Vitamin B6 and Pregnancy

It is a good idea for most pregnant women to take vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Pregnancy problems (such as birth defects) could occur as a result of a severe vitamin B6 deficiency. There is also some concern that taking very high doses of vitamin B6 during pregnancy can lead to seizures in the newborn. For most women, this vitamin can be obtained through a prenatal vitamin.

An Overview of Vitamin B6 and Pregnancy

Pregnant women have a slightly increased need for vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), compared to other individuals. Mild vitamin B6 deficiencies appear to be common among pregnant women and do not seem to cause any significant problems. Vitamin B6 may be a beneficial morning sickness treatment for some women.

Am I Getting Enough Vitamin B6 During Pregnancy?

The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of vitamin B6 for pregnant women is 1.9 mg per day, compared to 1.3 mg per day for most other women of childbearing age. Many women easily get plenty of vitamin B6 through a healthy and well-rounded diet. However, it is probably a good idea to take a prenatal vitamin during pregnancy, which will make sure you get enough vitamin B6 (as well as several other vitamins).
Animal research suggests that a severe vitamin B6 deficiency might cause birth defects or other problems, although it is not clear if the same is true for humans. Mild to moderate deficiencies do not appear to cause serious problems (for either the mother or the fetus).

Vitamin B6 for Morning Sickness

Vitamin B6 is often recommended for treating morning sickness. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends it as one of the first treatments to try for this problem. However, it is probably not a good idea to use vitamin B6 (especially in high doses) to treat morning sickness without your healthcare provider's approval and supervision. There is some concern that taking very high doses of vitamin B6 throughout pregnancy could lead to seizures in the newborn.

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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
Pregnancy and Pain