What Are the Best Supplements for Pregnancy?
Whether you’re preparing for a pregnancy or in the early stages, you may be thinking of adding supplements to your diet. You may also be wondering: what are the best supplements for pregnancy? While your doctor can recommend the best supplements for you, there are some basic vitamins and supplements that can benefit every pregnant woman. find out which are the safest and most beneficial below.
Folate is one of the most recommended supplements for pregnancy. Some doctors will recommend folic acid (the synthetic form), but folate (the natural form) may be a better option for some women.
Either form is beneficial. When taken a month before pregnancy and a month after, it can be very effective at preventing neural tube defects.
In addition to a folic acid supplement, you may also want to eat foods that contain folate, such as brown rice and green leafy vegetables. Just keep in mind that it’s really difficult to get all the folate you need just form food alone, so supplementation is necessary if you want to prevent neural tube defects.
If you’re at higher risk of having a pregnancy that’s affected by a neural tube defect, your doctor may recommend taking a higher dose until you’re 12 weeks pregnant. You may be at higher risk if:
- You or your partner have a family history of neural tube defects
- You have diabetes
- You or your partner have a neural tube defect
- A previous pregnancy was affected by a neural tube defect
Your doctor will advise you to take a higher dose of folic acid if necessary.
Even if you’re not a fan of multivitamins, you may want to consider taking prenatal vitamins. Another one of the most common supplements during pregnancy, prenatal multivitamins can eliminate or prevent vitamin deficiencies that can have lasting effects on your baby.
As with any other supplement, be sure to choose a high quality multivitamin. Your doctor may be able to make some recommendations on which prenatal supplements are the best.
Also, be aware that most prenatal vitamins contain iron. If your diet includes red meat and/or organ meats, you may not need to supplement iron.
What should you be looking for in a prenatal vitamin? WebMD suggests choosing a product that offers the following:
- 70mg of Vitamin C
- 400mg folic acid
- 200-300mg calcium
- 400 IU vitamin D
- 3mg thiamine
- 20mg niacin
- 2mg riboflavin
- 10mg vitamin E
- 6mcg vitamin B12
- 150mcg iodine
- 15mg zinc
- 17mg iron
Depending on your medical condition, your doctor may prescribe you a certain type of prenatal vitamin.
Healthy Fats and Omega 3 Fatty Acids
In the Western world, we have an unhealthy ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. We consume too much Omega 6s and too few Omega 3s.
Fish oil is a great way to balance that ratio, and fermented cod liver oil is typically the best option. It’s an excellent supplement for pregnancy because the fats aid in the baby’s brain developments and helps prevent inflammation.
Many women also claim that the anti-inflammatory properties of Omega 3s makes it easier and quicker to recover after giving birth.
Magnesium is one supplement everyone should probably be taking. Between our diets and depleted soils, magnesium is lacking in many people’s diets. But magnesium becomes especially important when pregnant. A deficiency can lead to fetal death, poor fetal growth or preeclampsia.
It’s extremely difficult to get magnesium from food sources today, so supplements or magnesium oil are your best options.
Just take care to ensure that you’re not taking more than 500 mg of magnesium each day unless you’re instructed to by your doctor.
New research suggests that vitamin D can help reduce the risk of complications during a pregnancy. Vitamin D3 aids in the baby’s hormone and bone development, and it also helps support your immune system during your pregnancy.
If a child does not get enough vitamin D, it can lead to softening of the bones and rickets. Your goal is to provide your child with enough vitamin D for the first few months of his or her life.
Before you run out and buy a vitamin D supplement, get tested by your doctor first to see if you have a deficiency. If supplementation is warranted, make sure that you’re only taking vitamin D3, and get regular blood tests to make sure your levels never get too high.
You can also obtain vitamin D from spending some time in the sun. Be cautious if you do go this route, and be sure not to exceed 15-20 minutes in the sun.
Special Dietary Needs
What if your vegetarian, vegan or have food allergies? There may additional supplements you’ll need to take, or you may need to find alternatives to traditional supplements if you’re allergic to/morally against the ingredients used.
Speak with your doctor if you’re following a restrictive or special diet. He or she may refer you to a nutritionist who can help you determine what supplements you will need to meet all of your nutritional needs. A vitamin B12 or iron supplement may be necessary, especially if you’re following a vegan or vegetarian diet.
There are many supplements and pregnancy vitamins you can take to ensure that your baby is healthy – and you’re healthy, too. The supplements listed above should cover most (if not all) of your nutritional bases. Just remember: before you add any new supplements to your diet, be sure to speak with your doctor first. If you are ready to learn more about how supplements can help your pregnancy, click here to read our review of the Pregnancy Miracle program.