Women usually reach for prenatal vitamins during pregnancy but the list tends to stop there. Having morning sickness or all day sickness? Could be you’re deficient vitamin B6. Terrible heartburn after meals? Could be you need digestive enzymes to help digest your food. Prenatal vitamins are a great start when pregnant but sometimes you need more support, especially if you’re deficient in certain vitamin and minerals. Not all prenatal vitamins are made equal in terms of what’s in them and quality. There’s also so many of them out there how do you know which is right for you? My top supplements in pregnancy (or in general) are a prenatal, vitamin D, omega 3 and glyconutrients.
My favorite prenatals/supplements in general are plant based because they use whole food instead of synthetic vitamins and minerals. For example, when you see folic acid instead of folate, say from broccoli, you know it’s synthetic. I like whole food plant based supplements because you absorb everything instead of what people say “pee it all out” cause it’s all 100% plant based. When reading the supplement label you’ll see the vitamin or mineral and next to it the food it came from. So my favorite prenatal is Innate Response Baby and Me. It's all food based and all the nutrients you need from a prenatal are in there. If you’re comparing recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of plant based supplements you’ll find it a little less than synthetic ones because you’re actually absorbing all that you need. Also, you can’t really take too much of it cause it’s whole food, so worse case scenario you’ll just poop it out. Since it is plant based it won’t cause you to be sicker or more nauseous from a supplement like some prenatals can make you. You can also do a neat trick where you bake your supplement in a 350 degree F oven for 10-15min and see if they just turn brown OR you see black tar like junk coming from it. That’ll tell you how synthetic it is and what you’re putting into you’re body. The big reason we need help from a prenatal/supplements is because our soil is not the same anymore and the foods we eat aren’t as nutrient dense. That’s why we should be eating as organic as we can and when we need help from a supplement, make sure it’s not synthetic.
Vitamin D3 is vital because it’s used by every cell in your body. During pregnancy having sufficient levels lowers the risk of preeclampsia, premature birth, miscarriage, bad implantation, gestational hypertension and other pregnancy complications. Vitamin D also helps with insulin regulation to help lower the risk of gestational diabetes. It also decreases mom’s risk of having vaginal infections and even boost the immune system. Vitamin D plays an important role in the health of ovaries, uterus, placenta and over 2,000 genes. In the beginning stages of pregnancy, the uterine lining actually produces vitamin D in response to the embryo as it enters the uterine cavity and is involved in implantation. Then glyconutrients (more later) help attach the embryo to the lining. Vitamin D is very important in signaling cells of the reproductive system. Preconception wise, studies show that odds of pregnancy were 4x higher in women with adequate to high vitamin D levels. The optimal range for vitamin D is 70-90 ng/ml and you need at least 60 ng/ml to have adequate hormone function. You can easily get this blood tested (vitamin D 25 hydroxy) and it usually is in pregnancy. The recommended daily dose for vitamin D is 1000 IUs/ 25 lbs.
I think I can have a whole blog on omega fatty acids and how beneficial and important they are! When looking at omegas there are your omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which we don’t make these ourselves so we have to get them from fish themselves or a supplement. Omega 9’s are naturally occurring in the body and we tend to go overboard with these. Omegas help to regulate hormones, increase blood flow to the uterus and reproductive organs and increase egg white cervical mucous to help sperm get to the egg. In pregnancy, omegas are essential for baby’s brain, spine and eye development. When taking a fish oil supplement you’ll want to find one with both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA is needed to grow a healthy circulatory system and DHA in important for a central nervous system.The very thing we live and breath by. Low DHA levels has actually been linked to low birth weight, premature babies and even postpartum depression. The best source of omega 3 and 6 is from cold-water fatty fish. You can find it in wild salmon, trout, sardines but also flax seed oil, avocados, kale and spinach. Yep, you can get plant based omegas too! You want a supplement that will give you 1400-1700mg of omega 3, 740-825 mg of EPA and 460-550 mg of DHA. A trick to see if your omega/fish oil supplement is good is if you freeze it and it actually freezes. If the fish oil actually freezes that means there’s more water than oil in there. A good fish oil supplement will not freeze.
Glyconutrients are another favorite and must especially in pregnancy. Glucose is required for brain, liver and muscle function. These glyconutrients attach to the cells protein surface to form a glycoprotein. If you don’t have glycoproteins on the cell surface there will be miscommunication on a cellular level and in time will create symptoms on a disease level. In the first 12 weeks of life glycoproteins are actually what’s used to feed baby and will help determine if baby sticks or not. Glycoproteins provide the bio-mechanical building blocks for the first 11 weeks of pregnancy. So they say if you don’t have glycosylation, you don’t have life. Mom actually secretes this "milk" that baby drinks made from sugars and proteins from the placenta in the womb until nutrition comes from the umbilical cord. Glycoproteins are built on sugars on the surface of cells and all of these sugars should be from our food. But again, our food is not the same anymore because the quality of the soil is down and people aren’t eating all the vegetables they should be. We need to have these building blocks in place so that the cells can better communicate. Not only that, but these glyconutrients are prebiotics (not to be confused with probiotics) that help feed the baby’s gut. We have over 200 varieties of these sugars and babies cannot digest these. Instead, they’re turned into prebiotics that help the baby’s body/gut decide what bugs/bacteria needs to be there. Mom continues to seed the baby’s gut through breastmilk so we always want to make sure mom has the proper sugars to do so. Mom’s breastmilk is actually more sugars than protein so we want to make sure it’s the right sugars. So mommas eat your vegetables and get help from a glyconutrient supplement if needed!
I hope you enjoyed this blog and I’ll be jumping on a video our office Facebook page to share my favorite brands of these supplements and why! Keep a look out and as always if you have any questions feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.