Who doesn’t want a smooth-sailing pregnancy? Although it’s important to eat a well-balanced variety of nutritious foods throughout your pregnancy, you should also support a healthy diet and lifestyle with the right prenatal supplements. Keep in mind that prenatal multivitamins complement a healthy diet; they don’t replace it.
Prenatal supplements contain higher doses of certain nutrients essential to supporting a growing fetus. These nutrients include folate, iron and calcium. Keep in mind that not all nutrients are the same!
Choosing your prenatal supplement should be a breeze. Here’s what you should look for.
Prenatal supplement essentials
Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is often found in B complex supplements. This vitamin is naturally found in dark leafy greens, nuts, peas, beans, and fruits such as melons and strawberries. Folate is essential during pregnancy for red blood cell formation and preventing neural tube defects. Think of the billions of cells that are created to form a fetus! Producing these cells requires folate for DNA and RNA replication, the genetic material in all cells. Ideally, supplementation should begin two months before conceiving. This is because the baby’s neural tube containing the brain and spinal cord develops during the first few months of pregnancy.
One in four pregnant women are iron deficient. The need for this mineral increases during pregnancy because red blood cells depend on iron to deliver oxygen throughout the body and to the fetus. A deficiency in iron may affect a fetus’ brain development, nerve function, and lead to low birth weight.
Iron is a nutrient that takes a few months for the body’s stores to build up. This is another reason why having adequate levels before pregnancy is important. However, not all iron forms are tolerated the same. If you experience constipation, diarrhea, or gas from your prenatal or iron supplement, it could be caused by the form of iron in your supplement. This is particularly the case if it’s a poorly absorbed form like iron oxide.
In addition to iron, cofactors to red blood cell formation include vitamin C, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, magnesium, copper and folate. A supplement choice to consider is the Iron Complex by Orange Naturals. It’s non-constipating and contains all of the essential nutrients for healthy blood cells.
Essential for energy production, nervous system communication, red blood cell production and more, B vitamins are important for pregnant women and their growing fetus. In your prenatal supplement, look for vitamin B6 to help decrease potential for morning sickness, and vitamin B12 in its active form – methylcobalamin.
Calcium and Magnesium
Calcium helps to ensure the normal development of bones. When it comes to nutrients, the fetus gets first dibs. So, if mom’s diet lacks magnesium or calcium, her reserves will be depleted. This could risk mom’s bone health to ensure baby gets their nutrients. Consume calcium-rich foods such as leafy greens, sesame seeds, yogurt, sardines, salmon, almonds, beans, legumes, and lentils.
Both calcium and magnesium are required for muscle contraction and relaxation, including the uterus. Magnesium is used in over 800 different biochemical reactions in the body, including calming the mind and relaxing muscles. If you’re experiencing leg cramps, spasms and stiffness, or having trouble falling asleep due to nervousness, this mineral is helpful in relieving some of these pregnancy-related symptoms. When choosing natural health supplements, look for gentle and absorbable forms, such as calcium citrate and magnesium glycinate.
Studies have shown that high doses of vitamin D can decrease pregnancy complications such as infection, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and cesarean delivery rates. Vitamin D supplementation, in particular vitamin D3, helps maintain a healthy immune system, build and maintain strong bones, and improve mood. It’s important to have sufficient levels of this nutrient at least 3 months before conception, as adequate levels take time to build up in the body.
The body requires iodine to synthesize thyroid hormones and is essential for the formation and development of organs and tissues. During pregnancy, production of iodine increases. Low intake and maternal iodine deficiency may lead to potential concerns with the fetus’ brain development. Iodine is essential for the development of the thyroid and brain, and regulates your baby’s metabolism.
For most women, the amount of zinc found in prenatal multivitamins are adequate. This mineral is important for maintaining a full term pregnancy. In addition, zinc supports the immune system and healthy cell growth. Billions of new cells grow as your baby develops! Zinc helps to ensure these cells are healthy. Keep your immune system functioning at its peak with these simple immune boosting tips.
What time of day should I take my prenatal supplement?
Generally, it’s a good idea to take your prenatal supplement with food; take the recommended dose with breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. Some women feel nauseous taking prenatal vitamins, so taking them with food may help reduce nausea. In addition, some nutrients are fat-soluble, including vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin K. So go ahead and enjoy healthy fats! Add avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, and olive oil in your meals.
Sounds overwhelming? Not to worry!
Keeping all this in mind when choosing a prenatal multivitamin can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, Orange Naturals makes it easy with our Prenatal Multi. It contains a full spectrum of 24 vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to support pregnant and breast-feeding women. This prenatal supplement is gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free. Rest assured that you and your baby are in good hands.
What to avoid in prenatal supplements
Now that you have the scoop on what to look for in your prenatal supplements, are you wondering what you avoid? Head on over to blog post to read about what to steer clear of, and when you should start supplementing with prenatal vitamins!