Congratulations, you are pregnant! Your body has jumped to working overtime to create this precious little life growing inside of you. At times, you may feel extremely nauseous or fatigued and you might even forget to take care of yourself. This is where supplementation during pregnancy can help cover all of your bases where your nutrition may be lacking! While prenatal exercise and a clean diet is a must, it is also important to remember to take care of your body at a cellular level and by getting all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that both you and baby need the most!
Here are 5 noteworthy supplements to keep on hand:
#1: A Prenatal Vitamin
This will be the first and foremost supplement that your doctor prescribes you once you get the big news! A prenatal vitamin is unlike any other vitamin; it contains extra folic acid and iron that your body needs to grow a baby. It also contains a variety of other vitamins and minerals that you may find in a regular vitamin, but it is created specifically for pregnant women. There are many prenatal vitamin options out there to best suit your needs: gummies, once a day, chews, etc. However, sometimes, just the prenatal vitamin alone is not enough.
#2: Folic Acid
Folic Acid is strongly suggested because it protects against neural tube abnormalities such as spina bifida or anencephaly. These defects are to most likely occur early on in your first trimester due to the fact that this is when your baby’s neural tube forms and closes. Your typical prenatal vitamin will contain around 400 micrograms of Folic Acid; however, studies show that most women will need between 400mcg-800mcg daily. A few great food sources containing Folic Acid are fortified cereals, spinach, beans, asparagus, and broccoli.
Iron is an essential supplement to pregnancy due to the risk of anemia. Mild anemia is completely normal while you are expecting because your body is producing around 50% more blood to support your growing baby. Since the blood is created at a faster pace, the production of new red blood cells may leave you with an insufficient supply of Iron. This will leave you feeling fatigued and weak! An extra dosage of Iron is recommended along with your prenatal vitamins if you are anemic. I, personally, have dealt with anemia in my 3rd trimester and since I have upped my Iron intake, I have much felt better! A few great food sources of Iron are: red meats, fortified oatmeal, fortified cereals, spinach, and soybeans. The recommended amount of Iron intake daily is at least 30 milligrams, but most women will require more. One important note to remember while taking your Iron is to take it with Vitamin C for maximum absorption and avoid taking it with caffeine, which could inhibit absorption.#4: Calcium
Calcium is critical during pregnancy to not only prevent osteoporosis in later life, but this supplement will also aid in the growth of your baby’s bones during the 2nd & 3rd trimesters when their bones begin to calcify. Since your baby will use the vitamins and nutrients stored in your body first, this may leave your bones depleted of Calcium. Another benefit of calcium during pregnancy is reducing the risk of preeclampsia. Some food sources that contain Calcium are milk (soy, almond, and coconut milks contain great amounts as well if you are a vegan), cheese, yogurt, soybeans, spinach, and sardines. Between 1,000 milligrams-1,300 milligrams of Calcium a day is necessary during pregnancy.#5: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3’s place a key role in not just your pregnancy, but the actual development of the baby! The two most important of the essential fatty acids are EPA and DHA. These supplements aid in the key developments of the brain, eyes, neurological system, cardiac system, and respiratory system. These essential fatty acids also play a huge role in regulating your hormones and improving your mood swings. A few great sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids are flax seeds, salmon, sardines, walnuts, and shrimp. You may also take an Omega 3 supplement daily in the form of a pill, chew, or liquid. The American Pregnancy Association suggests that pregnant women consume at least 300mg daily throughout pregnancy and lactation.
If you have any questions regarding supplementation during pregnancy to suit your needs, please speak with your doctor about what is right for you. Your doctor will be able to do a simple blood test to check your levels of nutrients and to make sure you and baby are getting what you both need!