Could my multivitamin have hurt my baby?

Q: I'm four months pregnant and have been taking a daily multivitamin with 5,000 IU of vitamin A. I just heard that high doses of this vitamin can cause birth defects--could I have hurt my baby?

A: Since you've been taking less than 10,000 IU of vitamin A per day--the amount deemed safe for expecting women or those considering pregnancy--you don't need to be concerned. This is especially true if you've been taking vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, as it has not been shown to be harmful to fetal development in any dosage. One form of vitamin A that is of concern is isotretinoin (Accutane, an acne treatment), which is associated with severe birth defects when taken during pregnancy. Any woman who has used it while pregnant should call the North American Isotretinoin Information & Survey Line at 866-626-6847 to learn more.