Not very much information is available on inositol and pregnancy, so pregnant women should not use the supplement without a healthcare provider's approval. Studies in mice indicate that an inositol deficiency could cause neural tube defects, but this does not seem to be the case in humans. If you are already using inositol and pregnancy occurs, contact your healthcare provider to discuss the potential risks.
An Overview of Inositol and Pregnancy
Inositol is a non-prescription dietary supplement that is used for a variety of different purposes. Very little information is available about the use of inositol during pregnancy. Although inositol is a "natural" substance found throughout the human body, there is not enough information available to recommend inositol for pregnant women.
Is Inositol Safe for Pregnant Women?
There is not enough information to determine that inositol is safe for use during pregnancy. Although studies in mice indicate that an inositol deficiency could cause neural tube defects (such as spina bifida), this does not seem to be the case in humans.
Some medications that deplete inositol (such as valproic acid) are known to cause birth defects, and researchers theorized that giving inositol along with such medications might lower the risk of birth defects. Interestingly, the opposite occurred; inositol actually increased the risk of birth defects due to valproic acid. It is not yet known why this may happen.
If you are pregnant, do not take inositol (or any other prescription drug, non-prescription medication, or supplement) without your healthcare provider's approval. Just because something is "natural" or available without a prescription does not mean it is safe, especially for use during pregnancy.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed March 4, 2008.
Massa V, Wlodarczyk B, Giavini E, Finnell RH. Myo-inositol enhances teratogenicity of valproic acid in the mouse. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol 2006;76(3):200-4.
Shaw GM, Carmichael SL, Yang W, Schaffer DM. Periconceptional dietary intake of myo-inositol and neural tube defects in offspring. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol 2005;73(3):184-7.
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