Friday, 22 July 2016

Pregnancy and Nutritional Supplemention

Finding good information on the proper do’s and don'ts of nutritional supplementation during pregnancy is not always easy. There are many websites, books and personal opinions on what are the best supplements for the mom-to-be. 

Here are my top 3 recommendations for any woman wishing to conceive or who is currently pregnant.

1. A good quality prenatal multi-vitamin including folic acid

There are plenty of prenatal vitamins on the market and when it comes to a decision on which one is the best to consider the following: 

Make sure you are taking the active forms of all the vitamins and minerals or a food-based supplement to increase the absorption rate of the nutrients. Pregnancy is a time when optimal nutritional status is important for mum and developing baby so be sure you’re getting top quality ingredients.
Ensure the supplement has a good supply of folic acid to prevent neural tube defects. If you have a known MTHFR genetic deficiency, it would be best to consider the active form of folic acid which is L-5-MTHF to bypass the need for conversion.

2. A good supply of Vitamin D3

It’s likely that your prenatal vitamin isn’t providing you with enough Vitamin D3 since higher levels are necessary for combatting pre-term births, pre-term labour, infections and gestational diabetes. 
Research supports regular supplementation of higher quantities than is regularly recommended – in the range of 2,000-4,000mg daily. It supports bone development, immune system functioning and healthy cell division. Don’t skimp on the D! (You may wish to get tested to make sure vitamin D levels aren’t too high during supplementation).

3. A healthy dose of fats: Fish oil or Flaxseed oil

Fats are critical for both mum and baby. If you have an Omega-3 deficiency, supplementation should be considered by those trying to conceive and during pregnancy. 
The two main components, EPA (touted for its mood, inflammation and immune system benefits) and DHA (essential for brain, eye and central nervous system benefits) work in synergy to create beneficial prostaglandins to support babe’s brain development, immune system and healthy birth weight. While fish oil provides direct access to EPA and DHA upon absorption, flaxseed oil can be suitable for those not wishing to consume fish products, especially those who are vegan.

If you are unsure what you should be taking, or would like a more personalised approach, your Naturopathic Doctor or Holistic Nutritionist can provide advice. Try to choose one that has a particular interest in women's health.

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