Prenatal Supplementing Part 2
In our last post we talked about the possibility of needing to take a prenatal vitamin. We found that growing a human will most likely create or add to some nutritional deficiencies of our own, so supplementing with a prenatal vitamin can help make sure that both baby and ourselves are in optimal health and are getting all the nutrients needed to thrive.
I would like to mention once again that prenatal vitamins (or any vitamins for that matter) are not an insurance policy that allows for poor diet but should instead be used to help fill in the little gaps that a healthy diet might leave.
In short, the ideal prenatal vitamin would be made up of organic, live, food sourced nutrients inside of a vegetable capsule and include folate (not folic acid).
During the first half of my pregnancy, under standard obstetric care, diet and supplementing were never discussed. I was nauseated, so I was told to take Zofran (dangers on this pharmaceutical will be discussed in a later post). I was getting a variation of migraines, lacking good sleep, out of breath, etc. and was told that there was nothing that could be done. These were "normal" symptoms of pregnancy after all. About halfway into my pregnancy, heaven led us to our precious midwife who changed the health, birthing, and future parenting path we were on. At our first appointment with her, we sat for a good chunk of time and walked through a food log that she had me keep. We talked about what foods I should be eating to help me both feel my best and keep my baby growing healthy, and what supplements would help me with the discomforts of pregnancy. I was encouraged to take VitD, liquid calcium/magnesium, and iron. Diet and supplementing made a huge difference in the last half of my pregnancy. I slept well, digestion worked optimally, I stayed healthy, and I felt strong.
Beyond a healthy diet and 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, or you may choose to have your blood drawn during pregnancy. With a blood test you will be able to see certain vitamin and mineral levels and adjust accordingly. Either way, consult with your care provider regardless of how you choose to both eat and supplement, and work as a team to get you to your optimal health.
Here are two of my favorite prenatal (and usually all the time) additional supplements: (Make sure to use strict standards when choosing any supplement as what we put into our bodies will affect our own health and that of our babies. You can refer back to our last post for suggestions - Prenatal Supplementing Part 1).
In closing, if your provider does not discuss nutrition and supplementing with you, you may want to consult with a nutritionist and/or find a different care provider all together. Nutrition goes hand in hand with a healthy pregnancy, a sometimes quicker and less eventful labor and birth, and may even help with successful/full term lactation. Finding a provider who practices holistically and blends diet and supplementing into your prenatal plan is essential.
Warm wishes for a happy day!
2. The Natural Pregnancy Book - Nutrients
*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.