Prenatal Supplements – What You Need To Know …
Are you pregnant, trying to conceive or breastfeeding? A prenatal supplement is essential during all these phases in life, and it has to be of the highest & best quality for you and your baby!
What you eat matters, but a prenatal supplement will help to fill in the gaps with what’s lacking in your diet. It’s basically your insurance policy, because during pregnancy and when breastfeeding your nutrient requirements increase, and the majority of women are unable to meet their needs through diet alone.
The reality is, there are a lot of prenatal supplements on the market which just don’t cut the mustard. Far too many still use synthetic forms of folate known as folic acid. Folic acid is typically prescribed by doctors also, however, folic acid is unusable by around 40-60% of the population due to genetic variations (MTHFR). I have this gene and personally won’t go near a supplement containing folic acid. Also, a lot of over-the-counter prenatal supplements are lacking in several nutrients, are low dose or use poorly absorbable forms of nutrients.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding require a lot from your body. You want to make sure you’ve giving your body the best support possible to support not only you through your pregnancy, but a healthy growing baby, and to reduce your baby’s risk of health complications throughout their life. Also, when trying to conceive you want to ensure you’re giving your body the right nutrients to help your body conceive, support hormonal health and egg quality (and sperm quality too, male prenatal supplements are just as important as female prenatal) and also to help your body hold onto your baby to reduce risk of miscarriage.
When it comes to prenatal supplements you want to make sure it contains methylated B vitamins, especially folate, B6 and B12. You also want to make sure it contains choline (a nutrient just as important as folate). It should contain good forms of trace minerals such as iodine, magnesium, selenium, zinc and in functional quantities. It also needs vitamin D3, another very important pregnancy and breastfeeding nutrient.
I use the highest quality prenatal supplements in clinic with my clients, and it’s what I’ve personally taken throughout all 3 of my pregnancies and when breastfeeding. Many women aren’t aware or aren’t informed that their nutrient requirements go up even further in trimester 4 (your postpartum phase) and when breastfeeding. Often woken stop taking prenatal supplements once their baby has arrived earth side, however this is a time your body still requires a lot of nutrients and nourishment. Your body needs to heal post birth (whether vaginal or C-section delivery), you have a wound the size of a dinner plate in you from your placenta that needs healing, sleep deprivation depletes the body, so you require more nutrients to support your nervous system, hormones and adrenals, also if you choose to breastfeed your nutritional stores go up even more, as you not only need nutrients to heal and support your body but you are also growing a human through your milk, this requires a lot of nutrition.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any over the counter brands that you can get from chemists here in NZ that I’d recommend. I would steer well clear of Elevit! Elevit contains folic acid, along with other synthetic nutrients that the body isn’t able to absorb effectively. Synthetic nutrients have a very low dose absorption rate. When you’re trying to conceive, pregnant, or breastfeeding you don’t want to be peeing out expensive supplements your body can’t absorb. It also doesn’t contain choline (a nutrient just as important as folate for reducing neural-tube defects, it’s also involved in methylation, DNA, chloline intake also optimizes placental function, may reduce the risk of preeclampsia, and improve the cognitive development and reaction time of your baby and so much more), plus the nutrients that are in Elevit are in very low dose, they are not therapeutic enough to lift your nutrient levels to provide your body with that it needs during a time in your time your nutrient status is at its highest. It also contains a very poorly absorbable and cheap for of iron which can cause constipation for many women and other gut issues.
If you feel stuck and don’t know where to begin with prenatal supplements I do offer a 15-minute phone call supplement review appointment for anyone wanting access to practitioner grade supplements. These appointments can be booked online, I will provide you with a personalized supplement plan along with giving you access to practitioner grade supplements to guide and support you through preconception care, pregnancy or postnatal support.