Pregnancy is an exciting time for all women, but can often become chaotic when one is looking for the right advice. The internet and magazines are loaded with information that will often overwhelm you if this is your first-time pregnancy. When it comes to nutrition, there is chatter about healthy and unhealthy supplements which causes even more confusion.
Here is a list of some healthy alternatives that will sustain both you and baby’s health and well-being.
Prenatal vitamins are multivitamin supplements designed to quench the demand for micronutrients in pregnant women. Pregnancy does increase your body’s need for nutrients. In fact, your recommended intake for proteins, for instance, increases almost by half, from 0.36 to 0.5 grams per pound. However, demand for micronutrients is more than that for macronutrients, which makes taking prenatal vitamins most essential. They reduce the risk of a serious pregnancy complication called preeclampsia that causes hypertension.
Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate or vitamin B9 that is found in many B complex or combination supplements. The Center for Disease Control recommends that prenatal vitamins with folate should be taken before conception as the effects of folate deficiency are felt within one to four weeks of pregnancy. At this time, most women do not feel the signs of pregnancy. To reduce the risk of neural tube defects, cleft lip and heart problems, you are advised to take at least 600µg of folic acid daily. Your doctor may recommend a supplement with L-methylfolate, the active form of folic acid if you have the MTHFR genetic mutation. Moreover, if you or your partner are at high risk of neural tube defects, or have diabetes, your doctor may prescribe 5mg of folic acid daily till you are 12 weeks pregnant.
Pregnant women need at least 10µg (micrograms) of vitamin D day daily, and a supplement will readily take care of this demand. Adequate vitamin D is vital for healthy bones, skin, and teeth. Supplements are essential because most foods do not offer sufficient Vitamin D, and if you do not get adequate exposure to the sun.
If you have a specific interest in improving your gut health, then probiotic supplements will help you achieve that. Probiotics are essentially living microbes that increase digestive health. In addition to improved digestive tract health, they reduce the risks of gestational diabetes, vaginal infections, and post-partum depression. Apart from an extremely low likelihood of a probiotic-induced infection, no dangerous side effects are associated with taking these supplements.
Iron is critical in the formation of hemoglobin, the oxygen-transporting compound. Being pregnant increases the demand for oxygen, so your blood volume increases almost by 50%. Inadequate iron causes anemia in both infants and their mothers. The recommended daily intake for iron is 27mg, but seeing a doctor is imperative to determine the right amount for you.
The information above contains a list of healthy, essential supplements that is not exhaustive. If you are vegan, vegetarian or have any dietary restrictions like allergies, considering these options will significantly increase both you and your baby’s well-being.