vitamin b12 deficiency in pregnancy

Till now many pregnant and nursing mothers don't know that a vitamin b12 deficiency can have serious and also lasting effects on your baby. Here's you can find why and what to do about it.

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If you are trying to conceive or you are pregnant, you know that taking folic acid is essential for the healthy development of your baby. But according to the study of World Health Organization, vitamin B12 is just as important in preventing neural tube and other neurological defects in infants. But unfortunately as many as 1 in 20 adults is deficient in this essential vitamin.

b12 benefits

b12 vitamin helps to keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and it also helps to make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. So b12 vitamin Is important.

vitamin b12 deficiency anemia is associated with increased risk for several adverse pregnancy outcomes for both mother and her fetus.

These risks include

Neural tube defects,

Intrauterine growth retardation,  

Preeclampsia and early miscarriage,

Developmental delays and also Neurological in babies that can be caused by a deficiency are irreversible.

What is vitamin b12 deficiency

vitamin b12 deficiency anemia is a condition,in that case your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells, due to a lack  of b12 vitaminb12 vitamin is needed to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all parts of our body. So without enough red blood cells, our tissues and organs don’t get enough oxygen. And without enough oxygen, our body can’t function as well.

Folate, popularly known as folic acid, is another B vitamin. Anemia caused by a lack of b12 vitamin or a lack of folate.There are 2 types of megaloblastic anemia. In these types of anemia, the red blood cells don’t develop normally.

They are not round like healthy red blood cells, they are very large and shaped like an oval.

In some of the Cases red blood cells die sooner than normal time,causes the bone marrow to make fewer red blood cells.

When we don't have enough red blood cells, our body doesn’t get the oxygen it needs to work like it should. Anemia or vitamin b12 deficiency may make us feel tired, weak, and short of breath.

Normal level of b12

Even at high doses of b12 vitamin, its generally consider safe, but though vitamins b12 is a water soluble vitamin.

Due to its low level of toxicity, no tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) has been established for b12 vitamin, . The UL refers to the maximum daily dose of a vitamin unlikely to cause adverse side effects in the general population.

This  has not been set for b12 vitamin because your body excretes whatever it doesn’t use through your urine.

But on the other hand, excessively high levels of b12 vitamin has been linked to some negative side effects also.

Several medical studies have shown that excessive high doses of the vitamin can lead to outbreaks of acne and rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness and pus-filled bumps on the face.

There is also some evidence , which told us ,high doses of b12 vitamin may lead to negative health outcomes like diabetes or kidney disease.

One medical study also found that people with diabetic or loss of kidney function due to diabetes ,experienced a more rapid decline in kidney function when supplemented with high-dose B vitamins, including 1 mg per day of b12 vitamin.

High dose of B vitamins had a greater risk of heart attack, stroke and death.

Some other medical study in pregnant women showed that extremely high B12 levels due to vitamin supplements increased the risk of autism spectrum disorder in their offspring

But on the other hand there is evidence that supplementing with B12 may cause negative health outcomes,

Medical studies described that,  up to 2 mg (2,000 mcg) daily oral supplements of vitamins b12  are safe and effective in treating deficiency of vitamin b12

In male and female,the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg, on the other hand pregnant and breastfeeding women have a higher need

vitamin b12 deficiency causes

If you don't get enough vitamin B12 in your food and diet like milk, eggs, and meat,you can get vitamin b12 deficiency anemia. If you're older, or you eat a vegetarian diet, then you are more likely to be low in this vitamin . It can also happen if your body can't absorb enough of it from the foods you eat.

A protein in our stomach makes called “intrinsic factor” and it helps our body absorb b12 vitamin. When we don't have enough vitamin B12 we have a type of deficiency of vitamin b12 anemia called “pernicious anemia.”

pernicious anemia

When the blood is low in normal red blood cells.then it is called pernicious anemia. This is one cause of vitamin b12 deficiency anemia. It is mainly caused by an autoimmune process that makes a person unable to produce a substance in the stomach called intrinsic factor.

This intrinsic factor is needed to absorb dietary vitamin B-12 in the small intestine. This vitamin B-12 is a required nutrient that helps allow proper red blood cell production and function in the body.

Pernicious anemia is a rare condition, with a prevalence of only one percent in the general population and less than two percent in people who are older than 60 years.

However, up to 50 percent Source of anemia from vitamin B-12 deficiency in adults is caused by pernicious anemia.

This type of anemia is called “pernicious anemia.” as it was once considered a deadly disease.

But Today, though, the disease is relatively easy to treat with vitamin B-12 injections or possibly even oral supplementation.

But on the other hand, if it left untreated, deficiency of vitamin b12 due to any cause can lead to severe complications.

You can get pernicious anemia if:

When You have an autoimmune disease that makes your immune system attack the cells in your stomach that produce intrinsic factor.

When You have surgery to remove part of your stomach, where intrinsic factor is made.

Your body also might not absorb enough vitamin B12 if:

You have a disease like, Crohn's disease, HIV, or some infections.
that affects how nutrients are absorbed in your intestines.

You have certain bad bacteria in your intestines.

When You take some medicines like as antibiotics and anti-seizure drugs.

You've had surgery to remove part of your intestines or when you've been infected with a tapeworm.

symptoms of vitamin b12 deficiency

vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms include weakness, tiredness, or light-headedness, rapid heartbeat and breathing, pale skin, sore tongue, easy bruising or bleeding, including bleeding gums, stomach upset, weight loss, diarrhea or constipation,

One of the main causes of deficiency include vitamin B12 malabsorption from food, pernicious anemia, post-surgical malabsorption, and dietary deficiency. However, in many cases, the cause of deficiency of vitamin b12 is unknown. Your risk for deficiency can be assessed by your doctor or care giver ,based on your all symptoms, your diet, your prior medical and surgical history, and complete blood cell count.

vitamin b12 deficiency treatment

At first you'll need shots of this vitamin,if you have pernicious anemia or have trouble absorbing vitamin B12, . Some time you may need to keep getting these shots, take high doses of a supplement by mouth, or get it nasally after that.

You have options, if you don't eat animal products, . More over you can change your diet to include vitamin B12-fortified grains, a supplement or B12 injections, or a high-dose oral vitamin B12 if you are deficient.

Older than adults who have a vitamin B12 deficiency will likely have to take a daily B12 supplement or a multivitamin that contains B12.

For most of the people, treatment resolves the problem. But on the other hand any nerve damage that happened due to the deficiency of vitamin b12 could be permanent.

vitamin b12 foods

Pregnant and nursing moms consume 2.8 micrograms (mcg) of B12 per day, that is recommended by The National Institutes of Health. Most of the people get that amounts of vitamine through fortified foods and animal products like beef, liver, and clams, which are the best sources of the vitamin according to the researchers, as well as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products.

The problem comes when you're cutting back on meat and dairy products. "Plant foods have no vitamin B12 unless they are fortified, which is why the American Dietetic Association recommends supplemental vitamin B12 for vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians during both pregnancy and lactation. Vegetarians people may also consider consulting their doctor on supplementation.

Prenatal vitamins contain B12. But human beings are not good at absorbing this particular vitamin; we only absorb 1-2 percent of a typical B complex supplement. Those who suffer from  celiac or Crohn's, which affect the part of the bowel that absorbs the vitamin, or who have had bariatric surgery are also at risk of a deficiency. So also taking a B complex vitamin, containing a dose of 1000 mcg, is advisable by the doctor.


Most of the none veg people can prevent vitamin B12 deficiency by eating enough meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, and eggs.

If you are veg and don't eat animal products, or you have a medical condition that limits how well your body absorbs nutrients, you can take vitamin B12 in a multivitamin or other supplement and foods fortified with vitamin B12.

If you choose to take vitamin B12 supplements, let your doctor know, so that they can tell you how much you need, or make sure they won't affect any medicines you're taking.

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