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3 Supplements You Should Be Taking for a Healthy Pregnancy

So you peed on a stick and a few minutes later got that plus sign staring back at you. Congratulations you are pregnant! Now you want to make sure you have a healthy pregnancy, so what do you need to do? A healthy diet where you are getting as much variet

2021-04-26 13:52:27

PrenatalB6gingerfish oilpregnancy


So you peed on a stick and a few minutes later got that plus sign staring back at you. Congratulations you are pregnant! Now you want to make sure you have a healthy pregnancy, so what do you need to do? A healthy diet where you are getting as much variety of fruits and vegetables as possible, good quality protein and fats and limiting sugar and processed foods as much as possible should always be the basis for any healthy pregnancy. But your body will have greater needs then when you weren’t pregnant as you are growing that new life inside of you. The nausea and morning sickness that many women experience especially in first trimester can mean it will be even a challenge to get the same level of nutrition you were getting before you were pregnant. While for the most part you should stop all supplements and herbs that you may have been taking before pregnancy, there are some that are safe and even recommended during pregnancy.

 

While you should always discuss your care with your health care provider here are the 3 supplements that pregnant women may want to consider for a healthy pregnancy.

 

Prenatal Vitamin

This is the corner stone of any healthy pregnancy and if you haven’t been taking one already it is important that you start. As mentioned above your body will have increased needs of vitamins and minerals to support your body to grow another life inside you. The growth of the placenta and baby is most vulnerable to nutritional status in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Inadequate levels of nutrients during this time can lead to poorer pregnancy outcomes and increased risk of chronic illness in the baby. Folic acid is perhaps the most well known vitamin in pregnancy as it dramatically decreases neural tube defects in the baby but there are many other nutrients that are needed. Calcium, zinc, vitamin D, iron and vitamin C requirements increase significantly in pregnancy and deficiency can lead to poor bone development, preterm birth, low birth weight in the baby and increased risk of preeclampsia and osteoporosis in the mother(1). 

A daily prenatal vitamin with at least 400 of folic acid and 30 mg of elemental iron should be recommended for all women trying to conceive and who are already pregnant(1). 

 

Fish Oil

Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are essential components of all cell membranes and especially the central nervous system. Essential fatty acids are called essential as the body is unable to make them and so must be ingested in the diet to meet our body’s needs. Several studies have shown that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a greater length of pregnancy and greater birth weight than those women who received placebo(1). Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is particularly important for fetal development of the brain and the retina and supplementation has shown to improve neurodevelopment and vision in offspring(2). Supplementation with omega-3’s during pregnancy has also shown to decrease risk of eczema, asthma and lower respiratory infections in babies. Doses of 1-2g of omega-3 with 200mg being DHA seem to demonstrate the best birth outcomes(2). 

 

B6 and Ginger

Nausea and vomiting is the most common pregnancy symptom with 50-90% of pregnant women experiencing the symptoms, most often in the first trimester. The exact cause is not known but surging estrogen and other pregnancy hormones is a likely explanation. Severe cases can have adverse effects on the fetus and can lead to low birth weight and preterm birth and maternal malnutrition(3). So it is important for women to try and find a way to manage and alleviate their symptoms. There are a few options to help pregnant women deal with this and B6 and ginger are two options that are safe and effective. Both have been shown to be more effective than placebo, with ginger being more effective in immediate relief and B6 more effective over the long-term use(3). 

 

1.         Gardiner PM, Nelson L, Shellhaas CS, Dunlop AL, Long R, Andrist S, et al. The clinical content of preconception care: nutrition and dietary supplements. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Dec;199(6):S345–56. 

2.         Brown B, Wright C. Safety and efficacy of supplements in pregnancy. Nutr Rev. 2020 Oct 1;78(10):813–26. 

3.         Khorasani F, Aryan H, Sobhi A, Aryan R, Abavi-Sani A, Ghazanfarpour M, et al. A systematic review of the efficacy of alternative medicine in the treatment of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2020 Jan 2;40(1):10–9. 


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