- During pregnancy, your body can go through immense physical changes.
- The need for nutrients increases — both for the mother and for the growing baby — over a period of 9 months.
- These are the top 4 supplements to benefit your pregnancy, according to science.
What should you expect when expecting? There is a lot to consider — especially when it comes to getting the best nutrients during your pregnancy. As your body goes through immense physical and mental changes, it needs more nutrients than ever to keep you and your baby healthy.
While diet certainly impacts your overall nutrient intake, it’s essential to get enough of certain vitamins and minerals during your 9 months of pregnancy. To keep your bundle of joy — and yourself — healthy these are the top supplements you should be taking.
Folate — one category of vitamin called B9 — is necessary for every pregnant woman. The vitamin helps prevent neural tube defects, abnormalities of the spinal cord and also of the brain. The synthetic version of folate is known as folic acid but folate is the form of vitamin B9 which can be taken in supplement form, during pregnancy.
Taking folate supplements early on and throughout the nine months of pregnancy has been shown to decrease the risk of premature birth. A higher maternal folate level has been associated with a 28% reduction in the risk of preterm birth while a folate supplementation has been linked with a 10% lower risk of preterm birth.
There is no denying the benefits of taking a folate supplement when pregnant. Sadly, many women wait until a later term to start incorporating the supplement. According to research, approximately 55–60% of women in their first trimester reported taking folic acid — or iron-containing supplements — compared with 76–78% in their second trimester and 89% in their third trimester.
If you’re pregnant, taking a folate supplement is a must-have.
Right alongside folic acid comes the need for iron. Iron is used to produce hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to the tissues throughout our bodies. In pregnancy, women need 2x the amount of iron to supply oxygen directly to their baby.
Taking iron supplements, in particular, is helpful for pregnant women who are anemic. Lower levels of hemoglobin typically signify this. At the start of pregnancy, blood tests are done to test these levels to help determine which supplements are needed.
Just like with folic acid, research has shown that 55–60% of women in their first trimester reported taking iron-containing supplements — compared with 76–78% in their second trimester and 89% in their third trimester.
Without a sufficient amount of iron, the risk of premature birth, having a low birth weight baby and postpartum depression increases. Consult with your doctor early on about incorporating the supplement into your day-to-day.
3. Vitamin D
Next on the list? A vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D can help promote the development and strength of your baby’s teeth and bones. Not only is it great for your baby, but it does wonders for you. Without vitamin D, there is a risk of developing pregnancy-induced hypertension, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, preterm birth and postpartum depression.
4. Prenatal Vitamin
The process of pregnancy is life-changing and beautiful. It can also put a lot of strain on a woman’s body. Be prepared and do what you can to help your body through the process: take a prenatal vitamin supplement.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, prenatal vitamins can be helpful ways of including vital nutrients in your daily meals. Often, prenatal vitamins contain amounts of the needed vitamins and minerals during pregnancy: folate, iron, calcium, vitamin D and more.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.