Prenatal Supplementing Part 1
I'm super excited to move along from our conversation about preconception and prenatal nutrition to prenatal supplementing. In part 1, we will take just a quick peak at why we may need a prenatal vitamin and how to choose the best one for ourselves.
Beyond eating well and staying hydrated, supplementing with a prenatal vitamin may be needed in pregnancy. With the current state of our food supply (depleted soil, use of chemicals, etc), even when eating organic, whole foods most of the time, there still may be holes in our nutrition. On top of that, our sweet little loves in utero deplete our bodies of both vitamins and minerals as they take what they need to grow from our diets. For these reasons, growing a human will most likely create or add to some nutritional deficiencies of our own. Supplementing can help make sure that both you and your baby are in optimal health and are getting all the nutrients needed to thrive (1, 2, 3).
Please keep in mind that prenatal vitamins are not a replacement for poor diets but rather a complement to fill in the gaps of a healthy diet.
Lauren, a nutritionist over at The Holy Kale blog, has done a fabulous job of breaking down the ins and outs of supplements in her four part series entitled, ‘Dirty Little Supplements’. These articles are immensely important and will simplify the sometimes frustrating and confusing process of choosing a prenatal vitamin (any supplement for that matter). I strongly recommend that you take the time to read them through before you grab any ol’ prenatal off the shelf at CVS. They are all most definitely NOT created equally.
Here is a quick list of some things to look for and some things to avoid while choosing a prenatal vitamin:
Take the time to research for yourself and learn about what you are putting into your body as it will affect both your and your baby’s health!
I personally used Garden Of Life’s Raw Prenatal during my first pregnancy. Since that time Garden of Life has released an organic variation of that prenatal vitamin, mykind Organics Prenatal Multi.
"The mykind Organics Prenatal is a great choice for women
because you can tell exactly what you are getting just by reading the label.
It’s loaded with foods that are excellent for prenatal health--
organic lemons, organic kelp and others that women have used for centuries.”
- Alicia Silverstone (Mama, Author, Health enthusiast)
I have also found Mega Foods, Baby and Me to be an excellent option as well.
Just as we learned that preconception can be an excellent time to create a safe and healthy environment for a future pregnancy with nutrition, starting to take a prenatal vitamin well before conception is also a great idea! (1, 4)
I cannot wait to share some more supplement info in part 2. Ill be talking about some potentially needed and definitely helpful nutrients on top of your healthy diet and whole foods based prenatal vitamin.
Warm wishes for a happy day!
1. "Taking a prenatal vitamin prior to conception and throughout pregnancy improves baby’s health. Because so many of our diets are deficient in one nutritional element or another, taking a prenatal vitamin is like a nutritional 'insurance policy'." - Aviva Romm, M.D. (Protect Your Baby's Health Even Before Birth)
2. "Supplementing with vitamins to ensure a healthy pregnancy is wise. In fact, because U.S. RDAs for some nutrients double during pregnancy, it may be the only way to guarantee nutrient needs are met. In particular, pregnant women need increased quantities of iron, calcium and folic acid (folate). Supplementing with a quality multivitamin that provides these three nutrients (and beyond) is a necessity because even a well-balanced diet will not provide enough of them for a woman and her growing child." - Charles K. Rosenberg, C.N.
3. "Deficiencies in the mother's diet can lead to deficiencies for the baby." - Charles K. Rosenberg, C.N.
4. "Ideally, you'll start taking prenatal vitamins before conception. The baby's neural tube, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, develops during the first month of pregnancy — perhaps before you even know that you're pregnant" - Mayo Clinic
*Regardless of how you choose to supplement, it is important to consult with a qualified healthcare provider to be sure you are receiving the proper nutrition before, during, and after pregnancy.