Benefits of Vitamin E During Pregnancy

Written by: Jasmin Kaur ; LIU Post Dietetic Interns
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Palmer, DO
In this article:

★ WHY IS VITAMIN E SO IMPORTANT DURING PREGNANCY? 

★ HOW MUCH VITAMIN E DURING PREGNANCY? 

★ WHAT IF YOU CONSUME TOO MUCH VITAMIN E DURING PREGNANCY? 

★ VITAMIN E FOR THE SKIN

★ IS VITAMIN E OIL GOOD FOR STRETCH MARKS DURING PREGNANCY? 

★ FOODS HIGH IN VITAMIN E 

★ ROLE OF VITAMIN E IN EMBRYO DEVELOPMENT  

★ THE BEST PRENATAL VITAMIN WITH VITAMIN E 

Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that protect the body's cells from damage created by free radicals. Vitamin E's many health benefits include improving your immune system, expanding blood vessels, and preventing blood clots from occurring.

So what is vitamin E good for while pregnant? Studies have shown that consumption of vitamin E during early pregnancy can provide neuro and brain development benefits to the child. Additionally, consuming a nutritionally adequate diet rich in vitamin E may decrease the risk of a miscarriage or preterm birth.

We will be discussing if it is safe to take vitamin E during pregnancy, how much vitamin E is too much during pregnancy, the role of vitamin E during pregnancy for embryo development, and the sources enriched of vitamin E in foods. 

★ WHY IS VITAMIN E SO IMPORTANT DURING PREGNANCY?

Vitamin E is an essential nutrient that helps protect cells from free radicals. Cells develop and grow rapidly during pregnancy. Vitamin E plays a vital role in protecting your developing baby from free radicals. It also helps create and maintain red blood cells, eyes, and skin and strengthens your immune system. 

Vitamin E is an antioxidant and is known to decrease oxidative stress within the body. Research suggests that increased oxidative stress within the body while pregnant is linked to health conditions such as pre-eclampsia, low birth weight, PROM, and chronic diseases later in adult life. Additionally, a healthy amount of vitamin E from the diet helps protect and reduce placental aging hypertensive disorders such as preeclampsia during pregnancy, miscarriage, and premature birth.

Vitamin E is important for the formation of red blood cells. It is also used by body cells to interact with one another and perform vital functions. According to the American Optometric Associates, “Vitamin E protects cells in the eyes from unstable molecules called free radicals, which break down healthy tissue.” It also helps strengthen the immune system to protect the body against viruses and bacteria. 

★ HOW MUCH VITAMIN E DURING PREGNANCY? 

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is recommended to be taken daily during pregnancy. The recommended daily dose of vitamin E during pregnancy is 15-30 mg. During pregnancy, high doses of vitamins, in general, can cause complications. Consult with your doctor before taking an additional supplement. Most prenatal vitamins already contain vitamin E.

Did you know that vitamin E is considered an essential vitamin during pregnancy? This is because your body cannot produce it!

★ WHAT IF YOU CONSUME TOO MUCH VITAMIN E DURING PREGNANCY? 

Vitamin E, also known as alpha-tocopherol, is a fat-soluble vitamin. This form of vitamin is dispersed in the body, and then any extra is stored in the liver and fat cells. Overconsumption can lead to toxicity and birth defects.

Some studies have shown that excessive consumption of vitamin E can lead to an issue with blood clotting in the fetus and a higher level of bilirubin and nuclear jaundice. It can also lead to an issue with the absorption and usage of A, D, and K in pregnant women.

★ VITAMIN E FOR THE SKIN

Once you consume vitamin E, it is provided to the skin by sebum, the oily secretions produced by sebaceous glands. This skin oil is the body’s natural moisturizer. It creates a natural barrier to protect the skin from external pathogens like infections by bacteria and fungi and loss of water. The sebaceous glands appear everywhere on the body, except the palms and soles. 

That being said, maybe celebrity Cameron Diaz is on to something about never washing her face. Sebum, the excess oil your pores produce, is vitamin E helping moisturize your skin. Instead of washing your face, try using oil blotting wipes. 

Using a topical with vitamin E’s powerful antioxidant may help nourish and protect your skin from damages caused by free radicals, such as UV damage. Sunburn is caused by ultraviolet light, which destroys the outer and deeper layers of the skin. Sunscreen helps to prevent this. Vitamin E is known to protect against sunburn and dryness and has been the skin’s UV defense. Those are some of the many vitamin E benefits for the skin during pregnancy.

★ IS VITAMIN E OIL GOOD FOR STRETCH MARKS DURING PREGNANCY? 

Yes, including vitamin E oil and/or vitamin E-based topicals in your skincare regime can prevent and fade developed stretch marks for pregnancy. Stretch marks are common during pregnancy. According to studies, around 8 out of 10 pregnant women get stretch marks as pregnancy progresses on various body parts, like the belly, breasts, and sometimes on your upper thighs. Don’t worry, this is totally normal.

Vitamin E intake causes the skin to glow by stimulating blood flow to the skin and increasing collagen production. Topical vitamin E oil during pregnancy improves skin elasticity by increasing the amount of nutrients inside your skin. Your skin is less susceptible to stretch marks and tears with more elasticity. A topical application also supports new skin cell growth and encourages cell regeneration. 

Stretch marks occur when you drastically gain or lose weight in a short time span. This happens so quickly that the middle layer of the skin (dermis), tears apart. Itchy, dry skin and poor hydration are other possible adverse effects. One of the best ways to avoid long-term stretch mark scarring during pregnancy is getting a head start with early application.

Did you know vitamin E can also help prepare you for vaginal birth and reduce the chance of an episiotomy? Experts recommend using perineal massage oil to help increase the skin’s elasticity between your vagina and anus. Start applying perineal massage oil in this delicate area around 34 weeks to reduce the chance of tearing during delivery. Check out our Perineal massage oil by Irene Organics, made with USDA Certified Organic Ingredients and is toxin-free.

Vitamin E foods

★ FOODS HIGH IN VITAMIN E 

Some studies suggest consuming vitamin E rich-food lowers your risk of coronary heart disease in older men and women.

Here is a list of foods with the best source of vitamin E: 

  • Oils (e.g. wheat germ, safflower, sunflower, soybean, olive, canola
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Peanuts 
  • Peanut butter
  • Nut butter
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Vitamin E is found in some breakfast cereals, fruit juices, margarine, and some spreads

★ ROLE OF VITAMIN E IN EMBRYO DEVELOPMENT 

An insufficient amount of vitamin E can negatively affect the development of an embryo during pregnancy. A deficiency of vitamin E has shown damaging results on the neurologic development of an embryo. This can ultimately cause the embryo to not develop completely and normally, leading to death and possibly miscarriage.

Vitamin E is essential during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Mainly when the embryonic brain and neurological development occurs because it protects DHA and choline from becoming excessively depleted from the body. DHA is seen to aid in neurologic, brain, and cellular growth. Similarly, choline helps protect and prevent the risk of neural tube defects in infants and improves children's cognitive functioning when taken early on during pregnancy.

In a research study that was conducted on Bangladeshi pregnant women, the individuals who had a lower intake of vitamin E during pregnancy exhibited having twice as many miscarriages. In contrast, those with adequate nutrition and a healthy range of vitamin E did not.

Best prenatal with vitamin E

★ THE BEST PRENATAL VITAMIN WITH VITAMIN E 

One of the best over-the-counter prenatal vitamins during pregnancy is Feed Mom & Me Complete Prenatal Vitamin with DHA

Many studies have shown that the combination of vitamin E with DHA helps to improve the cognitive function and neurological health of children whose mother’s have taken those together. 

More than vitamin E supplementation, multivitamins have been encouraged to take and supplemented early on during pregnancy. In some studies, vitamin E supplementation has shown to be effective and beneficial during pregnancy for infant development and maternal health. Whereas, in other studies, vitamin E does not show conclusive results in demonstrating its effectiveness during pregnancy.

Please check out our Benefits of Feed Mom & Me Complete Prenatal with DHA Multivitamin Blog for more information on prenatal vitamins. To purchase our gluten-free prenatal vitamins with vitamin E, click here! You got this mama, you and your little one are going to thrive!

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