When pregnant or nursing, it is important to provide quality nutrients for yourself and your growing baby. Each woman’s dietary needs vary, but what always remains true is that a nutrient-dense diet is the best way to get enough vitamins and minerals during pregnancy.
Supplements should not take the place of a healthy diet and good lifestyle habits, but instead, be used as an icing on the cake! I am currently 6 months pregnant, and I have remained focused on consuming the following;
High quality protein from high quality sources: organic & free-range poultry and eggs, wild caught salmon, quinoa, and vegan protein powder.
Vegetables and Fruit: especailly dark leafy greens! Green vegetables contain folate, an important factor in fetal growth, as well as many vitamins and minerals to help prevent constipation. Fiber found in fruit is a great way to help “get things moving” in the morning, while keeping you hydrated, energized, and packed with antioxidants. I use this greens blend for added nutrients.
Healthy Fats: When pregnant and/or nursing, healthy fats are vital for your baby’s brain development, organ and tissue growth, as well as aids in milk production. Some of my go-tos are avocado, coconut oil, coconut flakes, olive oil, nuts and nut butters. I also use this Fish Oil.
Even the most abundant diet can struggle to get enough of the necessary nutrients for pregnancy, especially with the conditions of our food supply. This is why I continue to take certain supplements while I am pregnant, when I nurse, and as an everyday requirement.
Prenatal Vitamin: In most adult cases, a deficiency in a vitamin or mineral won’t make a tremendous and sudden impact. However, it can interfere with the developmental phases of pregnancy, and have lasting consequences for the baby.
Along with a highly nutritious diet, think of a prenatal vitamin as a back up, or insurance policy for your baby. Look for quality vitamins that contain folate or methyl folate, instead of folic acid, and high doses of iron are not necessary if you are eating red/organ meat regularly. This is the brand that I use during pregnancy, and I take take this Multivitamin when I am not pregnant.
Probiotics: Probiotics are super important, especially during pregnancy, and high quality probiotics ensure that the baby gets a healthy dose of good bacteria during a normal vaginal delivery, reducing the risk of contracting ear infections and illnesses’ in the first few years. Having good gut health will also lead to lifelong health for you and your baby, help ease constipation during pregnancy, and may also reduce the risk of Group B strep. Mom’s should continue taking a probiotic while nursing, when baby is still continuing to culture good bacteria. I use this brand.
Vitamin D3: Vitamin D can help reduce the risk of many pregnancy related complications, including gestational diabetes, and is important for your baby’s bone & hormone development. If you are pregnant during the Summer months, make sure to get 30 minutes a day or more of natural sunlight, or supplement with at least 1,000 IU/day (more if breast feeding). If heading outside, remember your sunscreen!
Folate: Not to be mistaken for the synthetic form, folic acid, which is commonly recommended. Be sure to check that your prenatal contains Folate, which has been extensively studied for use during pregnancy and is extremely effective in preventing neural tube defects.
Optional* Third Trimester Red Raspberry Leaf Tea.
Some research suggests that Red Raspberry Leaf Tea may help increase the strength of contractions, without increasing the level of pain, and may also shorten labor. While scientific studies are limited, there are many women who swear by Red Raspberry Leaf Tea to help shorten their labor or make it easier. I plan to incorporate it during my third trimester, at about 30 weeks. Read more about it here.
What supplements did you take while pregnant? Do you believe that Red Raspberry Leaf Tea works?