Matt and I are happy to announce that we are adding a member to our family in January! We are having a boy, and the kids are so excited for a baby brother. In this time of transition, I have really been working on my health by trying to eat healthy meals, exercise, drink plenty of water, and take my supplements (although I haven’t done any of these perfectly). I have researched supplements to take while pregnant particularly, as well as consulted with nutritionists and doctors, and here is a list of what is recommended for any of you who may be pregnant or want to become pregnant at some point in the future.
I am not a doctor, so please always check with your OB/GYN, primary doctor, or midwife before implementing these suggestions.
First things first, what is actually necessary? There are tons of recommendations out there that can make you feel like you are just going to be guzzling pills down the next nine months, so don’t feel like you have to do everything. Especially if your diet is good (and morning sickness makes swallowing pills difficult), some of these aren’t necessary. But what is?
We are always told a good prenatal vitamin, especially for the folic acid. I do take a prescription prenatal vitamin daily because it is cheaper than a regular prenatal vitamin because of my insurance. I have been told by a doctor and clinical nutritionist though, that if you get enough folic acid through your diet, it isn’t a problem. I try to eat a dark, leafy green salad most days, and many days I drink Shakeology, so I wasn’t overly worried about getting enough folic acid or folate (the natural form of folic acid), but I still like to take one as a precaution.
I list magnesium as necessary because it is vital to so many bodily functions (you can check a summary of a great book, The Magnesium Miracle, out here). In addition, most people are deficient in magnesium and it is very hard to get enough from your food, even when you do eat healthy. I really didn’t experience morning sickness or constipation too badly, and I think taking magnesium helped that a lot. I also haven’t gotten terrible leg cramps, which magnesium is supposed to help. And it also helps you relax, so I take it at night before bed to help me sleep. I use this one because of the added potassium.
Probiotics help you have a healthy gut, reduce the chance of your baby having food allergies, strengthens your immune system, and helps alleviate constipation. It also can help stabilize your mood. I haven’t been too moody and have felt pretty even-keeled during my pregnancy (although others might disagree with me there, ha!), and it has been nice not to be at the mercy of my emotions too much due to all the hormonal fluctuations the body is going through. I use this one because it contains bifidobacterium, and I store it in the fridge.
If you just took 3 supplements, it would be these two that I would recommend.
The benefits of cod liver oil are substantial and have been documented in many places. Some of the main benefits to your baby include decreased risk of asthma, improved formation of brain and nerve tissue, and a 63% decreased risk of pre-eclampsia. I use this one because it has a nice cinnamon flavor (although there is an aftertaste you have to get used to…don’t quit!). There is an orange flavor I have not tried, but might the next go around. They also have capsules, but as my doctor recommended that I take 2 tsp daily, it was a lot of capsules. If you can’t handle the oil, you can try these capsules.
Vitamin B, especially folate, is important for the baby’s growth and development. It also helps with stress and your adrenals, as well as energy (which I definitely needed in my first trimester). I use this complex.
According to a study by Drs. Hallis and Wagner, 87% of all newborns had low Vitamin D levels, as well as 67% of the mothers. If your Vitamin D level is sufficient, it reduces the risk of premature birth, pre-eclampsia, diabetes, and high blood pressure. There are many benefits to the child too. Normal Vitamin D levels in childhood decrease the risk of asthma, colds, flus, cavities, diabetes, stroke and even cardiovascular disease.
I got tested, and my levels were very low, so I have been taking 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily. You can get tested if you are unsure, or since most people don’t get enough, just go ahead and start supplementing it, either through a pill or with sunshine. Sunshine is actually a better source of vitamin D, but sometimes if you have climate problems or just work inside like I do, it can be hard to get enough. I use this one.
My naturopathic doctor recommended two forms of Vitamin E: tocopherol and tocotrienol. He said to take them with food, but not together, so I take tocopherol in the morning (because my prenatal vitamin also has a tiny bit in it, and I take that in the morning as well), and I take the tocotrienol at dinner. These supplements can help improve cognition and act as an antioxidant. I use this one and this one (same brand).
This is very important if you are anemic. I wasn’t, so I don’t take this, but I just wanted to mention it.
Your iodine requirement increases during pregnancy, and 2 billion people worldwide are already deficient in it. It is also important during breastfeeding as well. The U.S. Institute of Medicine recommends that you take 220 micrograms a day during pregnancy, and increase it to 290 micrograms during lactation. I take it in the form of kelp, as it has more than the recommended amount of iodine and is considered a superfood.
I have seen recommendations for zinc between 20 and 50 mg per day, and as the average American gets less than 10, you may want to consider adding it to your supplement routine. It functions as a neurotransmitter, helps keep your immune system, strong, and can help prevent birth defects if you are deficient. I use this one for convenience, although some say a liquid dose is more effective.
This can help speed the body in healing and reduce those cravings! Maria Emmerich recommends taking 2 at every meal. I use this one (but I am really only good at taking it at breakfast).
When in doubt, get a blood test to really see how you are doing. Like I said earlier, my vitamin D was very low, my iron was great, and, while my magnesium was within normal range, according to The Magnesium Miracle, you really want to be at the top of what is considered normal, so I had some room for improvement there.
Drink lots of filtered water. More than one person wanted to make sure I wasn’t just drinking bottled water as some of the chemicals in the plastic bottles could interfere with the baby’s development. I use this water filter at home.
Bone broth, gelatin, and fermented foods are all great things to add. I am not always great about getting these in, but I try to a couple of times a week. Ideally, you would do it daily.
You need lots of healthy fats, as these help your baby’s brain and development and gives him or her a great head start!
Do you have any recommendations for supplements to take while pregnant? What worked the best for you?
This is for educational purposes only, and not intended as medical advice. As always, please consult a doctor before making any lifestyle or health changes. Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, at no additional cost to you, I receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products or services I believe will be helpful to you. In addition, 50% of the profit from this site, including affiliate commissions, goes to helping those in need. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”