We store Vitamin A in our liver. For pregnant women, this vitamin is essential as it helps the baby’s body parts like the liver, heart, lungs, bones, eyes, etc., to develop. Plus, it helps repair the postpartum tissue in those who’re about to give birth. Other functions of vitamin A are supporting your immune system, fat metabolism, and improving your vision.

Now, Vitamin A comes in two forms; Performed vitamin A or retinol, which our bodies directly use and can be found in eggs, milk, liver, and other animal products, and Provitamin A carotenoids such as beta carotene that must be converted into retinol and can be found in fruits and vegetables.

What’s the Correct Vitamin A Dosage for Women?

Well, this depends on the age and whether they’re pregnant or breastfeeding. For unpregnant women who are 14 years and above, 700 mcg RAE/day should be enough. For those who are pregnant and are 18 years and younger, they should take 700 mcg RAE/day, whereas if she’s 19 years and above, 770 mcg is enough.

Breastfeeding women need a higher dose of 1200 mcg and 1300 mcg RAE per day if she’s 18 years and younger and nineteen years and older, respectively.

RAE stands for Retinol Activity Equivalent, which is the standard measurement of Vitamin A based on its potent and its source. One microgram (mcg) of preformed Vitamin A is equivalent to 1 mcg RAE. However, it’ll take 12 mcg of beta carotene or 24 mcg of alpha-carotene to make 1mcg of RAE.

The measurements can also be represented in International Unit (IU), especially in Vitamin A supplements. However, converting IU is a bit tricky since it depends on the type of vitamin A. For instance, 900 mcg RAE can be between 3000-36000 IU of vitamin A.

What Amount of Vitamin A Is Too Much for a Pregnant Woman?

You can get vitamin A palmitate from animal products like eggs, meat, fish, etc. You are also eating fruits and vegetables that supply you with this vitamin in carotenoids form.

When one is pregnant, they shouldn’t consume too much preformed Vitamin A (palmitate vitamin A) as it may cause congenital disabilities and can be toxic to the liver. But, you can safely eat many fruits and vegetables that are high in carotenoids.

Women aged 19 years and above shouldn’t consume more than 3000 mcg RAE of preformed vitamin A even if they are breastfeeding. And those between 14-18 years, the maximum reach should be 2800 mcg RAE.

Pregnant women should speak to their doctor first before taking any supplements or prenatal vitamins. Although prenatal vitamins can have some vitamin A in beta-carotene form, some multivitamins, over-the-counter brands, and fortified foods may contain a high amount of preformed Vitamin A.

Also, if you are pregnant or trying to conceive, avoid an acne medication called isotretinoin, called Accutane, and other retinol-related drugs like Retin-A. While they can treat some skin conditions, research says that these drugs can cause congenital birth abnormalities.

Foods and prenatal vitamins should give you enough vitamin A. Therefore, it’s not advisable to take additional supplementation. However, if you are going to add any supplement, please talk to your doctor first.

Vitamin A Deficiency Among Pregnant Women

Since we can quickly get vitamin A from food, a person will rarely experience vitamin A deficiency unless it’s due to a medical condition. Some signs to watch out for include;

  • Impaired vision at night
  • Weak immune system
  • Inability to see in low light places

The name given to vitamin A deficiency is xerophthalmia, which is caused when the cornea is dry and thick.

Natural Vitamin A Sources

Vitamin A can be found in many foods. We can get preformed vitamin A in animal products and beta carotene in fruits and vegetables. Also, you can decide to take a vitamin A supplement, but you should stick to food sources for efficient absorption. Let us look at the different foods that have vitamin A;

Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C.
  • Squash- all squashes have vitamin A. However, pumpkin is the best as it offers 480 mcg of vitamin A in just a single slice.
  • Spinach- there’s a reason why experts regard spinach as a nutrient powerhouse. You can get more than 570 mcg of vitamin A in half a cup of spinach. And the good thing is you can consume this vegetable in several ways, including eating it raw, making a smoothie, or cooking it into a dish.
  • Liver- after supplements, the liver comes in second place as the richest vitamin A source. It has 6600 mcg, which is way more than the recommended daily intake. In fact, due to this high amount, some experts recommend eating liver-only once a week so that you don’t overconsume vitamin A.
  • Cantaloupe- heat can cause vitamin A to break down, which is why experts advise consuming it raw. And because cantaloupe is eaten raw, adding it to your diet will provide you with enough vitamin A. Per serving, a half cup of cantaloupe contains 135 mcg of vitamin A.
  • Sweet potato- one sweet potato contains 1400 mcg of vitamin A, which is more than the daily requirement. It’s an excellent choice for those who are on a plant-based diet.
  • Peppers- although all peppers contain some amount of vitamin A, red sweet peppers have it in high amounts, almost 120 mcg per half-cup serving. But, you can also get 18 mcg of vitamin A in green peppers.
  • Dairy- this is an excellent source of vitamin A. In the US, most dairy milk products are fortified with added vitamin A. The quantity in a single serving ranges from 100-300 mcg, depending on the source.
  • Carrots- these are an excellent source of beta-carotene. Eating half a cup of raw carrots supplies you with over 450 mcg of vitamin A.

Where Can I Get Synthetic Vitamin A?

Beta carotene is the natural form of vitamin A found in red, yellow, and some green fruits and vegetables. Its synthetic form is known as retinyl palmitate/acetate or beta-ionone. You can get this synthetic vitamin A from palm oil, but you’ll be contributing to deforestation.

What Will Happen When I Take Too Much Vitamin A?

Consuming too much-preformed vitamin A, especially in supplement form, can cause nausea, headaches, dizziness, or even coma and death in severe cases. It may also lead to childbirth defects in pregnant women. Therefore, avoid taking high dosages of vitamin A supplements, whether pregnant or not.

On the other hand, too much beta-carotene can make the skin turn yellow orange. But this isn’t dangerous, and it doesn’t present serious side effects like those that come with taking too much-preformed vitamin A.

How Can I Safely Care for My Skin During Pregnancy?

Everything changes when one is pregnant. And that includes your skincare products. Note that some ingredients can be absorbed into your body as well as your baby’s body. Therefore, you should ensure that you’re cautious for a safe pregnancy.

While most over-the-counter products are safe, some ingredients may harm your child. However, that doesn’t mean that you sacrifice your glow to protect your baby. You can still do both.

Note that skin changes are regular during pregnancy. That’s because of the hormonal shift that this condition brings. Some ladies may not experience any difference during the 9-months of pregnancy. But others experience acne, chloasma/melasma, and dry skin.

Skin changes can also affect other areas apart from the face. For instance, you may have stretch marks on your abdomen, spider veins, or hair loss. And those who already have a skin issue such as eczema or rosacea, the symptoms may become better or worse.

So, What Skincare Ingredients Should You Avoid When Pregnant?

Before we list these ingredients, we should mention that research on the safety of specific products when one is pregnant is limited. That’s because clinical trials that should be done on pregnant women to prove the safety of the ingredients are harmful in most cases.

However, some studies on animals and case studies have proven that some ingredients are dangerous when used during pregnancy. We should mention that while the Food Drug and Administration requires skincare products to be “safe,” it doesn’t necessarily need to approve them to be sold in the market. As such, individuals are left wondering what products safe and which ones are not. We, therefore, advise that you be cautious about the following ingredients;

Retinoids

We require vitamin A for normal eyesight, a better immune system, and reproductive as well as circulatory health. But, once this vitamin is consumed or absorbed into our bodies, it is converted into retinol.

Now, some anti-aging products use retinoids, which is a type of retinol. Retinoids can help fight acne while reducing fine lines since they help in exfoliation and collagen production.

However, higher doses of retinoids promote birth effects, which is why you should avoid prescription medications like Accutane (isotretinoin) and Retin-A (tretinoin). Accutane is linked to a 20-35% risk of severe congenital disabilities.

It’s why experts advise women in childbearing years who are taking Accutane to use two contraception forms, visit a doctor frequently for pregnancy and compliance monitoring, and stop this medication at least 1-2 months before they try to become pregnant.

Formaldehyde

Before, many products used this ingredient as a preservative and disinfectant. However, today it’s rarely used as it has been linked to miscarriage and infertility.

But, some cosmetics may contain formaldehyde-releasing chemicals that are potentially dangerous. The Environment Working Group advises women to look out for chemicals like bronopol, 5-Bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane, DMDM hydantoin, quaternion-1, Diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, and hydroxymethyl glycinate.

Hydroquinone

This ingredient is mainly used in skin lightening to treat hyperpigmentation that results from melasma and chloasma, common conditions among pregnant women. Well, it’s not yet proven whether hydroquinone can cause congenital disabilities or side effects. However, since our body can easily absorb hydroquinone, as much as 25-35%, you should use it sparingly or entirely avoid it if it’s possible.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory properties. As such, it’s mainly used to treat acne. However, a 2013 study concluded that high dosages of salicylic acid during pregnancy should be avoided as they could be potentially dangerous. That means you check the percentage of this acid in your oral peels and medications before using them. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises pregnant women to stick to a lower dosage of this acid on their topical OTC products.

Chemical Sunscreens

Most chemical sunscreens use oxybenzone to filter out the UV rays from the sun. However, research says that it has adverse health and environmental effects. Since this substance disrupts the endocrine, experts argue that it could lead to hormonal disruption, damaging the baby and the mother permanently.

A 2018 study found out that oxybenzone could cause permanent changes to lactation and mammary glands. Another study has linked it to permanent fetal damage, which can cause conditions like Alzheimer’s disease as a person grows into adulthood.

So, while the chemical is effective in protecting against sunlight, please avoid it during pregnancy.

Phthalates

These are chemicals found in many beauty products. However, research conducted on animals’ links phthalates with severe hormonal and reproductive dysfunction.

Also, some human studies are available to support this. But more research is still going on to prove the effects of phthalates on genetic reproductive health. Watch out for products with diethyl phthalate (DPP), as it is a form of phthalate.

Before we list these ingredients, we should mention that research on the safety of specific products when one is pregnant is limited. That’s because clinical trials that should be done on pregnant women to prove the safety of the ingredients are harmful in most cases.

However, some studies on animals and case studies have proven that some ingredients are dangerous when used during pregnancy. We should mention that while the Food Drug and Administration requires skincare products to be “safe,” it doesn’t necessarily need to approve them to be sold in the market. As such, individuals are left wondering what products safe and which ones are not. We, therefore, advise that you be cautious about the following ingredients;

Retinoids

We require vitamin A for normal eyesight, a better immune system, and reproductive as well as circulatory health. But, once this vitamin is consumed or absorbed into our bodies, it is converted into retinol.

Now, some anti-aging products use retinoids, which is a type of retinol. Retinoids can help fight acne while reducing fine lines since they help in exfoliation and collagen production.

However, higher doses of retinoids promote birth effects, which is why you should avoid prescription medications like Accutane (isotretinoin) and Retin-A (tretinoin). Accutane is linked to a 20-35% risk of severe congenital disabilities.

It’s why experts advise women in childbearing years who are taking Accutane to use two contraception forms, visit a doctor frequently for pregnancy and compliance monitoring, and stop this medication at least 1-2 months before they try to become pregnant.

Formaldehyde

Before, many products used this ingredient as a preservative and disinfectant. However, today it’s rarely used as it has been linked to miscarriage and infertility.

But, some cosmetics may contain formaldehyde-releasing chemicals that are potentially dangerous. The Environment Working Group advises women to look out for chemicals like bronopol, 5-Bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane, DMDM hydantoin, quaternion-1, Diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, and hydroxymethyl glycinate.

Hydroquinone

This ingredient is mainly used in skin lightening to treat hyperpigmentation that results from melasma and chloasma, common conditions among pregnant women. Well, it’s not yet proven whether hydroquinone can cause congenital disabilities or side effects. However, since our body can easily absorb hydroquinone, as much as 25-35%, you should use it sparingly or entirely avoid it if it’s possible.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory properties. As such, it’s mainly used to treat acne. However, a 2013 study concluded that high dosages of salicylic acid during pregnancy should be avoided as they could be potentially dangerous. That means you check the percentage of this acid in your oral peels and medications before using them. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises pregnant women to stick to a lower dosage of this acid on their topical OTC products.

Chemical Sunscreens

Most chemical sunscreens use oxybenzone to filter out the UV rays from the sun. However, research says that it has adverse health and environmental effects. Since this substance disrupts the endocrine, experts argue that it could lead to hormonal disruption, damaging the baby and the mother permanently.

A 2018 study found out that oxybenzone could cause permanent changes to lactation and mammary glands. Another study has linked it to permanent fetal damage, which can cause conditions like Alzheimer’s disease as a person grows into adulthood.

So, while the chemical is effective in protecting against sunlight, please avoid it during pregnancy.

Phthalates

These are chemicals found in many beauty products. However, research conducted on animals’ links phthalates with severe hormonal and reproductive dysfunction.

Also, some human studies are available to support this. But more research is still going on to prove the effects of phthalates on genetic reproductive health. Watch out for products with diethyl phthalate (DPP), as it is a form of phthalate.

What Is the Natural Skin Alternative Ingredients for Vitamin A?

Retinol has been universally accepted as a substance used to fight wrinkles and treat other skin conditions. It can brighten skin, boost collagen production, and fight hyperpigmentation. However, this ingredient may cause some issues, especially on sensitive skin.

Now, retinol is a vitamin A chemical derivative. And because individuals are advised to use natural ingredients in beauty, you may be wondering if there’s a natural alternative that delivers similar or close results as retinol. And the good news is there is. It’s called bakuchiol.

Bakuchiol comes from the babchi plant, which has been used for a long time in ayurvedic medicines. Like traditional retinol creams, this substance helps fade dark spots and wrinkles and prevent their appearance while softening and smoothening the skin and making it elastic. Thankfully, bakuchiol doesn’t irritate like the traditional retinol cream. Therefore, you can safely use it on its own or in creams and serums.

Also, you can opt for natural oils as they don’t have added ingredients. You can still get the same benefits as using traditional retinol cream with natural oils without putting yourself at risk of potential adverse effects.

You can use oils like rosehip seed oil, carrot oil, primrose oil, and sunflower oil to moisturize and soften your skin. Primerose oil is beneficial to treat acne spots, loose skin and remove wrinkles. Rosehip seed oil is best for those with dry and sensitive skin, while carrot and sun flower seed oils have anti-aging properties.

Additionally, if you want to avoid retinol but still want to enjoy its benefits, try increasing your vitamin A intake. That means consuming rich vitamin A foods like liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, etc. But don’t overconsume too much vitamin A as it could lead to jaundice, hair loss, and mood disturbances.

You can also try using collagen pills or powder. Note that collagen production reduces as we age, causing the skin to sag and wrinkles to appear. But using collagen pills or powder allows the skin to repair itself. These products can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. If you can’t take collagen pills, try adding the powder into your drinks.

Our Pick for Best Skin and Wellness Products for Pregnant Women

Daily CBD Perfection Plus 0.50 oz.

Do you want to revitalize and cleanse your skin? Then make this high potency serum your friend. Containing clay minerals that help detox and complementing oils, using this product will leave your skin clear, bright, and smooth. The featured ingredient (CBD) provides you with analgesic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties that your skin and body will appreciate. 

The vitamins and fatty acids present help get rid of wrinkles and fine lines. Plus, it contains many antioxidants that help to protect and correct blemishes on your skin. The serum is vegan, non-comedogenic, and bioavailable.

Daily Perfection Serum Oil 0.50 oz.

This serum uses natural ingredients to help cleanse your skin, leaving it bright and smooth. It deeply penetrates through the skin to absorb and remove toxins. As a result, you are left with healthy and moisturized skin. We love that it is non-comedogenic hence will not clog pores. Plus, it uses only natural ingredients that are safe for use during pregnancy.

French Rose Clay Hydrating Mask

The product combines French Rose clay, white tea, and hyaluronic acid to cleanse your skin gently while hydrating it. Note that French Rose Clay has been used for years to eliminate dirt and impurities on the skin’s surface without hydrating it. It offers deep cleansing and nourishes the skin so that the cells are strengthened.

Fruity Mask Combo

This set includes a mango clay mask, original mask, and black cherry mask. Mango clay mask is hydrating and contains vitamins A, C, and D for skin purification. An original Clay mask will help unclog your pores with its deep cleansing power, and the black cherry mask contains antioxidants that help firm and brighten the skin. So this means that you can have revitalized skin tone, luminous complexation, and hydrated skin just by using one product.

The Benefits of Using All Natural and Safe Skin Ingredients While You are Pregnant?

Pregnancy is a naturally beautiful thing in a woman’s life and the same should be true of the skincare products we use. But that is not always the case. Did you know that just because a label says “gentle” or “all-natural” it does not mean it’s non-toxic and pregnancy-safe? There can be a lot of sneaky ingredients that are not so great for you, mama. The good news is that you can reduce exposure to toxic chemicals by carefully reading labels.

We have learned that took much vitamin A is not good some that is expecting and their unborn child.  Some women chose to take a pregnancy multivitamin, which is fine if you choose to do so. Just remember, do not take vitamin A (retinol) supplements, or any supplements containing vitamin A, as too much could harm your baby.

For your peace of mind during pregnancy, know that all  Zion Health and beauty and skincare products are vegan, organic, contain no parabens, toxic-free, and are cruelty-free.

Final Thoughts

Pregnancy calls for some changes in your nutrition and routine. That means also switching to safe skincare products. Note that some supplements and ingredients can have severe consequences for you and your baby. So be careful about what you use.

Additionally, we recommend speaking to your doctor first before taking any supplement. Also, please don’t replace a healthy diet and lifestyle with supplements. Ensure that you take nutrient-dense foods, minimize stress, and ensure that you get enough sleep for a healthy pregnancy for both you and your baby.

Stay Up to Date with The Latest in News Your Body and Skin Can Use.

Check out some of our other blog posts for helpful information regarding skin health, and the maintenance of a healthier lifestyle.

Beauty can be a minefield—with endless products and treatments all promising to be that essential elixir—and pregnancy takes your options to a whole new level whether you are looking for a relaxing massage, certain beauty products, and even our beloved skincare.  There are other natural

 things pregnant women can do to have a healthier pregnancy.  Check out our blog, Have a Healthier Pregnancy with Edible Clay.

The powerful natural ingredients in our ClayDry deodorants work throughout the day and target bacteria at the source and are perfect and safe to use during pregnancy.  Read more about it in our blog, “Fight the Body Odor. Deodorant vs. Antiperspirants.”

Our ClayDry deodorants are made of a special type of healing clay called Calcium Montmorillonite. This healing clay absorbs odors and toxins, keeping you dry and free of offensive odors. We believe healing takes place when the mind and body are in balance. The best way to support the spirit and body connection is by exploring natural remedies, which they can offer.

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