During the course of pregnancy your body goes through many physical and hormonal changes. Your nutritional needs increase significantly and getting the right nutrients at the adequate levels will help to promte your own health and your baby’s growth and develoment.
It is important to have a balanced diet that includes a variety of fresh, healthy foods, however, the requirements for specific nutrients are often too high to be met from diet alone, particularly of folate, iron, iodine, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. Good quality pregnancy supplements can help you make up the difference.
Many of these supplements are also helpful as you prepare to become pregnant as well. In the case of folate, supplementation should be started 3 months before conception to provide its full protective effects.
Let’s begin with folate, a B vitamin that helps prevent neutral tube defects and promotes the healthy development of the fetus. The need for folate doubles when you are pregnant.
Recent studies show it reduces the chance of bearing an autistic child by some 40%. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. It did not exist until chemists synthesized it in 1947. Studies show that natural folate—not folic acid—is the sure way to be protecting your unborn child from folate deficiency symptoms. Owing to certain common genotypes, folic acid may be harmful to some, since it is not metabolised and may block the natural folate from functioning (read more about Folate vs. Folic Acid).
Folate is found in leafy green vegetables, and legumes such as lentils and black eyed beans, but studies show that most women don't get enough of it from their diet at the levels needed when pregnant. If you are planning a pregnancy, you should begin to increase your folate intake at least 3 months prior.
IMI Dispensary carries a number of supplement products that provides a good level of natural folate. Our practitioners recommends Design For Health L-5-MTHF (Folate), which is an all-natural, bioactive folate supplement. Each capsule provides 1,000mcg of folate. The product is available in-store only at the moment. Ask one of our dispensary advisors, who are qualified naturopaths, for the most suitable MTHF or Folate supplement for you.
Made from 100% whole food such as fresh fruits and vegetables, Innate Response’ Baby & Me is a comprehensive foundational formula that offers superior bioavailability, compared to other synthetic products. It is easily digested and absorbed because your body recognizes it as food.
Iron, an important mineral for pregnant women, can cause bowel discomfort in the synthetic form commonly given at medical clinics. However, when given in a food state form, it is gentle on the stomach and tolerated by the digestive system.
Baby&Me also contains good doses of manganese, zinc and chromium to help with a healthy blood sugar level.
We recommend that extra vitamin D, calcium and magnesium taken at night during the third trimester for a complete nutritional support.
Design For Health’s Prenatal Pro is also available with a naturopath’s advice or prescription. It is a daily supplement that gives a strong foundation of all the vitamins and minerals, with extra folate in the MTHF form. Simply talk to our naturopath on staff for advice or recommendations.
Good health starts in the gut. Probiotics, the beneficial intestinal bacteria that provides a life-giving bio-film through the intestines, enhance the absorption of nutrients, which is even more important in pregnancy, and also support good digestion, improve immunity and reduce allergies. For pregnant women, probiotics can also support a healthy urogenital tract and are known to reduce candida and probably also the pre delivery Strep B bacterial infections.
For the baby, studies show that a breastfeeding mother who is taking a strong probiotic formula—such as the recommendations below—reduce the chance of their child having allergies by some 50%. So probiotics are a benefit to both mother and child.
Klaire Labs’ Ther-biotic Complete is clinical-grade and contains potent strains of probiotics to support a healthy immune, digestive and urogenital system.
Klaire Labs Ther-biotic For Infants is is a high potency blend designed to support a normal infant microflora that can be so easily disrupted by caesarean section deliveries, formula feeding, antibiotic and pollution exposure.
Deficiency in vitamin D can lead to increased risks of miscarriage, preeclampsia, impaired fetal growth, maternal bone loss in pregnancy and weakened immunity. It is a very common deficiency—some 2/3 of the population in this region has been found to be deficient. Requirements rise drastically during pregnancy, according to published studies.
Our bodies make vitamin D through the exposure to sunlight, and it is not possible to get an adequate level from your diet. Medlab’s NanoCelle D3 spray delivers vitamin D3 via the membrane lining in the mouth, thus bypassing the gastrointestinal tract and permits added absorption.
We recommend a total supplementation of up to 4,000IU daily during pregnancy and breastfeeding stages.
During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases and extra iron is required to produce more hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen through your body. Iron-deficiency during pregnancy can lead to preterm delivery and low birth weight.
Spatone Liquid Iron is 100% natural iron-rich water from North Wales. It offers an absorption rate unmatched by food sources or conventional iron supplements. Studies have revealed that it is effective against iron deficiency in pregnancy, and does not cause the side-effects like constipation. It has two studies showing effectiveness for pregnant women.
Deficiency of iodine in mothers can cause low IQ in offspring. Unless seafoods or iodised salt are used, iodine deficiency can occur, and possibly 15% of pregnant mothers have low iodine. You will find the supplement levels needed in the prenatal products we advise above.
Omega 3 oils cannot be synthesized by the body and therefore must be obtained from the diet, yet most people test deficient.
In pregnancy, omega 3 can reduce the chances of developing preclampsia and preterm labour. Omega 3 is essential to support the growth of your fetus and the development of the brain and nervous system. One of the components of omega 3 is DHA, and this is vital for the babies brain development, both in utero and while growing through childhood.
For breastfeeding mothers, taking a good quality fish oil will help to reduce allergies in your infant.
Vital Nutrients‘ Ultra Pure Fish Oil contains a high concentration of both EPA and DHA. Their purity program is the best in the industry and the oil is independently tested for rancidity, mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, PCBs, dioxin and bacteria.