This systematic review of the current research was conducted to evaluate the benefits of multivitamin supplementation during pregnancy on maternal, fetal and infant health outcomes.
17 studies involving 137,791 women contributed data to the review. Fifteen of these 17 trials were carried out in low and middle-income countries and compared prenatal multivitamins with iron and folic acid versus iron with or without folic acid.
The results support the effect of prenatal multivitamins with iron and folic acid in improving some birth outcomes. Overall, pregnant women who received prenatal multivitamins had fewer low birthweight babies and small-for-gestational-age babies.
The researchers concluded:
The findings, consistently observed in several systematic evaluations of evidence, provide a basis to guide the replacement of iron and folic acid with prenatal multivitamins containing iron and folic acid for pregnant women in low and middle-income countries where multiple micronutrient deficiencies are common among women of reproductive age.