The best natural supplements to help you during pregnancy
During your pregnancy, it’s extremely important to take care of yourself for the well-being of both you and your baby. You’ll notice your body going through a lot of changes and you need to give it a boost here and there, especially with enough nutrients.
You might have heard of different supplements you should be taking but it can get overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to clear everything up for you. So let’s break down everything you need to know about which vitamins and nutrients you should be taking and which you should be avoiding to make sure that one of the most exciting journeys of your life is also the healthiest.
What should you be supplementing while pregnant?
You’re probably familiar with all of these vitamins and minerals because they’re part of your daily intake but when you’re pregnant, you may need to increase your consumption. And it’s no surprise why because you are growing a whole new human inside of you after all!
However, not every mom-to-be will need to increase their intake of all of these vitamins and minerals, but you should always ensure that you are getting enough of them. The best way to do that is to incorporate them into your diet but if you feel you’re still not getting the right amount, you could take a supplement. We recommend that you check for a high-quality supplement by looking at its nutritional value and if the product has been verified by credible sources. With that in mind, the best natural supplements to take are:
- Vitamin D
The ideal amount of vitamin D your body needs each day is 10 micrograms. It helps to regulate your levels of calcium and phosphate which contribute to helping with your baby’s bone development and keeping your immune system and muscles healthy. Spending time in the sun is a good way to get your daily dose of vitamin D but if you’re unable to spend time outdoors, for example during winter, you should consider taking a supplement. Vitamin D is also found in certain foods such as eggs and red meat so you could consider adding those to your diet to increase your intake.
- Folic acid
Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps with healthy growth and development. During pregnancy, it can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine. The recommended amount of folic acid is 600 micrograms a day during pregnancy and 400 micrograms during prepregnancy. Foods rich in folic acid include citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables and beans. You can also get a good amount of folic acid from cereals, bread, pasta and rice.
- Vitamin C
This is a vital vitamin for everyone but it can be especially beneficial during pregnancy. It helps to support the immune system and keep it healthy while also working as an antioxidant. This action will neutralize cell-damaging free radicals so that they don’t pose a threat to you or your baby. Another role of vitamin C is to help with the absorption of iron, a very important mineral during pregnancy. Vitamin C is abundant in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables including oranges, red and green peppers, strawberries, broccoli and potatoes.
When you’re pregnant, your blood volume increases by about 45%. This means that your body needs a lot more iron to transport enough oxygen around your body. Another reason for an increase in demand for iron is to help your baby and the placenta grow and develop well. Green leafy vegetables like spinach are high in iron as are red meats, legumes and nuts.
Depending on your age while pregnant, you need about 350 milligrams to 400 milligrams of magnesium a day. It helps with nerve and muscle function and maintaining normal blood pressure studies show that magnesium is especially needed during pregnancy because it can help prevent complications with the pregnancy including premature labour. Good sources of magnesium are seeds and nuts such as chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and almonds, leafy green vegetables and some legumes.
Although not a necessary nutrient during pregnancy, ginger is a bonus natural supplement that can offer many health benefits. It can ease nausea during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, be careful when taking ginger as there is no standardised dose for expectant mothers and some evidence shows that high amounts can increase the risk of bleeding.
What should you avoid while pregnant?
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A can be beneficial for your baby’s vision and immune development but taking too much of it can pose a risk. It can accumulate in your liver and result in toxic effects and liver damage. This could lead to birth defects and abnormalities so it’s best to not take additional supplements of vitamin A.
- Vitamin E
This vitamin may be good for overall health but is also not advisable for supplementation during pregnancy. It’s been shown to increase the risk of abdominal pain and premature rupture of the amniotic sack.
- High mercury seafood
Mercury can have adverse effects on a developing baby’s brain and lead to an increased risk of cerebral palsy and cognitive impairment. Fish is a good source of essential minerals including omega-3 fatty acids which can promote healthy development in your baby. Not all fish have a high mercury content so it’s still fine to eat those. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that you should avoid eating fish such as king mackerel, tuna, marlin and swordfish while pregnant and breastfeeding.
What’s the most important thing during pregnancy?
Pregnancy increases the need for nutrients. Not only are you growing another human inside of you but you also may be losing nutrients because of the changes in your body and its needs. It’s important to consume enough vitamins and minerals so that you and your baby are healthy and strong. Eat a well-balanced diet that is rich in the above to naturally supplement your health.