All moms everywhere, whether new or experienced, want the very best for their babies, including during the prenatal period. I get asked a lot about good choices for pregnancy supplements, so here’s a quick and easy guide to taking supplements during pregnancy for the expecting mom with an uncomplicated pregnancy.
A Quick Guide To Pregnancy Supplements
I can’t rave enough about supplementing during pregnancy with fish oil. The research on omega-3 fatty acids is plentiful and the benefits are many, including cardiovascular health, inflammation, and brain health.
The baby’s developing brain requires the fatty acid DHA. Getting enough DHA during pregnancy and lactation can promote healthier neurological development. It can also reduce the risk of preterm birth, and developing atopic conditions, such as asthma and allergies.
Look for a fish oil supplement with a 2:1 ratio of EPA to DHA. This is a great pregnancy supplement for both of you. Your body will benefit from the EPA, while the DHA will be passed to the baby.
Folic acid is a well-known pregnancy supplement, and for a good reason. Adequate amounts are crucial for preventing neural-tube defects in a growing fetus.
Most prenatal multivitamins these days have an adequate dose of folic acid but double-check the label to make sure you’re getting no less than 1mg per day, or even up to 5mg during the first trimester.
The good bacteria in our bodies are superstars – they help up digest, keep inflammation in check, and protect us from the bad bacteria.
Research has shown that probiotic supplementation during pregnancy can help with a wide variety of factors for mom and baby. For example, reducing the risk of gestational diabetes, preterm birth, and eczema.
Probiotics are also useful for ensuring a healthy balance of good bacteria in the vaginal canal so that during birth, only the good guys colonize the baby.
Look for multi-strain formulations that include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, with combined doses in the billions (eg. 10 billion CFU).
Many women in my practice are deficient in iron, which can be tough to combat since the body is very careful about iron uptake. Moreover, the demands on your iron stores are increased during pregnancy, which means that you may become anemic during pregnancy, or your anemia can become worse, making you perpetually tired.
Taking a good iron supplement can help reverse the depletion, but the type of iron is important as poorly absorbed forms can cause constipation and discomfort. Pregnancy alone can cause constipation (here's how to get rid of constipation naturally), so what’s a girl to do?
Look for the form iron bisglycinate, which has better absorption, and take it together with a Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C.
While you are not truly eating for two when you’re pregnant (the increased caloric requirement during pregnancy is pretty modest), boosting your protein can be very helpful.
Try to get some of your protein in the mornings to help keep blood sugars steady, maintain energy levels, and provide you and the baby with enough of the body’s building blocks.
Go for a variety: fish, poultry, eggs, beans, lentils, soy, nuts, seeds, and the occasional serving of red meat.