Prenatal Supplements: What’s Safe And What Isn’t

Surprise it’s a ……….. We’ve all been locked up with Covid lockdowns and you know what happens when you can’t go out as much. You stayed and you played inside and now you just got the news that you are expecting a little bundle of joy. AWESOME, NOW WHAT?

From having this happen four times I know the reveal always comes with many feelings and you may even get overwhelmed by this life-changing event. I’m right there with you. There are a lot of things that you will need to figure out and, in some cases, lifestyle changes that need to take place. It is common knowledge that high mercury sea-food, cigarettes and alcohol, and recreational drugs are a no-no so if any of that is in your life stop right now, but did you know that some vitamins, herbal supplements, and minerals also fall into that category?

 Information on what is safe and what isn’t varies between sources but don’t worry, we’ve got you. We will break down which supplements should be avoided during pregnancy and recommend a few of the good ones.

Why do you need to take supplements during pregnancy?

Adequate nutrition is important at every stage of life but it is more critical during pregnancy. This is because you need to nourish yourself so that you are strong throughout the pregnancy and you also need to nourish your growing baby. In the early stages of pregnancy, many women tend to struggle with eating but it is crucial that you stay well nourished at this stage. Eating a balanced diet that has all the right nutrients and exercise is important for a healthy pregnancy. We recognize this is easier said than done when you have those days where you feel violently ill. Hang in there as this too shall pass.

The general recommendation is that all pregnant women must take folic acid in the early months to lower the risk of Central Nervous System birth defects. It is also recommended that Iron and Calcium supplements be taken throughout the pregnancy. The extra calcium helps the baby to build healthy teeth and bones. An iron supplement helps to prevent anemia in pregnancy.

Specific cases in which you may need to take other prenatal supplements

There are times when a pregnant woman needs to take additional supplements on top of the folate and iron. Women that have a hard time eating because of nausea/vomiting may need to take supplements to ensure that they are getting enough nutrition for themselves as well as the baby. When prenatal tests are done, they may show that a pregnant woman lacks a certain vitamin or mineral and it is necessary to take supplements for the well being of the woman and her unborn baby. Please consult with your doctor on when this may be necessary.

Women with dietary restrictions such as those on a vegan diet or those with food intolerances and allergies may also need to supplement with vitamins and minerals so that they prevent micronutrient deficiencies. Even though it is recommended that women stop smoking during pregnancy, those that continue to smoke need to take Vitamin C and folate supplements. Women carrying twins or triplets have more micronutrient needs than those with single pregnancies. Supplementing is often required in these cases as the diet alone will not meet all the needs of the babies as well as their mother.

What supplements are safe to take during pregnancy?

Just like when you take medications, your doctor must approve and supervise any supplements that you take during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins are specially formulated to meet the increased micronutrient demands that are associated with pregnancy. We already spoke of the importance of taking folate and iron during pregnancy. Vitamin D supplements help to boost immune function and bone health of both the mother and her baby. They also reduce the risk of C Section, preterm birth, and pre-eclampsia. Vitamin D was super important prior to pregnancy and it becomes even more important during pregnancy. You can learn more about Vitamin D from our recent article “There’s Never Been A More Important Winter to Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Vitamin D”.

Magnesium supplements help with immune boosting as well as nerve and muscle function. Ginger root, fish oil as well as Probiotics are also beneficial during pregnancy.

Now let us talk about supplements that are best avoided during pregnancy. Vitamin A is usually included in prenatal vitamins as it is very important for fetal vision development but too much Vitamin A can be hamful. Vitamin A tends to accumulate in the liver where it becomes toxic and can lead to birth defects. Vitamin E is not recommended for pregnant women as it may increase the risk of abdominal pain and cause the amniotic sac to rupture prematurely. Herbal supplements such as saw palmetto, wormwood, yarrow, red clover, tansy, mugwort and ephedra are also not recommended during pregnancy.

Our top Prenatal Vitamins and Supplements Recommendations

Here are some of our top prenatal vitamins and supplements. These are reputable and clinically tested for safety and effectiveness in pregnant women.

Nutridyn Everyday Essentials Pregnancy – 30 Packets

There is nothing more important or precious than doing the right things for your new baby and Everyday Essentials Pregnancy is a great nutritional choice throughout your pregnancy and beyond. It contains a comprehensive mix of essential vitamins and minerals to support health during preconception, pregnancy, and nursing. Each bottle contains 30 packets high quality broad coverage supplements including Prenatal and Omega Pure EPA-DHA 720.

Nutridyn Prenatal

Prenatal is a specially formulated high quality vitamin and mineral supplement designed to support healthy fetal development by providing essential nutrients during pregnancy.

PreNatal Nutrient 120’s

Pure Encapsulations PreNatal Nutrients provide nutritional support for pregnancy and lactation. PreNatal Nutrients is a hypo-allergenic, highly bioavailable multi-vitamin and multi- mineral formula.

It provides the core nutrients needed to help support maternal and fetal health in the doses that are consistent with the accepted scientific recommendations for pregnant and lactating women. Furthermore, PreNatal Nutrients provides 1 mg of folic acid for healthy neural and cellular development of the fetal brain and spinal cord, helping to prevent neural tube defects.

Fish Oil

I know very few people who consume enough fish oil to be meaningful for their bodies. Especially during and after pregnancy while the baby is developing the mom is giving up so many nutrients to help that happen the following supplements may be helpful. DHA in fish oil is especially important during this time. There is a regular and a specific one for vegans

Probiotics

Having good intestinal health is key to the bodies overall health. Our patients overwhelmingly favor one of the two options below to get their probiotics. Please carefully follow the instructions and talk with your healthcare practitioner on what’s right for you and your situation.

References

  1. Prenatal Care https://yalehealth.yale.edu/obstetricsprenatal-patients#Contact
  2. Prenatal Vitamins, nurturing help boost child development https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/vitamins-child-development/#:~:text=Women%20who%20take%20vitamins%20during,an%20international%20team%20of%20researchers.
  3. What can you do to reduce the risk of birth defects? https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-can-you-do-to-reduce-the-risk-of-birth-defects-2020012218703
  4. Effects of prenatal multimicronutrient supplementation on pregnancy outcomes: a meta-analysis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2691425/

NOTHING IN THIS WEBSITE IS INTENDED AS, OR SHOULD BE CONSTRUED AS, MEDICAL ADVICE. ANY HEALTHCARE AND/OR NUTRITIONAL MATERIAL CONTAINED IN THIS WEBSITE IS FOR CONSUMER INFORMATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. SUCH MATERIAL IS NOT INTENDED AS MEDICAL ADVICE FOR CONDITIONS OR TREATMENT, NOR IS IT INTENDED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION BY A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL. CONSUMERS SHOULD CONSULT THEIR OWN HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS FOR INDIVIDUAL MEDICAL RECOMMENDATIONS.

About the author

Chris Bowman is the COO of SimplyNutrients.com which is part of Dr. Jamy Antoine's Select Health Practice in Edina, Minnesota. Chris is passionate about helping people live healthier lives through using the best practices of nature, nutrition and medicine.

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