Any pregnant woman will tell you just how hard it is to eat a balanced diet during pregnancy. This is mostly due to hormones, and what your body needs, is not always what you want to eat. As a result of this, most pregnant women will get a prescription for nutritional supplements to help give the body what it requires.
So, the answer is yes. Nutritional supplements are essential during pregnancy, and they not only help the mother but the unborn baby as well. Here are some of the nutrients you may need to supplement during pregnancy;
This is very important, and most women will get a subscription for the best prenatal vitamins, in order to replace what is lacking in your body. They are formulated specially, in order to meet the demand for micronutrients in the body during pregnancy.
They should be taken before conception takes place, and also during the entire pregnancy and lactation as well.
Studies have shown that women who take prenatal vitamins are able to reduce the risks of preeclampsia and preterm births. Preeclampsia is a condition that can be potentially dangerous and it is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine.
Please note that prenatal vitamins are not meant to replace your diet, but should be used to prevent nutritional gaps and provide the much-needed micronutrients in your body. These are in high demand during pregnancy.
Prenatal vitamins are enough in providing the minerals and nutrients needed for pregnant women, and therefore, you do not require to take in additional vitamin tablets, unless if prescribed by your doctor.
This is a B vitamin that is very important when it comes to DNA synthesis, fetal growth, and development and also the production of red blood cells.
The synthetic form of folate is folic acid, and it is found in many supplements. It is normally converted into its active form of L-methyl folate, in the body.
It is recommended that women who are pregnant should take 600 ug of folic acid per day so as to reduce the risk of congenital abnormalities and neural tube defects. Although folic acid is available in foods, most women do not eat enough folate-rich foods.
It is however not just for pregnant women. The center for disease control and prevention actually recommends that all women who are of childbearing age should consume 400 mg of folic acid per day in order to receive the required nutrients.
The reason behind this is that most pregnancies are normally unplanned, and congenital disabilities are likely to occur as a result of folate deficiency even before the woman realizes that she is pregnant. It is, therefore, wiser to start taking them early, especially if you have MTHFR genetic mutation.
During pregnancy, the need for Iron increases significantly. This is because the maternal blood volume increases by 50%.
Iron is critical for the transportation of oxygen and the healthy growth and development of the fetus and placenta. The prevalence of an iron deficiency in pregnant women is almost 18% in the US alone, and more than 5% of these women end up being anemic.
Anemia during pregnancy is associated with maternal depression, preterm delivery, and infant anemia as well.
The recommended intake during pregnancy is 27mg of iron per day. This can actually be met through most prenatal vitamins but, pregnant women with an iron deficiency or who suffer from anemia will require higher doses of iron. This should, however, be regulated by a doctor.
Pregnant women that do not have an iron deficiency should ensure to stick to the recommended dosage in order to avoid any adverse effects. These include constipation and high hemoglobin levels.
This is a fat-soluble vitamin that is extremely important for bone health, cell division and immune function.
A vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to the risk for a cesarean section, preterm birth, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes.
The recommended daily intake for pregnant women is 600 IU. Experts however advice that there is a lot of need for Vitamin D, especially during pregnancy. All pregnant women should speak to their doctors for the proper amount of supplement.
This mineral is involved with many chemical reactions in the body. It also plays an integral part in muscle development, nerve function and also immunity.
A deficiency of Magnesium during pregnancy will increase the risk of premature labor and chronic hypertension. Studies suggest that supplementing with magnesium will also reduce the risk of preterm birth and complications such as fetal growth restriction.
Ginger root can be used both as a spice and supplement. It is commonly used to treat nausea which is caused by motion sickness, chemotherapy or pregnancy.
According to research, ginger is safe to use during pregnancy for the treatment of pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. These are very common, and at least 80% of pregnant women experience it in the first trimester.
This contains EPA and DHA. These are essential fatty acids that are extremely important for fetal brain development. Supplementing them during pregnancy helps to boost the infant brain development and decreases instances of maternal depression, although research on this is still inconclusive.
Observational studies have shown that there is improved cognitive function in children whose mothers supplemented with fish oil during pregnancy. It also shows that these supplements helped to protect against preterm delivery, and the babies had better eye development as a result of the fish oil.
To get these nutrients – EPA and DHA, pregnant women, are encouraged to consume foods that are low in mercury such as salmon, or sardines.
With the increased knowledge in gut health, many pregnant women are turning to probiotics. These are living microorganisms that are known to help with digestive health.
Studies show that probiotics are safe during pregnancy, and supplementing with probiotics will actually reduce the risks of postpartum depression, dermatitis, and infant eczema.
Pregnancy is a sensitive time both for the baby and the mother, and health and nutrition play an integral part. Supplements are extremely helpful, but they may cause some side effects if taken inappropriately, or without following the doctors’ orders.
Please remember that vitamins are not meant to replace a healthy diet, and all pregnant mothers are required to ensure they eat well, sleep well and also get plenty of exercise in order to have a healthy pregnancy.