Gaining some weight during pregnancy is normal. What’s more, it’s even healthy both for you and your baby in the long run. Failing to put on enough weight can lead to various complications, including premature birth, low birth weight, etc.
Though there are some studies confirming the beneficial effects of supplementing pregnant women with certain micronutrient supplements on adequate birth weight, the effects of multivitamins are still largely understudied.
Since gestational weight gain (or weight you gain during pregnancy) is a modifiable factor, a study published in The Journal of Nutrition in late 2021 set out to explore the effects of multivitamin supplementation on gestational weight gain.
The study followed 7,573 Tanzanian women with singleton pregnancies 12–27 weeks pregnant.
The study participants were prescribed to take a daily dose of multivitamin supplements or a placebo until delivery. Additionally, the participants’ weight was measured on each follow-up visit.
The outcomes were classified as severely inadequate weight gain (<70% of the weight gain recommended by the Institute of Medicine), inadequate (<90%) and excessive (>125%) weight gain.
The conclusions were the following — multivitamin supplementation increased gestational weight, that is, it ensured adequate weight gain during pregnancy.
The mean percentage adequacy of gestational weight gain in the supplements group was 96.7%, while the values were slightly lower for the placebo group — 94.4%.
But what does this mean?
The answer is simple. Taking multivitamin supplements puts women at a significantly lower risk of inadequate and severely inadequate gestational weight gain, both of which can contribute to adverse birth outcomes.
Therefore, according to the study, it might be a good idea to combine your standard prenatal supplements, iron, and folic acid with multivitamin supplements.