During pregnancy, you will likely need to make some changes to your supplement routine — or start taking vitamins for the first time. People often say that during pregnancy the baby will take whatever it needs from mom, which can leave the mother feeling depleted. Here are the important supplements that Dr. Lipman and the Be Well team recommends taking to support your own health and the health of the baby.
1. Prenatal Vitamins
A key ingredient in your prenatal vitamin is folate, to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. You should take prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant so that your folate levels are high at the time of conception. Your prenatal vitamin should have 600 – 800 mg of folate per day. Other things to look for in a prenatal is that it comes from whole foods.
Also note that iron and calcium are not absorbed well together, so most prenatals don’t include much (or any) calcium. If you are supplementing with calcium, you should take it at a different time of day from your prenatal, so that it doesn’t interfere with the absorption of iron.
Metagenics and Innate both make a good prenatal vitamin.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is absolutely critical during pregnancy. It is very important for mom to get her vitamin D levels checked, and to take a corrective dose of vitamin D if you have a deficiency. The ideal range for optimal health is 50-80 ng/ml.
Low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy are associated with an increased risk of complications including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and low birth weight of newborns.
This article gives info on how much vitamin D to take depending on your levels:
3. Fish Oil
Omega 3’s from fish oil are helpful for the baby’s development, especially in helping to optimize the brain growth of the baby. They also provide good protection against premature birth. Omega 3’s are also important for mom, as they help to fend off depression and to support cardiovascular health.
During pregnancy your immune system is suppressed, so taking immune-boosting probiotics is more important than ever. Probiotics may also help with constipation that you may be experiencing during pregnancy. Babies are born with a sterile gut — they are exposed to mom’s bacteria during their passage through the birth canal and during nursing — so it’s up to mom to ensure they get a good dose of beneficial bacteria. Taking a probiotic supplement can help to build up the bacteria culture that the baby will be exposed to, and can have a lifelong effect on the baby’s immunity and health.
Glutathione is a master antioxidant that plays an important role in the development and growth of the fetus. In the placenta, glutathione detoxifies pollutants before they reach the developing child. Glutathione also supports your immune function, which is important as your immune system is suppressed during pregnancy.
*Image of “child kissing belly of pregnant woman” via Shutterstock