Vitamin B-12 Injections: Use, Deficiency, Risks, & B-12 In Pregnancy

Vitamin b12 Injections

Vitamin B-12 injections are a great way to bridge any nutritional gaps in your diet and ensure that you are receiving what you need. Hydroxocobalamin is a natural form of Vitamin B-12 that can be administered via injection to improve energy levels, aid in red blood cell development and help maintain a healthy central nervous system. Here’s everything you need to know about Vitamin B-12 injections.

Recommended Dosage:

For adults over the age of 14, the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B-12 is 2.4 mcg. During pregnancy, the recommended amount increases to 2.6 mcg and when breastfeeding, to 2.8 mcg. Vitamin B-12 can be found in many foods, including meat, fish, eggs, poultry and milk and also in your prenatal multivitamin.

Vitamin B Deficiency:

While only 1-1.5 percent of Americans have a true deficiency, as many as 40 percent fall within the low-normal range for Vitamin B levels. Symptoms that may indicate low Vitamin B levels include fatigue, depression, low blood pressure, constipation, memory loss, weakness, sore tongue, tingling and numbness in fingers and toes, mood changes and difficulty walking. In more severe cases, a Vitamin-B deficiency can result in nerve damage, anemia and stomach complications.

Who’s At Risk?

Certain populations are at a higher risk for deficient and low levels of Vitamin B-12. These groups include vegetarians, vegans, and persons with pernicious anemia, gastrointestinal disorders and alcohol abuse problems. The increased risk for these populations is due to low levels of consumption and difficulty with vitamin absorption. 

Is it Possible to Have Too Much Vitamin B-12?

Fortunately, Vitamin B-12 is a water soluble vitamin that will be naturally eliminated by the body when the amount needed is exceeded. Because of this, taking more than the recommended dosage of Vitamin B-12 will neither help nor harm you unless you have an actual problem with deficiency. Toxicity is not a risk. 

The Shot:

The Vitamin B-12 shot has been shown to be effective at treating a deficiency, boosting energy and in some cases lessening symptoms of depression and improving cognitive function. The injection is given directly into the muscle, typically in the thigh or upper arm. The dose administered is dependent on the condition and can be tailored in frequency and amount based on the patient’s response. Common side effects associated with the B-12 shot include soreness at the injection site, diarrhea, swelling and itching. If you experience side effects from the shot, adjusting the dosage can be effective at reducing the occurrence. Serious and rarer side effects can include muscle cramping, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, slurred speech, vision changes, chest pain and weakness on one side of the body. Call your doctor or midwife immediately should you experience any of these more serious side effects. 

Vitamin B-12 in Pregnancy:

Vitamin B-12 is particularly important during pregnancy as it not only helps to regulate mom’s nervous system and red blood cell formation but also helps fight defects of baby’s spine and central nervous system. Also, because the Hydroxocobalamin version of the B-12 shot is a natural form of the vitamin, it is perfectly safe to receive during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Moms who are strict vegetarians or vegans and are breastfeeding are at a higher risk for Vitamin B-12 deficiency. 

For more about essential vitamins and nutrients during pregnancy, check out this article. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of the Vitamin B-12 injection, contact Health Foundations to speak with one of our midwives. We offer the B-12 injections at the Birth Center in addition to many other health and wellness services for women. For questions about B-12 injections, pregnancy, natural birth and other women’s care matters, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center.