It’s important to take care of yourself on a daily basis, by providing your body with all of the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals it needs through the consumption of supplements. This level of importance drastically increases when you are pregnant! Now your body is a home to two humans!
Taking supplements during pregnancy is different than taking supplements as part of a normal daily regime. For some women, pregnancy is the first time they consume vitamins at all. This means there is a lot to learn. When pregnant, the supplements being taken need to be well thought of and very specific to keep both you and your baby healthy. During pregnancy, babies take whatever they need to grow strong and healthy from their mothers, which often leads to mothers feeling depleted. This can be avoided with the consumption of supplements and we’re here to tell you which ones are the best! From prenatal vitamins to fish oil, your body requires far more than you would think during pregnancy.
All of these supplements should be taken on a daily basis when you are pregnant. Take the recommended dosage each morning with your breakfast and you will reap the benefits all day long. If you are trying to get pregnant, start taking your supplements now. Why wait to be at your A game?
Without further ado – here are the best supplements for pregnancy…
While eating healthy is recommended and wonderful, prenatal vitamins can help fill in any nutritional gaps in a pregnant women’s diet. Prenatal vitamins are essentially multivitamins formulated specifically for pregnancy, with the best vitamins and minerals to help women grow a healthy and strong baby while also taking care of themselves. The best prenatal vitamins will include the daily recommended allowance of the following ingredients:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin E
But why are these ingredients so crucial? Let’s break it down.
The benefits of prenatal vitamins during pregnancy include…
- Folic Acid: Helps prevent neural tube birth defects which affect the brain and spinal cord.
- Vitamin D: Needed for the body to maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorus. Both help the baby build strong bones and teeth.
- Calcium: Helps prevent the mother from losing her own bone density while the baby takes her calcium for it’s bone growth.
- Vitamin C: Needed for the body to make collagen (structural protein), to avoid impairment in mental development, and help the body absorb iron. Also essential for tissue repair, wound healing, bone growth, bone repair, and healthy skin.
- Thiamine: Allows the mother and the baby’s body’s to convert carbohydrates into energy. Also promotes healthy muscle and heart function, helps the nervous system, and is essential for the baby’s brain development.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): Helps the body produce energy. Promotes baby’s growth, vision, and skin. Aids in the development of the baby’s bones, muscles, and nerves.
- Vitamin B12: Helps to keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA. Vitamin B12 deficiencies in pregnant women can lead to an increased risk for neural tube defects, intrauterine growth retardation, preeclampsia, and miscarriage.
- Vitamin E: Deficiencies can lead to possible pregnancy risks. Also useful in oil form for preventing post pregnancy stretch marks.
- Zinc: Necessary for the baby’s cell growth and production/functioning of DNA. Also helps support the immune system, maintain senses (taste and smell), and heal wounds.
- Iron: Helps both the mother and baby’s blood carry oxygen.
- Iodine: Crucial for mother’s healthy thyroid function. Iodine deficiency can cause stunted growth, mental disabilities, deafness, miscarriage, or stillbirth.
Fish oil contains the highest amount of omega 3’s in any supplement. Omega 3’s are extremely helpful for the baby’s development, specifically in maximizing the potential of brain growth for the baby, and the growth of healthy and strong eyes. Fish oil also protects against premature birth. What mother wouldn’t want that protection?
Speaking of mamas, fish oil is equally important for the woman carrying the baby! Omega 3’s can fend off depression and support cardiovascular health. Both of these are crucial for new mamas!
It is very important to note which fish oil you are taking when you are pregnant. There are two types and one is unsafe for expecting mothers. Supplements made from the body of the fish (omega 3 supplements) are safe and recommended during pregnancy. Fish oil supplements made from the liver of fish, for example cod liver oil, are not recommended during pregnancy. Both of these fish oil supplements contain beneficial long chain omega 3 fatty acids, so it’s easy to get confused. Cod liver oil contains high levels of the retinol form of vitamin A, which can be extremely dangerous during pregnancy. Large amounts of retinol can harm your baby! Be smart and read labels before purchasing supplements.
The benefits of Fish Oil during pregnancy include…
- Supports neurological development in baby
- Supports early visual development in baby
- Prevent pre-term labor and delivery
- Lower risk of preeclampsia
- Can increase birth weight
- Avoids depression in mother’s (postpartum mood disorders)
- Supports cardiovascular health in mother’s
- Used after birth to make breast milk
Probiotics are helpful for expecting mother’s in more ways than one. When pregnant, a mother’s immune system is greatly suppressed. This isn’t good for her or the baby! Taking an immune boosting probiotic supplement is important, if not crucial.
Probiotics are also known for improving digestive health. Women often experience constipation during pregnancy, taking a probiotic can help avoid this issue and keep everything healthy and moving.
“Good bacteria” and “bad bacteria” are necessary for gut health and immunity levels. Babies are born with a sterile gut because they are exposed to their mother’s bacteria during their passage through the birth canal and during nursing. This means that it’s the mother’s job to make sure they receive the recommended dose of “good bacteria.” Taking a probiotic supplement during pregnancy can build up the bacteria culture that baby’s are exposed to and drastically increase their immune systems and health.
Probiotic benefits during pregnancy include…
- Boost mother’s immune system
- Improve digestive health in mother (avoid constipation)
- Improve baby’s gut health
- Improve baby’s immune system
- Increase overall health of both mother and baby
We briefly discussed the importance of vitamin D above, but we’re going to dig slightly deeper. Vitamin D deficiencies are one of the most common vitamin deficiencies, this is applicable for pregnant mother’s as well. Except for them, their deficiency affects more than just them! Their baby suffers as well.
Vitamin D deficiencies are not only common in pregnant women, but they can also lead to abnormal bone growth, fractures, or rickets in newborns. Vitamin D deficiencies have also been linked to a higher risk of pregnancy complications. These complications include gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, premature labor, low birth weight, and more. I think it’s safe to say we recommend that expecting mother’s take vitamin D supplements. If taking a prenatal vitamin that includes vitamin D is as much as your doctor feels your body needs, then that’s fine! However, some women require more vitamin D than what is included in their prenatal vitamins. This is where vitamin D supplements come into play.
Vitamin D benefits during pregnancy include…
- Helps body maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorous
- Helps baby build strong bones and teeth
- Increases mother’s overall health and well being
Glutathione is a master antioxidant that we believe is extremely underrated. Glutathione plays a crucial role in the development and growth of your baby, especially in the beginning. Glutathione detoxifies pollutants in the placenta before they reach your growing baby! As we’ve discussed, women have suppressed immune systems during pregnancy, glutathione supplements support immune function.
Glutathione benefits during pregnancy include…
- Aids in development of fetus
- Detoxifies pollutants in placenta to keep baby healthy
- Protects baby and mother from damaging effects of free radicals and oxidative stress
- Improves immune function in mother
- Regenerates stores of other antioxidants (vitamin C and E)
Magnesium is always helpful for adults, but is especially useful during pregnancy. Magnesium deficiencies in pregnant mother’s can lead to poor fetal growth, preeclampsia, and possibly even death of the baby. Aside from the risks, there are many benefits! Healthy magnesium levels in mamas can help the mother’s tissue grow and recover during pregnancy as well as help the baby receive nutrition through the placenta. Getting the recommended amount of magnesium through your diet alone can be very tricky, which is why we definitely recommend taking a magnesium supplement every day!
Magnesium benefits during pregnancy include…
- Can help prevent the uterus from prematurely contracting
- Helps baby build strong teeth and bones
- Help in growth of mother’s tissue
- Aid in mother’s tissue recovery
- Boosts the amount of nutrition the baby receives from placenta
Coconut oil is a healthy fat that everyone can benefit from adding into their diet. Coconut oil naturally boosts the immune system, supports the baby’s brain development, and contains many of the same components as breast milk which can help with nursing. Coconut oil typically comes in jar form and can be added by the tablespoon into smoothies, tea, or foods. It’s very easy to add coconut oil into your life. Not only is it tasty, but you can add a few tablespoons into just about everything you consume!
Coconut oil benefits during pregnancy include…
- Boosts immune system levels
- Supports baby’s brain development
- Supports breast feeding ease and health
- Helps body resist bacteria and viruses
- Reduces cholesterol levels in mother
- Can be applied to skin to avoid or treat stretch marks