It’s no secret that optimal nutrition will lay the groundwork for a healthy, happy pregnancy. Just think of all the goodness your body needs to create a little human! Thanks to our highly refined, modern-day diets, getting your daily allowance of all the essential baby-growing nutrients can be pretty darn difficult (even if you’re eating the healthiest diet around!) The solution? Supplementation. Convenient, economic and oh-so-nourishing, supplements will ensure you and your tiny nugget receive the maximum benefit from all the vitally important nutrients. Though, there are many helpful products on the market, we’ve whittled it down to just the essentials (no surprises there!) Here’s your guide to prenatal supplements.
A quality multivitamin is the big daddy of the supplement world. By virtue of it supplying your baby (and you, of course) with tons of nourishing goodness, a multi is a stellar option if you don’t already have one in your arsenal. Since you can’t always guarantee you’re reaping the nutritional benefits from food alone, this herbal wonder is a sure-fire way to plug any gaps. No wonder so many health practitioners and nutritionists wax lyrical about ‘em!
Investing in a multivitamin comes with one caveat: you must choose a product with quality ingredients. Cheaper supplements typically contain additives and fillers that are less bioavailable (a.k.a. how well vitamins and minerals are absorbed by the body). The bottom line is you must become a savvy ingredient sleuth. Always check labels for non-medical ingredients, excipients, flavours and artificial colours. If there’s a lengthy list of ingredients you don’t recognise, abort mission.
Keep your eyes peeled for formulas designed specifically for pregnancy too. These products should have relevant levels of the most important nutrients to support the growth of your baby: folic acid (you should be taking this as soon as you know you’re pregnant), vitamin D3, magnesium, calcium, iron, iodine, vitamin B12 and vitamin A.
An omega 3 supplement (comprised of DHA – docosahexaenoic acid) is the perfect partner to a high-strength multivitamin. This power-duo will equip your body with the fuel you and your little belly-kicking ninja need to thrive during pregnancy. There’s a raft of scientific evidence illustrating that omega 3 fatty acids support the development of baby’s brain, motor skills, hand-eye coordination, IQ levels and even attention span.
If there is inadequate DHA in your body (especially during the third trimester), your tiny babe will extract it from your brain to meet her requirements! Understandably then, it’s astronomically important to supplement your diet with an omega 3 supplement. You should choose a formula that packs 200-400mg of DHA per day.
There’s a growing body of research advocating the taking of probiotics during pregnancy – and for good reason. Powerful probiotics will help to lay a strong foundation for baby’s immune system even before her big arrival. Until birth, external factors like the means of delivery (a vaginal birth or a C-section) and the microbes in breast-milk or feeding formula will affect the makeup of your little one’s gut. But by supplementing your pregnancy diet with probiotics, you can supercharge your babe’s microbiome while she’s still growing – priming her for the big, wide world.
In addition to a quality probiotic (ahem, one that contains at least 10 billion colony-functions units), you could also add fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha to your diet. These sources are naturally rich in probiotics and will provide additional support for both you and your baby’s gut health.
Every expectant mother wants to safeguard the health and happiness of her growing babe, right? Fortunately, with proper nutrition, a healthy diet and the correct supplementation, you can give baby the best start in life. At The Essential One, we want to support you at every stage of your reproductive journey – from bump and beyond. If you want to learn more about nourishing your body during pregnancy, feel free to browse the rest of our Maternity & Nursing Advice.