Are you clear on the supplements that you need to be taking in pregnancy? If you’re anything like the mummas-to-be that I work with the answer is probably…’err kind of..’
Well today I want to clear up any confusion so that you are crystal clear on the supplements that you and your baby really need to keep as strong and healthy as possible.
Even though it’s always best to get your vitamins and minerals from the food that you eat, certain nutrients are so important in pregnancy that it is recommended that you take them in supplement form as well.
Here are the key supplements that I recommend all pregnant women take, and why:
V I T A M I N D 3
It is recommended that all pregnant women take a Vitamin D supplement throughout their pregnancy, and beyond, particularly if they are breast-feeding. The recommended dosage is 10 micrograms per day.
Vitamin D is vital for the body because it controls the absorption of dietary calcium. It also works to activate your immune response, keeping you healthy and killing off bacteria, as well as potentially helping to prevent cancer and lower blood pressure.
The reason that you need to supplement Vitamin D is that, particularly if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, it is very difficult to get enough of this vitamin naturally due to the fact that it is made by the body from sunlight on bare skin.
However, there are two different forms of Vitamin D and I recommend that you take Vitamin D3 rather than the generic Vitamin D. This is because Vitamin D3 is the natural form of Vitamin D that your body makes from sunlight and is therefore easier for your body to absorb and utilise.
F O L A T E
Firstly I want to clear up the confusion between folate and folic acid.
Your midwife and GP will recommend that you take 400 micrograms of folic acid during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (and whilst trying to conceive).
However, research shows that you should actually take folate (Vitamin B9), the natural form of folic acid found in food, rather than folic acid, which is the synthetic form. Too much folic acid can in fact increase the risk of some types of cancer and may not be as effective in preventing neural tube defects in babies.
Read this excellent article by Dr Kresser for more information on this topic.
Folate is vital for the body because it is needed for rapid cell division and growth as well as for preventing anemia, neural tube defects and certain types of cancer.
G E N E R A L P R E N A T A L V I T A M I N S
It is also a good idea to take an all round vitamin whilst pregnant to support the needs of your body, and your growing baby. If you do decide to take some kind of multi- vitamin, make sure that it doesn’t contain Vitamin A (or retinol). We get Vitamin A from the food that we eat and too much is linked to birth defects in babies.
If you have a special diet, or are vegetarian or vegan, speak to your midwife as it may be a good idea to take a Vitamin B12 supplement as well.
O M E G A 3 s
Omega 3 fatty acids are vital for optimum health at all times, but even more so during pregnancy because they provide the necessary fats that are needed for your baby’s brain development.
This supplement is especially important during the third trimester because this is when the baby’s brain is developing. Research has shown that infants born to mummies who had high levels of DHA (Omega 3 fatty acids) in their blood at delivery had better attention spans well into their second year of life.
Click here to see where to buy the supplements that I recommend.