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  1. Helen Noble
  1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queens University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Helen Noble, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queens University Belfast, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK; helen.noble{at}

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Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB)

Vitamin supplementation in pregnancy

Ensuring that a woman is well nourished, both before and during pregnancy, is crucial for the health of the woman and that of the unborn child. Maternal deficiency in key nutrients has been linked to pre-eclampsia, restricted fetal growth, neural tube defects, skeletal deformity and low birth weight. Many nutritional supplements containing vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients are heavily marketed to women for all stages of pregnancy. However, much of the evidence for vitamin supplementation in pregnancy comes from studies carried out in low-income countries, where women are more likely to be undernourished or malnourished than within the UK population. The challenges lie in knowing which supplements are beneficial and in improving uptake among those at most need. Here, we summarise current UK guidance for vitamin supplementation in pregnancy and review the evidence behind it. DTB 2016;54:81–4.

Medicines, excipients and dietary intolerances

Medicinal products contain not only active drugs but also other ingredients included for a variety of purposes and collectively known as excipients. People who wish to avoid a specific substance because of an allergy or intolerance may ask a healthcare professional about the constituents of a medicine and whether an alternative is available. In a previous article, we discussed the issues facing people who wish to avoid certain substances for religious or cultural reasons. Here, we …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.