While practically every woman knows that she should be taking a prenatal supplement when she is planning on becoming pregnant, currently pregnant or while breastfeeding she may not know that there are several other supplements that can be of great benefit to both her and her baby.
The nutritional impact on mom grows quite a lot during pregnancy and continues through breastfeeding. With this increased need for support a prenatal is highly recommended by all health care practitioners, be they MD, ND or midwife.
Unfortunately, not just any prenatal will do. It is very important to get a prenatal that is formulated with folate rather than folic acid. There are new studies coming out that find methylfolate to be a much better source of folate for pregnant women as it is better absorbed and will get around the trouble of a possible genetic issue with poor conversion of folic acid to folate. This genetic issue may be present in up to 60% of the population. Studies have also found that women taking methylfolate instead of folic acid have a lower rate of pregnancy anemia.
If you have a hard time taking prenatals due to nausea consider spacing out the pills so you are only taking one at a time with a large meal that contains protein. If this doesn’t help, consider a liquid prenatal multivitamin, make sure it is made with folate, not folic acid.
Other supplements I recommend during pregnancy (this is just a general list, if the patient had particular concerns such as anemia or gestational diabetes I would recommend additional supplements: please talk with your health care provider to make sure these suggestions are right for you!)
Fish oils: fish oils have been found very helpful to reduce inflammation, support lactation, reduce the risk of allergies in the baby and help support the baby’s neurological and early visual development. Please be sure to get fish oil from a company that provides safety information showing that it doesn’t contain mercury. You should take about 500 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil form a day. Pregnant women are recommended to get 300 mg of the Omega 3 fatty acid DHA daily. Read more about this by clicking here.
Vitamin D3: While most prenatal vitamins have D3 in them the levels are generally rather low. I highly suggest an additional D3 supplement. D3 helps support a healthy immune function, mental health, and bone and tooth health. It also supports healthy bone development in your baby. A recent study found that adequate D3 intake can help prevent preterm labor/preterm births and infections. Pregnant women are recommended to get about 4,000 IU's of D3 daily. Read more by clicking here.
Probiotics: probiotics can help with overall gastrointestinal support including reduction of infections and helping to treat constipation. There are studies that have found moms who are taking probiotics prenatally and during lactation will have babies that will have less issues with eczema, allergies and asthma later on in life. Look for a good quality probiotic that has several billion live cells and comes from a reputable supplement provider. Talk with your practitioner about the probiotic they suggest. Learn more by clicking here.
Magnesium: If you are having issues with things like sleep disturbance, muscle cramps, anxiety or constipation it may be a sign you need more magnesium. Pregnant and nursing moms often have low magnesium levels and supplementation can help greatly with this. If you aren’t having issues with constipation you can take a Magnesium that is made with ‘sustained release technology’ (aka SRT) to lessen the stool loosening effects of regular magnesium. Pregnant women should take about 240 to 480 mg of magnesium daily to help prevent muscle cramps and pre-eclampsia and it can also help with the ‘height and maturity of fetuses.’ Read more by clicking here.
Psyllium seed husk: if you are dealing with constipation I highly recommend you increase your water intake, make sure you are getting adequate fiber (25 to 30 grams daily) and exercise daily (at least a 30 minute walk every day). If you have already been doing these things and are still having issues with constipation you might consider adding in a fiber supplement such as Psyllium seed husk. Be sure to start slow, as excess fiber supplementation can lead to diarrhea, which could lead to premature contractions. Take the supplement with a large glass of water.
Best wishes for a healthy, happy pregnancy and baby.