It’s important to get started eating a healthy, nutrient dense diet before pregnancy but I also think it’s challenging to get in all of the proper vitamins/ minerals on diet alone. Once you become pregnant, the baby will quickly start to use up your nutrient stores so it’s very important to have built a solid base (I recommend getting started on a supplement protocol at least 3-6 months before trying to conceive- and this includes both future moms and dads!) and also make sure you are eating as nutrient dense as possible.
Below is the list of supplements that I took prior to getting pregnant and continue taking during my pregnancy. We each have individual and unique needs, but this has worked very well for me.
A good Prenatal
I personally chose Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal as my prenatal vitamin. It is more expensive than some other prenatals, but I think the benefits are well worth it. It contains methyfolate which is very important if you have the MTHFR mutation (which I do!) which means that you can’t process synthetic forms of folic acid. About 50% of people have the MTHFR mutation (if you have it- you most likely don’t know that you do!) so I recommend that most people just take the methylated version of folate even if they’re unsure whether or not they have MTHFR- might as well cover your bases!
It also contains the methylated version of B12 which again, is important for those of us with MTHFR.
Besides that, it contains all the other basic vitamins that are important in pregnancy like Vitamin A, Biotin, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Coenzyme Q10, etc. It does not contain Iron so I do take a liver supplement (see below).
Some other great prenatals are: Thorne Basic Prenatal, Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal and Innate Response Prenatal.
Although my prenatal contains vitamin D3, I prefer to take a larger dose so I also take additional supplemental D3 (see my post here). Vitamin D can help reduce many pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes. It is also important for baby’s bone and hormone development and can also support mom’s own immune system during pregnancy.
I believe that taking magnesium and my probiotic (see below) during pregnancy has been the reason I have not had the dreaded constipation that plagues most pregnant women. I have been able to keep completely “regular” which I am very happy about! Magnesium is incredibly important to help mom’s tissue growth and recovery during pregnancy and can also help the baby obtain more nutrients from the placenta.
Probiotic support is so important, and particularly during pregnancy. During birth, babies receive beneficial gut bacteria from their mom as they pass through the birth canal and then from nursing afterwards. This beneficial bacteria is important for baby’s own immune system and lifelong health. Probiotics also help mom avoid illness and constipation while pregnant. This is the one I take, but I usually switch it up every couple of bottles to a new brand.
I have continued taking Betaine HCL with my high protein meals during pregnancy which keeps my digestion running smoothly. I am interested if this could also help down the road when a lot of pregnant women start to experience heartburn (see my post here)! Knock on wood, I have never experienced heartburn and I hope to avoid it during pregnancy as well!
Vital Proteins Beef Liver
Liver is a great source of nutrients for all of us, including pregnant women. But unfortunately I have tried liver in a bunch of different recipes and I just cannot eat it (I have literally used up an entire stick of butter and pound of bacon in the process of trying to make liver palatable and ended up having to feed the whole thing to my dog). But all is not lost! I supplement with liver to still get all of its great nutrients without having to deal with the taste : )
Prenatal Omega 3
Essential Fatty Acids are extremely important to consume for our overall health. Most people think of omega 3’s and cardiovascular health, but they also help provide a healthy immune system, better brain and cognitive function, joint mobility, eye health, lactation, and skin/ hair benefits. Unless you are extremely focused on eating a ton of healthy fats, it can be difficult to get in enough DHA and EPA, especially during pregnancy when a woman’s demand increases substantially. Here is some of the research for fish oil benefits during pregnancy/ lactation: (https://nordicnaturals.com/en/consumers/why-omega-3s/542)
- Promotes the healthy development of the fetal brain, eyes, nervous system*
• Promotes positive mood and well-being for mothers*
• Supports healthy birth weight and gestational length*
• Promotes attention and focus in infants and children*
• Supports healthy immune system development*
• Is natural and safe for long-term use
I use Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA which has been working great for me.
So there we have it! I clearly have no problem taking supplements or swallowing pills, but for those of you who do, Seeking Health also makes a chewable prenatal vitamin.