Supplements In Pregnancy
A healthy diet consumed through food sources is of primary importance throughout pregnancy and in the months leading up to conception. Supplements are essential in pregnancy and throughout your fertility journey to meet the recommended nutrient requirements. The health and well being of your baby is determined before the egg is even fertilised, highlighting the importance of good nutrition and supplementation in the months prior to conception. Supplementation should always be discussed with a healthcare practitioner, Nutritional Therapist or Dietician before you start, to ensure the quality of your supplements and to check for any drug/nutrient interactions. The following supplements are required for fertility, pre-conception and throughout pregnancy:
If you are on your journey to conceive you have probably heard of Folic Acid. Supplementing with Folic Acid is incredibly important as soon as you make the decision to try for a baby. NHS guidelines highlight 400mcg of Folic Acid is required in the first 12-weeks of pregnancy. Folic Acid is important to reduce the likelihood of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Folic Acid can be taken on it’s own; however I would recommend taking a good quality prenatal multi-vitamin/pregnancy multi vitamin which include the minimum requirements of 400mcg.
A prenatal multivitamin is a great way to ensure you are receiving all the required nutrients to conceive and for a healthy conception to occur. A prenatal multivitamin should include the following nutrients, folic acid, B vitamins, choline, vitamin D, calcium, iron, inositol, magnesium, iodine and zinc. A prenatal vitamin should be taken 3 months prior to conception to ensure optimum egg quality. It is also important that semen quality is optimised prior to conception. A good quality male multivitamin should also be taken when trying to conceive. Brands that I can personally recommend and suggest to my client’s are as follows:
Wild Nutrition Food-Grown Fertility
Wild Nutrition Bespoke Man Food-Grown Fertility
Viridian Fertility for Women
Viridian Fertility for Men
Once you are pregnant a pregnancy multivitamin should be taken for at least the first three months of pregnancy. Folic Acid (400mcg) is required until 12 weeks to ensure the baby’s spine has formed and developed correctly. A good quality pregnancy multivitamin should include folic acid, B vitamins, choline, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, biotin, iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, iodine and inositol. I would recommend continuing taking a pregnancy multivitamin throughout the entirety of pregnancy to ensure the mother is receiving adequate nutrition as well as the baby. A good pregnancy multivitamin can relieve some of the symptoms experienced throughout pregnancy such as fatigue, nausea, cravings and dizziness. A pregnancy multivitamin will also ensure all nutrient bases are covered for the days when you may not be able to eat so well. Pregnancy multivitamins that I can recommend are as follows:
Wild Nutrition Bespoke Woman Food-Grown Pregnancy
Viridian Pregnancy Complex
Zita West Vital Essence 1,2 + 3 trimester vitamins and minerals
The adult requirements for vitamin D in the UK are 10 micrograms. Throughout pregnancy you should try to ensure that you are receiving the minimum 10mcg. A good pregnancy multivitamin as suggested above should include the recommended vitamin D requirements. For pregnant women throughout the winter months it is even more important that they supplement with Vitamin D when sun exposure is limited.
Omega: 3 Fatty Acids
Omega: 3 supplements are not essential in pregnancy, however omega: 3 fatty acids can be incredibly beneficial to the development of baby’s eyes and brain. Recent studies have also looked at omega: 3 fatty acids in relation to postpartum depression, highlighting that sufficient intake throughout pregnancy could reduce the mothers likelihood of developing post natal depression. When it comes to omega: 3 supplements you want to look for one that contains a good ratio of EPA and DHA. It is DHA that contributes to the healthy development of the baby’s eyes and brains; DHA is passed through the breast milk and transferred to the baby. Omega: 3 can be consumed through eating two portions of oily fish per week such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring.
Probiotics are not essential to take in pregnancy, however recent studies have looked at the benefits of taking probiotics on the mother and unborn foetus. Probiotics can be beneficial to alleviate digestive discomfort often experienced in pregnancy such as bloating and constipation. Probiotics have also been suggested to reduce allergies in children, eczema and asthma. A good probiotic that I can recommend in pregnancy and breastfeeding is:
Optibac for Pregnancy
Supplementation should always come secondary to dietary sources and should only be considered when there are obvious insufficiencies within the diet. Throughout pregnancy it is important to supplement with Folic Acid and is required of all pregnant women. When trying to conceive the three months prior to conception is the time you want to focus on your diet and lifestyle. A good prenatal multivitamin will ensure all nutrient bases are covered, optimising both sperm and egg quality ready for conception to occur. Supplementation should always be discussed with a healthcare practitioner to check for any contradictions with medications. It is advisable to discuss with a nutritionist when starting out on your fertility journey to look at your diet and lifestyle as a whole. Nutrition and diet have a profound effect on your health when pregnant, the baby’s health and your wellbeing throughout the pre and post-natal period.
I am currently working with a number of clients on their fertility and pregnancy journey’s. If you would like to work with me then send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or head to the booking section of my website for a free 15 minute call.