of lead in a product like prenatal vitamins, when we have been warned again and again about the danger of lead exposure to our children. The March of Dimes website says the following…
Lead poses health risks for everyone, but young children and unborn babies are at greatest risk. Exposure to high levels of lead during pregnancy contributes to miscarriage, preterm delivery, low birthweight and developmental delays in the infant. Lead is harmful even after birth. Children exposed to high levels of lead may develop behavioral and learning problems, slowed growth and hearing loss.
It’s really enough to make you want to cry.
So what do we do? Well, remember, this information only reflects testing on over the counter prenatal vitamins (Like the ones I took. Awesome). You could talk to your doctor about the prescription variety. I do not know if these vitamins have been tested for lead content, and — if so — how they fared. I’ll keep looking, and I’ll let you know what I find.
You could also take a look at the following lists, and choose your OTC prenatal accordingly…
Top 10 pre and postnatal vitamins with the lowest lead content
1. After Baby Boost 2
2. Nature’s Sunshine Nature’s Prenatal
3. Nature’s Plus Prenatal Liquid
4. Natrol PreNatal Care
5. Pregnancy Plus
6. Pure Encapsulations PreNatal Nutrients
7. Maxi Health One Prenatal
8. Nature’s Bounty Prenatal
9. Stuart Prenatal
10. Natural Wealth Prenatal
Top 10 pre and postnatal vitamins with the highest lead content
1. After Baby Boost 1
2. A to Z Naturals Wow! PreNatal
3. Vitamin Source Prenatal Complete
4. Prenatal Superior
5. Rainbow Light Complete Prenatal System
6. Buried Treasure Prenatal Plus DHA Complete
7. DaVinci Laboratories Ultimate Prenatal
8. Life Time Professional Pre-Natal Formula
9. Daily Foods Baby & Me
10. Carol Bond Women’s Choice Prenatal
As far as vitamins for your infant (0 to 6 mos), here’s some good info…
F.D.A. tests found these products have no lead:
Natrol Liquid Kids Companion (Liquid)
NF Formulas Liquid Pediatric (Liquid)
Twinlab Infant Care (Liquid)
These products had some lead, but in the lowest levels detected in the F.D.A. tests:
Windmill Bite-A-Mins (Tablet/Capsule)
Kids Liquid Dolphin Pals (Liquid)
My First Flintstones (Tablet/Capsule)
Natural Wealth Children’s Chewable Multivitamins Plus Extra C (Tablet/Capsule)
Uno Diario Ninos (Tablet/Capsule)
Flintstones Plus Immunity Support (Tablet/Capsule)
Natural Wealth Children’s Chewable Multivitamins (Tablet/Capsule)
Information like this can overwhelm you, I know. I’ve met more than one mom who has thrown her hands in the air in desperate frustration because, no matter where she turns, she finds out another product she trusts may be dangerous to her child. I have surely felt this way myself.
This is what I do. I take a deep breath, and then I pick my battles. We can’t fight them all!** I think this is one we can manage, mom. We’ll just buy our vitamins a little more selectively.
Onward and upward!
For much more information on prenatal Health and Nutrition, please listen to our Pea in the Podcast on the subject here.
**Actually, I have a good mommy friend who tries very hard to fight all the mommy battles out there, and actually manages to win most of them. I hate my friend.