Vitamin C To Prevent Pregnancy: Does It Work?

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There is no scientific evidence on the use of vitamin C to prevent pregnancy. Vitamin C is a micronutrient that helps bone and tissue development and wound repair (1). Although some anecdotal beliefs exist that higher doses of vitamin C can be an alternative to birth control pills or abortion methods, experts do not recommend vitamin C for birth control or terminating a pregnancy. You may seek a doctor’s advice to know more about safe and effective birth control measures.

Read on to know about the use of vitamin C for preventing pregnancy and its side effects.

In This Article

Can Vitamin C Prevent Pregnancy?

Consult your doctor for effective contraceptive methods.

Image: Shutterstock

Some studies stated that more than the recommended levels of vitamin C could interfere with the progesterone secreted from the corpus luteum. Since progesterone prepares the endometriumiThe tissue that lines the uterus or womb for implantation and sustains the pregnancy, reduced pregnancy hormone levels may help prevent pregnancy (2).

Vitamin C intake as an alternative to birth control pills has been discussed, but there is no evidence to prove its efficacy. Hence you should consult with your OB-GYN about effective contraceptive methods.

How Much Vitamin C Should You Take To Prevent Pregnancy?

It is believed that if taken above the limit of 2000 mg per day, vitamin C can cause abortion or prevent pregnancy. However, there is no enough evidence to confirm this claim, and it is advisable to consult your OB-GYN for better abortion techniques or contraception methods.

The dosage of vitamin C is 85 mg per day for pregnant women of 19 years and above and 80 mg per day for pregnant women between the ages 14 and 18 years. The upper limit for safe consumption in both cases is 2000 mg per day (3).

protip_icon Research finds
Studies on cells have shown that vitamin C at very high concentrations may show tissue-damaging pro-oxidant effects (10). An unsuccessful attempt to use the vitamin for abortion may be harmful for both the mother and the fetus.

How To Use Vitamin C To Prevent Pregnancy?

Vitamin C with lemon juice may reduce conception chances.

Image: Shutterstock

The use of vitamin C as contraception for family planning to prevent pregnancy has not been studied enough to confirm its efficacy. However, some of these methods are believed to prevent pregnancy, but are not recommended by medical practitioners

  • Vitamin C tablets placed inside the vagina during intercourse can prevent the sperm from passing through the cervix by killing them.
  • Vitamin C, along with lemon juice, can probably reduce the chances of conceiving. If taken after conception, large quantities of lemon juice are likely to cause a miscarriage.

protip_icon Quick fact
Oral absorption of vitamin C decreases to less than 50% when consumed in amounts greater than 1000 mg as the intestines have a limited ability to absorb it (10).

What Are The Other Impacts Of Vitamin C Overdose?

Deficiency of vitamin C during pregnancy may cause preeclampsia.

Image: Shutterstock

Besides miscarriage, another serious concern of vitamin C overdose during pregnancy is scurvy. Scurvy is a condition characterized by muscle pain and bleeding or swollen gums due to vitamin C deficiency. Babies born to mothers taking around 6,000mg or more of vitamin C may suffer from rebound scurvy because there is a sudden drop in the level of vitamin C post-delivery (4).

Deficiency of vitamin C during pregnancy is also believed to increase the risks for preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure. However, the research to support this subject is minimal (5).

What Are The Other Options Of Abortion?

Medical abortion involves the administration of abortion pills.

Image: Shutterstock

Given that vitamin C as a contraceptive options lacks scientific evidence, you may consider other conventional options of abortion after consulting with your OB-GYN. These include medical abortion (abortion pills) and surgical abortion.

Medical abortion involves the administration of abortion pills. It is a course of two abortion pills, namely, mifepristoneiA medication used to cause an abortion or manage an early miscarriage and misoprostoliA medication used to treat ulcers, induce labor, and cause abortion , taken in a specific order. The misoprostol is a pack of six tablets and should be taken after the first pill, mifepristone.

In the case of surgical abortion, it may either be a vacuum aspirationiAsurgical abortion that uses gentle suction to remove the fetus through the cervix or dilation and evacuation methodiA method of abortion by cervix dilatation and the surgical evacuation of the uterus . In the first procedure, a suction device inserted through the dilated cervix is used to empty the uterus. For the dilation and evacuation method, the process is similar to vacuum aspiration, except other medical instruments and the suction are used to empty the uterus from remaining pregnancy tissues (6).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What can happen if I take too much vitamin C while pregnant?

An excessive intake of vitamin C is seldom harmful. However, those with a family history of kidney disease should be careful since excess vitamin C acidifies the urine, increasing the risk of kidney stones (7) (8).

2. Can too much vitamin C cause congenital disabilities?

There is insufficient evidence linking excessive consumption of vitamin C to congenital disabilities or any other effects on the growing fetus (9).

3. How long does it take for vitamin C to work as a form of contraception?

There is no clinically significant study to back the claim that vitamin C may work effectively as a contraceptive pill. However, consecutively consuming large doses is believed to cause abortion or prevent pregnancy. Consult a healthcare provider for appropriate scientifically-backed contraceptive methods.

The use of vitamin C to prevent pregnancy or terminate a pregnancy lacks any scientific evidence to support it. If you do not wish to continue with the pregnancy, there are several surgical and medical alternatives that can be opted for the procedure. A risk factor associated with the overdose of vitamin C is the increased risk of miscarriage and scurvy in the mother and rebound scurvy in the baby post delivery. Therefore, it is advised that you consult with your OB-GYN about the safest procedure for abortion to avoid any future risks and complications.

Infographic: Less Commonly Known Food Sources Of Vitamin C

An attempt to use vitamin C for abortion or pregnancy prevention may lead to an overdose if taken along with vitamin C-rich food. This may have detrimental effects. Knowing such food items can help you be cautious about having too many of these food items. Check out the infographic below for a comprehensive list.

food items that perhaps you didnt know contain vitamin c (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • When consumed in adequate amounts, vitamin C aids in proper tissue growth and repair.
  • But vitamin C may act as a contraceptive when taken in excess.
  • Consuming more than 2000mg of vitamin C during pregnancy may cause miscarriage.

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Vitamin C.
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002404.htm
  2. Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid).
    https://med.libretexts.org/Courses/Sacramento_City_College/SCC%3A_Nutri_300_(Coppola)/Text/07%3A_Vitamins/7.3%3A_Water_Soluble_Vitamins/7.3I%3A_Vitamin_C_(Ascorbic_acid)
  3. Vitamin C.
    https://mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets/vitamin-c/
  4. Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid).
    https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/vitamin-c-ascorbic-acid
  5. Pregnancy in brief.
    https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/pregnancy-in-brief
  6. Abortion treatments.
    https://www.bpas.org/abortion-care/abortion-treatments/
  7. Family history of kidney stones? Watch those megadoses of vitamin C.
    https://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/newsreleases/0150
  8. Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid).
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499877/
  9. Vitamin C.
    https://mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets/vitamin-c/
  10. Vitamin C.
    https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-c/
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Dr. Miguel Razio Osorio began his career in 2004 and has 19 years of experience in various fields of gynecology. After two years of internship and social service, he decided to specialize in G&O. Since 2013, Dr. Razo has dedicated his training and practice to improving his patients' obstetric and gynecological health, getting his degree as a certified specialist in 2017.

Read full bio of Dr. Miguel Angel Razo Osorio
Aneesha holds a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology from USTM, Meghalaya and Master’s degree in Applied Microbiology from VIT, Vellore. With two years of experience, she has worked on different research projects in the field of Food Sciences.

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Swati Patwal
Swati PatwalM.Sc. (Food & Nutrition), MBA
Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist, a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a toddler mom with more than a decade of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and active lifestyle project catering to school children.

Read full bio of Swati Patwal
Lorraine is a postgraduate in Life Science from Mount Carmel College and previously worked as a freelance scientific illustrator. As a project associate and lab technician at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Lorraine received valuable insights into Covid-19, transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, and neuro-degenerative diseases.

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