How to Prevent Beriberi in Pregnancy: Beriberi is a disease that causes inflammation of the heart and nerves. B Vitamins are essential for a good pregnancy. Beriberi disease is caused by a deficiency of Thiamine or B1 vitamin. How to prevent beriberi in pregnancy?

The B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins that are needed during pregnancy.  A deficiency of B vitamins is associated with pregnancy complications and adverse outcomes.

The only way to prevent beriberi or beri beri sa buntis in pregnancy is to get adequate Thiamine or B1. 

How to Prevent Beriberi in Pregnancy

Beriberi is prevalent in the Philippines and Japan because of the white polished rice. Sufficient B1 or thiamine (This thiamine is sold internationally) is crucial for a good pregnancy.

Beriberi in pregnancy or beri beri sa buntis is very serious and can lead to serious problems for the baby.

Beriberi is not normal during pregnancy, and it can be prevented. The only home remedy for beriberi is B1 or thiamine, foods fortified in B1, or foods high in thiamine.

When alcohol is consumed, or if there is an inadequate diet, a thiamine deficiency can occur. Beriberi or Thiamine deficiency can lead to brain damage because thiamine is involved in the development of myelin.

According to Webster’s dictionary, myelin is “a mixture of proteins and phospholipids forming a whitish insulating sheath around many nerve fibers, increasing the speed at which impulses are conducted”. Babies need myelin in order to develop properly.

How to prevent beriberi in pregnanc. The only way to prevent beriberi is to have adequate Thiamine in your diet.

Thiamine deficiency occurs in populations in which the diet consists of milled white cereals. These foods include polished rice and wheat flour.

A thiamine deficiency can occur within 2–3 months of inadequate thiamine intake. Following these recommendations will prevent beriberi in pregnancy.

The only way to avoid beriberi during pregnancy is to get adequate B1 or thiamine.

beriberi and pregnancy

Consequences of Thiamine Deficiency in Pregnancy

Beriberi in pregnancy or beri beri sa buntis can be prevented in pregnancy when adequate B-Complex with Folic Acid is consumed. When alcohol is consumed in pregnancy, a thiamine deficiency can occur.

Thiamine deficiency causes oxidative stress and nerve dysfunction, which does affect fetal brain development.

Not only does drinking alcohol while pregnant produce a thiamine deficiency, but it also results in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Consequences of Thiamine Deficiencies in Infants

Infantile beriberi occurs when infants breastfed by mothers have a deficiency of thiamine. Thiamine deficiency in babies is a major cause of infant mortality.

Beriberi disease has decreased in the last decades because of the increased awareness of thiamine deficiency.

Beriberi is an acute illness where the symptoms have a rapid onset and death can occur within days of the onset of symptoms.

In Israel, there was an outbreak of thiamine deficiency due to Soy formula.  This outbreak had a high fatality rate.  The French Island of Mayotte had an outbreak due to inadequate nutrition.

There have been cases of infants going into cardiac failure due to thiamine deficiency.

How to prevent beriberi in pregnancy is to get adequate thiamine or B1.

the only way to prevent beriberi is to have adequate Thiamine in your diet.

Signs and Symptoms of Mother and Baby Beriberi Thiamine Deficiency

Thiamine deficiency in pregnant women can produce the following signs and symptoms.

  • Loss of reflexes
  • Motor deficits
  • Arm numbness or plantar pain
  • Signs of heart failure
  • Unable to rise after squatting

Signs of thiamine deficiency in babies are:

Beriberi, Pregnancy and essential vitamins

Sources of Thiamine Vitamins

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Thiamine is only recommended for use during pregnancy when benefit outweighs the risk.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for thiamine during pregnancy is 1.4 mg/day regardless of a woman’s age.

Women carrying more than one fetus may have increased needs for thiamine”.

Mothers with a thiamine deficiency were treated with Thiamine 100mg twice a day supplements.

Infants suspected of thiamine deficiency were treated with Thiamine 30mg per day for 20 days.

Patients with acute symptoms were treated with intravenous thiamine.

B Vitamins (vegan)  is a good brand of B vitamins including folic acid that is vegan. Obstetricians often recommend pregnant women to take B vitamins and folic acid because it is difficult for pregnant women to get adequate amounts of these vitamins. About this product:

  • B COMPLEX VITAMINS: These vitamins are shipped internationally. Our vitamin b complex provides mental and physical energy, supports blood health, heart health, immune system health and healthy stress response
  • ENERGY SUPPLEMENT: Use our b-complex with vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B-12, folate, and biotin to bump up energy and support metabolism and stress response
  • HEART HEALTH: Combine our b vitamin complex, containing 400mcg (100%DV) of folate with vitamins B6 and B-12 for a healthy heart
  • PROBIOTICS AND ENZYMES: Our plant-based b complex includes a RAW probiotic and enzyme blend for digestive support and vegetable blend for additional nutritional support
  • VEGAN B-COMPLEX: Our real food vegan b complex is RAW, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and non-GMO with No Binders or Fillers

Coenzymate B Complex is an excellent source for thiamine and it is shipped internationally.  This product is shipped to the Philippines and Japan.


A study was done on Cambodia women and infants who were thiamine deficit. They received thiamine for 5 days.  The thiamine treatment was effective for women, but not the babies.

The thiamine concentrations in breast milk did increase, but it did not increase the infants’ thiamine status.

Beriberi remains prevalent in Southeast Asia where it has been associated with eating polished rice and other foods that have anti-thiamine properties such as alcohol use and betel nut use.

Beriberi can be prevented in pregnancy. Supplementing with B complex will prevent beriberi in pregnancy.

B1 or Thiamine Fortification Prevents Beriberi in Cambodian

Over 100 years ago, Mr. Funk proposed his theory that certain diseases were caused by thiamine deficiencies. 

When Mr. Funk, who was a researcher, noticed that when chickens were fed polished rice or white rice, they developed neurological symptoms known as polyneuritis. Polyneuritis is a known thiamine deficiency. 

Polyneuritis is any disorder that affects the nervous system. When they ate polished rice and white rice they developed beriberi which is a thiamine deficiency.

In Cambodia and other parts of Southeast Asia, beriberi is a serious concern for pregnant women.

A study was done on pregnant Cambodian women and it was found that the women who supplemented with thiamine did not develop beriberi.

Beriberi Complicating Pregnancy

  • Low Birth weight

    Decrease muscle strength

    Decreased muscle tone to the baby

  • Heart Problems

There are more men who suffer from beriberi than women. However, ironically women get the disease during pregnancy.  The cause of beriberi is due to a deficiency of thiamine. In the majority of these cases, the mother was affected during the last trimester.

Often times, the mother has premature labor.

Infantile thiamine deficiency or Vitamin B1 (beriberi), is rarely seen today after decades of strong public health attention. Infantile beriberi occurs mainly in infants breastfed by mothers with an inadequate intake of thiamine.

Beriberi in pregnancy is a very serious disorder. Beriberi can be fatal to the baby, and sometimes the mother.

Beriberi is only treated with thiamine or B1. Health care providers should be on the lookout for this disease in pregnant women.

The only way you can avoid contracting beriberi is f you have adequate Thiamine or B1 in your diet or in supplements. You can prevent beriberi in pregnancy by having adequate thiamine in your diet. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is beriberi?

Beriberi is a nutritional disorder caused by thiamine deficiency, leading to various symptoms such as weakness, rapid heartbeat, and tingling in the extremities.

Q: Is beriberi common during pregnancy?

Beriberi can occur during pregnancy, especially if the mother’s diet lacks thiamine-rich foods or if she experiences severe nausea and vomiting.

Q: How does beriberi affect the baby?

Beriberi in pregnancy can increase the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and developmental issues in the baby.

Q: How is beriberi diagnosed during pregnancy?

Healthcare professionals may diagnose beriberi during pregnancy by considering the symptoms, medical history, and conducting blood tests to measure thiamine levels.

Q: Can beriberi be prevented?

Beriberi can be prevented by maintaining a well-balanced diet that includes thiamine-rich foods, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, and seeking regular prenatal care.

In conclusion, beriberi is a condition that pregnant women should be aware of due to its potential risks to both the mother and the baby. Ensuring an adequate intake of thiamine through a nutritious diet and seeking regular prenatal care

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