Pregnancy is among the most crucial months in a woman’s life. It is when dietary choices should be carefully made while avoiding foods and activities that can be detrimental for the baby. If you choose to follow a healthy diet while keeping your body in top shape then rest assured that your pregnancy will be free from complications. If you choose to do otherwise then you increase the risk of deformities or other serious conditions that can even result in miscarriage.
There are supplements that can help you through this delicate journey. Eat more of their dietary sources while keeping yourself healthy and your baby will thank you for it, eventually. Read on and find out what supplements are great for pregnancy:
Best Supplements for Pregnancy
Protein is among the nutrients that are crucial in the development of your baby, from the entire body down to the smallest cell. The nutrient also benefits pregnant mothers as it helps them maintain a healthy weight gain without going overboard. The body needs protein for the growth of hair and fingernails, the transport of oxygen and nutrients towards cells, and for the maintenance of red blood cells and muscle tissues. Hair loss and a higher infection risk are among the symptoms of a protein deficiency.
Three servings on a daily basis are recommended which is equivalent to around 70 grams. Fatty fish, lean meat, and eggs are ideal sources as they also contain DHA. This fatty acid is crucial in the development of the baby’s brain and it also fights off postpartum depression. Non-meat sources of protein include tofu, beans, and whole grains.
If you are considering taking protein then you should back it up with vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). This vitamin helps the body make the most out of protein. And when I say body it pertains to both you and your baby. It also has an added bonus of contributing to the development of the little one’s nervous system and brain. Some of the food sources of this vitamin include brown rice, bananas, potatoes, and tomatoes.
Vitamins D and K2
Vitamin D has a slew of benefits for mothers. It helps maintain healthy teeth and bones, protects against many medical conditions, and regulates phosphate and calcium levels in the body. Deficiency in this vitamin can increase the risk of deformities and stunted bone development for babies while mothers face greater pregnancy risks.
Levels of vitamin D should be tested first to determine if you are deficient or not. Overdosing can lead to hypercalcemia. If you are in need of vitamin D then you should spend more time under the sun while consuming food sources like egg yolks and fortified cereals and milk. Supplementation can help fill the gaps especially if you are always indoors.
Don’t forget to supplement with vitamin K2 (MK-7) if you are taking vitamin D. This will help prevent calcification that can occur when your vitamin D levels increase. Vitamin K2 can also help during pregnancy as it contributes to proper development of the baby’s teeth and bones, not to mention that your body will need more of it as you enter the third trimester. Natto (a Japanese dish consisting of fermented soybeans) is an excellent source of vitamin K2.
Beneficial bacteria can be passed on to the baby during normal delivery while there are some ways to achieve this with the c-section. These bacteria help protect the baby from many illnesses and infections that can occur during the early years. In the long run it can enhance immunity and ensure good health.
Mothers should take probiotics in order to bolster gut health and make it more habitable for good bacteria. Regular intake reduces intestinal inflammation which can lower blood pressure and minimize the risk of preeclampsia. It also facilitates digestion for better nutrient absorption which is crucial for both the mother and baby. Some pregnant mothers are plagued with problems regarding bowel movement and probiotic consumption can encourage regular movement without any difficulty.
Probiotics are abundant in many different food sources like miso soup, kimchi, tempeh, and of course yogurt to name a few. However you should double check the ingredients of yogurt as some popular brands are pumped with artificial sweeteners and other unhealthy ingredients. If you do not fancy eating these dietary sources then you can always take probiotics in capsule form.
Magnesium is present in many important functions in the body. It also helps in the development and maintenance of tissues especially during pregnancy. And speaking of pregnancy, maintaining the right amount of magnesium in the body encourages better nutrient absorption for the baby. A deficiency of this mineral can negatively affect the baby’s development and can also increase the risk of fetal death. Mothers will experience seizures and arrhythmia when they don’t have enough of magnesium.
If you find yourself irritable with frequent bouts of headache and insomnia then you might be deficient. Have your levels checked through a magnesium test. Eat more seeds, leafy greens, and whole grains for their magnesium content. Magnesium supplements and magnesium oils are alternatives if your diet is not rich in the mineral. Vitamin D helps the body absorb magnesium so you should supplement with that as well.
Vitamin B9 is split into either folate or folic acid. Folate is derived from natural sources while folic acid is its synthetic form. Folate is believed to be the more superior form and the one recommended for pregnancy.
Folate is renowned for greatly reducing neural tube defect risks especially those that can occur during the first few weeks of pregnancy. This means that folate should be taken as early as possible. Folate also benefits mothers as it enhances the production of red blood cells. If you are anemic then you should add folate to your regimen.
Vegetable sources of folate include okra, spinach, asparagus, and lettuce. Meat-lovers can derive folate from organ meats. If you have a MTHFR defect then you should coordinate with an expert as you’ll need to take a different kind of folate. This is important as it will also affect your pregnancy.
Many cringe whenever they hear the dreaded “fat” but actually there are certain fats that are essential especially for the healthy growth of your bundle of joy. Unsaturated fats are considered to be the healthiest kind of fat and are good for pregnancy. The two kinds of this fat include:
- Polyunsaturated fats contain highly-beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. These acids contribute to the proper development of the baby’s immune system, brain, and eyes. Walnuts and fatty fish (salmon, herring, and trout) are good dietary sources.
- Monounsaturated fats contain folate and are abundant in avocados, nuts, and olive and canola oils.
Saturated fats are safe but only in very limited amounts as they can elevate cholesterol levels. Beef sources are packed with protein and iron which are crucial in supplying blood for both mother and baby. Other sources include butter, coconut oil, and cheese.
Trans fats are the ones that you should avoid. They usually contain empty calories with ingredients that have no benefit for you and your baby. If it is unavoidable then you should completely limit the intake of trans fats. These are found in frozen foods and other manufactured foods.
Remember that this article is written for informational purposes only. Do not follow everything you read online without consulting an expert first. Talk to a professional regarding these supplements to determine what is the right one for your situation, the correct dosage, and to avoid possible complications considering how delicate pregnancy is.
Have you tried any of these supplements? Do you know other supplements for pregnancy that can be helpful for mothers? Let us know in the comments below.