A good diet is your primary source of nutrition, but sometimes adding in a little extra nutritional support through supplementation can be wise, and one of those times is during the wonderful nine months of pregnancy.
As well as eating a wide range of healthy foods, pregnancy-specific supplements are a great way of meeting the nutritional needs of your developing baby and your own body as you bring new life into the world.
Here are my top recommendations for pregnancy-friendly supplements. Always check with your healthcare practitioner before taking any new supplement or medication during pregnancy.
Good ‘Food Source’ Pregnancy Multivitamin
Food-based supplements source their nutrients from food rather than synthetic chemical copies. For instance, vitamin C may be from Rosehips rather than the chemical form ascorbic acid. This means the nutrients are provided in the form Mother Nature intended, and the body can easily recognise and fully absorb them. Supporting your baby through the intensive period of growth and development with a broad, pregnancy-specific multivitamin is a wonderful addition to a healthy diet.
Folate, not Folic Acid
There is no question that folate is essential for a developing foetus, specifically helping to avoid neural tube defects. The synthetic form of folate, folic acid, is often recommended, but current wisdom accepts that it is the food-based folate that is actually required. Make sure any supplement you take for pregnancy contains folate, ideally in the form of ‘methylfolate’.
Good health starts in the gut. As your baby gets their gut bacteria from you during pregnancy and through the birthing process, supplementing with a good probiotic will ensure both you and baby are equipped with enough of the ‘good guys’ to support a strong immune system and healthy digestion.
Omega Oils
Essential fatty acids support brain development, and research has shown that babies of mothers who consumed essential fatty acids had the edge when it comes to development and concentration levels. Include a pregnancy-specific essential oil supplement containing DHA.
Magnesium is an essential nutrient for all stages of life, but particularly during pregnancy. Unfortunately, most of us are deficient in this key element due to poor soil quality, improper diet, and stress. Low magnesium has been linked to morning sickness, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia. Magnesium is a safe and essential pregnancy nutrient, and is best absorbed through the skin in the form of magnesium oil.
Fiona O'Farrell is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Naturopath. She runs The Gate Clinic in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. See www.thegateclinic.ie for more information.
Natural Health Therapist