Essential Supplements for Pregnancy
If you are planning on getting pregnant in the next year, are currently pregnant or are breastfeeding, looking at your diet and supplement regime is critical. It is never too early to start preparing for pregnancy. For real. If you are currently a parent, you should be keeping in the back of your mind how your choices now will impact your child as a potential future parent.
During pregnancy, everything you are exposed to, your fetus is exposed to. It is influenced by the air you breathe, foods you eat and any stress you are exposed to.
First thing's first, get your diet on track.
Eat real, whole foods. Baby gets the nutrients that mom eats. If you area eating sugar and processed foods, baby is getting sugar and processed foods. No nutrients. Seriously. You need to be eating loads of fruit and vegetables, high quality animal protein (eggs and meat) and fat. You are growing a human. Please, please take this job seriously.
Avoid soy. Soy acts like estrogen in the body. We really don't need anything else affecting our hormones. Luckily in Canada it isn't subsidized and put in all of our food. In the US this is more of an issue because soybean oil is in nearly everything. Start reading labels.
Drink clean water. Most cities fluoridate their water. Fluoride is a known neurotoxin. Play it safe and give your baby the best fighting chance by avoiding it in your water. Get a high quality water filter or buy spring or filtered water.
This is also a critical time to make sure you are eating fermented foods for the probiotics, bone broth for the minerals and gut health components and organ meats from pastured and grass fed animals for their high, dense nutrient value.
Because you can't out-supplement a crappy diet, get your food choices in order then start taking the appropriate supplements. When you are eating your nutrients, you are getting them in the proper ratio and with other nutrients that make them easier to absorb and utilize. Read Liz Wolf's Eat the Yolks for more information on this. However, because our food quality is worse than what it used to be, it is a good idea to add supplements to your diet, especially during pregnancy. The only caveat is, spend the money on quality. Otherwise you are not only wasting your money, you could be jeopardizing your health. Every mom or mom-to-be should consider taking these supplements.
Take a high quality, whole food based multi vitamin. Here's the problem with most prenatal vitamins. They contain folic acid rather than folate. Folic acid is a synthetic vitamin that has minimal impact on neural tube defects. Folate is found naturally in foods and is great for baby development You'll typically see it as "methyltetrahydrofolate" in supplements. Worried about iron? Make sure you are eating enough high quality red meat, pork, seafood and leafy greens. Also, make sure you are getting enough vitamin C (see below) so you can better absorb the iron. I love Douglas Lab's Ultra Preventative X and Metagenic's PhytoMulti.
DHA is an essentially fatty acid. That means that your body can't make it like it can many other nutrients, but you need to eat it or supplement it. There are 3 forms of omega 3 fatty acids: DHA, EPA and ALA. EPA is great for reducing inflammation. ALA is from plant sources and is difficult for humans to use so it must be converted into DHA or EPA. DHA is essential for neurological and visual development. It can be found in fish or eggs, but really should be supplemented, as well.
Vitamins D and C are also very important. Vitamin D actually works as a hormone and is necessary for bone development and calcium absorption. Vitamin C is essential for immune function, tissue growth and repair. If you're looking for a simple, good for everything, supplement pack. Metagenics has a Wellness Essentials for Pregnancy. It includes all the goods you need and puts them into individual packets so you don't even need to think about it.