During pregnancy our body is doing a big job, growing a real human while also trying to do all the other usual body functions.
Being tired, sleepy or achy is often normal in pregnancy and it is important to give our body enough rest to be able to function properly.
With rest, nutrition in one of the most important aspects of achieving a healthy pregnancy.
Pregnant women need to eat a healthy and balanced diet so they can have all the important nutrients needed for the growth and proper development of their baby. The choice should always be whole, real food and a limited amount of junk food.
But often, even with a perfect diet, supplements are needed during pregnancy to ensure that baby and yourself are all covered and to help protect you from some potential problems.
Here are the most important supplements that I personally took during my pregnancies and have a great experience with them.
A folate is a form of vitamin B9 and it is very important during pregnancy.
It is believed that deficiency in folate in early pregnancy can cause neural tube defect in babies and it is important to take it for prevention.
This vitamin mostly comes in the form of folic acid that is given to all pregnant women as soon as they found about their pregnancy. But it is important to know that there are differences between folate and folic acid that is commonly used during pregnancy.
Folate is a naturally occurring form of vitamin B9. Before entering our bloodstream it is converted in our digestive system into the biologically active form of vitamin B9, 5-MTHF.
Folic acid is a synthetic form of vitamin B9 known as pteroylmonoglutamic.
Unlike folate, folic acid is not converted into 5-MTHF in our digestive system, instead, it needs to be converted in the liver or other tissues.
This process is slow and sometimes non-efficient and there is a possibility that our body will not absorb enough of it.
So it’s better to make sure you supplement with folate instead of folic acid. The recommended dosage is 400 mcg per day.
Make sure that you are eating lots of food containing folate especially leafy greens.
It is important to start supplementing with folate as soon as you start to plan the pregnancy so your levels of folate are high from the start of your pregnancy.
Most moms to be will take some kind of multivitamin in their diet.
Even if you have a perfect diet, there is a need for additional vitamins that your body is in need for during pregnancy.
When choosing vitamins it is important to take care of a few things so you are sure that are covered up completely.
Choose natural forms of vitamins. These kind of vitamins are better absorbed by the body and you have greater benefits. Do your research on what are the best ones for yourself.
Be sure they have included folate in at least 400 mcg (if not taken separately) as this is extremely important for both your baby and you.
Calcium is one more mineral that you want to be sure that is included in your vitamins.
During pregnancy, there is an increased need for calcium that is needed for the growth of your baby. You want to be sure that you are eating enough food rich in calcium, like milk, yoghurt and cheese.
Try to eat a healthy and balanced diet and taking supplements just as what they are supposed to be – supplements to your regular healthy diet.
Iron is one of the minerals that most women have issues with. Deficiency is very common so women often need to take additional iron supplements.
If you doubt that you could be deficient in iron, please, check your iron levels and start with iron only if you need it. Don’t take supplements without checking cause iron supplements can be pretty hard on your digestive system so you don’t want to take them unless you have to.
Even if you are not deficient in iron, it is very important to be sure you are getting enough iron in your diet. Iron can be important after birth in case of major bleeding.
If your iron reserves are not sufficient enough, you might need a blood transfusion. This can make your postpartum recovery much harder.
There are things you can do to increase your iron levels naturally before you go into labour.
- Food rich in iron – it is important to eat food that is rich in iron like red meat and fish, eggs and leafy greens (spinach and similar)
- Avoid milk and caffeine with food that is rich in iron – milk, and caffeine can disturb the absorption of iron so make sure you don’t take them at least one hour before and after a meal rich in iron
- Take additional vitamin C – vitamin C is helping with the absorption of iron so be sure to include it in your diet
- Nettle tea and infusions – there is no such thing like a nettle for increasing your iron levels. Nettle tea is an amazing tea for pregnancy as it helps to boost iron, is rich in magnesium and protects from urine infections that are more common during pregnancies. You can drink one cup every day.
Magnesium is another very important mineral for our body during pregnancy because at that time our bodies are using more of magnesium.
Magnesium is especially important for muscles and their relaxation. Muscle cramps are common in pregnancy due to the lack of magnesium. To prevent muscle cramps you can take additional magnesium.
Our uterus is a muscle too soo magnesium is very beneficial for the relaxed uterus and is preventing her to contract before the time has come.
Magnesium can be taken orally every day, but can also be used topically in a form of magnesium oil.
Magnesium from oil is much better absorbed into our body than oral forms of magnesium so they are a better option.
Epsom salt baths are another way of getting additional magnesium into your body during pregnancy. Daily baths will relax you, help you to sleep better and get your body some additional magnesium.
Probiotics are quite popular lately and there is a reason for that.
A healthy gut is having a big impact on our whole body, so it is necessary to take probiotics, especially during pregnancy.
Our microbiome is inherent and the bacterias that we have in our bodies will become part of our baby’s body too. We need to make sure that our gut flora is as healthy as possible before we give birth.
Probiotics are important for our immune system too so they’re good immunity booster during pregnancy.
It is important to take only good quality probiotics that are potent enough. Check for probiotics that have at least 7 different probiotics cultures and at least 20 billion CFU per serving.
Vitamin C has many benefits and it’s very useful during pregnancy.
It is an important antioxidant and immunity booster that can be very beneficial to boost the immune system during pregnancy when the body is more prone to viruses and bacterias.
It can be used as additional help during colds and coughs and other infections.
It is also helping our body to better absorb iron as well as collagen that is very important for our skin but as prevention of Diastasis Recti.
Lack of collagen can make stretching and binding of you linea alba worse, and if you take plenty of vitamin C collagen is better absorbed by your body.
These are, in my opinion, the most important supplements that every woman can benefit from during pregnancy.
You can add some others as well, like Omega-3 fish oil if you think you don’t eat enough fish or have less food containing Omega-3 in your diet.
Don’t forget that supplements are supposed to supplement your diet so try to keep your diet as healthy as possible, eat balanced and don’t forget to hydrate yourself.