Nutritional Supplements for Mamas
Nutritional supplements are essential for pregnant women to ensure optimal well-being and a healthy baby during and after pregnancy. Here we will look at the key supplements that are known to support pregnant women through pregnancy and after.
Folate is important for many processes in the body and especially during pregnancy as it reduces the risk of neural tube defects in the baby. It can be found in fortified foods such as breakfast cereals but many women opt for additional supplementation in the form of folic acid. This is recommended to be taken from the time a woman begins trying to conceive using a dosage of 400-800 micrograms per day.
Vitamin D is essential for many processes in the body but particularly for bone health and the absorption of calcium. It has been estimated that more than 50% of pregnant women in Europe and US are Vitamin D deficient. Although it is possible to increase Vitamin D levels by regular exposure to sunlight, many opt to take supplementation particularly those living in areas with reduced sunlight. The recommended supplementation during pregnancy is 400 IU’s per day.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in brain and eye development in the baby. Foods such as oily fish, chia seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts contain these and are encouraged during pregnancy however additional supplementation of fish oil is recommended to increase intake.
Iron is essential during pregnancy to prevent the development of anemia. It is particularly important in the last trimester when the baby’s iron supply is running low. Iron can be found in meats, legumes and fortified cereals however many women opt to take additional supplementation. The recommended dosage is 18-27 mg per day.
Calcium is essential for normal development of bones and teeth in the baby and also for blood clotting and muscle contraction in the mother. Dairy products and dark green leafy vegetables are great sources of calcium while supplementation with 500-600 mg per day is recommended particularly for vegan women or those with reduced dairy intake.
Other Supplements to Consider
- Vitamin B6 – may reduce the risk of nausea
- Vitamin C – for immune system support
- Zinc – for growth and immune system support
- Magnesium – for muscle and nerve relaxation
Overall, some supplements are essential while others may be beneficial. It is important to inform your doctor or midwife of any supplementation during pregnancy and to ensure that all supplements are of high quality and free of contaminants.