I'm excited to move along from our conversation about nutrition to prenatal supplementing. We will take a quick peek 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 fresh and organic, whole foods most of the time, there still may be gaps to fill in our nutrition.
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.
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.
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.
"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)
Please take the time to learn about what you are putting into your body as it will affect both your and your baby’s health!
I strongly recommend that you look into how supplements are made and what is actually in them before you grab any prenatal off the shelf/internet. They are most definitely not created equally.
Here is a quick list of some things to look for and some things to avoid when choosing a prenatal vitamin:
I recommend looking into Naturelo Prenatal Vitamins (*updated in 2019).
They are whole food based, in vegetable capsules, without any fillers or excipients. They contain both iodine and choline as well as methylated folate.
For women who cannot take capsules or want to utilize herbs, there is the option of creating your own prenatal vitamin using the following plants:
6T Nettle Leaf
3T Red Raspberry Leaf
3T Dandelion Leaf
1T Blackberry Leaf
1T Alfalfa Leaf
2T Spearmint Leaf
These herbs contain most of the vitamins and minerals found in standard prenatal supplements excluding B12, vitamin D, vitamin K2, zinc, and heme iron. They can be combined and steeped overnight to form a tea/infusion to drink through each day.
Beyond a healthy diet and the optional prenatal vitamin, other nutritional needs will be person and symptom specific. You can simply listen to what your body is trying to tell you from the symptoms you experience and supplement appropriately.
You may also consider the option of lab work to measure current mineral and vitamin levels in your body. Consult with your care provider regardless of how you choose to both eat and supplement, and work as a team to achieve optimal health.