The health of mothers to be and their fetuses is paramount. The fetus takes center place during pregnancy as it gets first “dibs” on nutrients. It is critical that moms-to-be get all the nutrients they need to support maternal tissues and metabolic needs to be able to supply the fetus properly. Nevertheless, the fetus will take all if necessary leaving the mother-to-be left in the lerch.
Data coming from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey a few years back has indicated that 80 percent of pregnant women didn’t take in the required allowance of folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids or antioxidants from their diet. That means that during pregnancy and even before and after, you need to supplement to meet you and your fetuses requirements and then later the newborn. It is best to include a balanced combination of vitamins, minerals and omega-3s in one supplement if you can. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any supplement to ensure you’re doing the right thing.
Omega-3s play an important role in the development of the fetal brain including eyes and this is particularly important in the third trimester. It has been demonstrated that women who supplemented with omega-3s during pregnancy had children with higher intelligence. Moreover, it supports the health of the mother-to-be and possibly reducing the chances of toxemia. Omega-3s may also prevent pre-term labor and/or premature delivery and may decrease the risk of postpartum depression. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential meaning your body can’t make them so you have to get them through your diet and/or supplementation. Omega-3s include DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). It turns out that DHA is important for fetal brain and eye development as well as the early years of the neonate. EPA is most important for developing the cardiovascular system. Listed below are some ingredients that you should look for when buying a pregnancy/prenatal supplement.
You should take vitamin D as it is important for the regulation of calcium and phosphate in the body to keep bones and teeth healthy. This should be taken while pregnant and when you re breastfeeding.
Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
Folic acid helps to prevent birth defects such as neural tube defects. A deficiency may lead to heart, urinary tract, cleft palate and limb defects.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Fatty acids are important for fetal growth and development particularly DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Clinicals have demonstrated that supplementing with omega-3s decreases the probability of premature delivery and provides for a higher birth weight. Sources of omega-3s include oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Make sure the product doesn’t contain heavy metals and other contaminants. A number of supplements make use of algae sources that don’t have that problem plus they are vegetarian.
You may need to take an iron supplement and a number of prenatal supplements contain this element. Iron is required to make red blood cells and if your low on red blood cells fatigue sets in. You’ll want to avoid iron sulfate as it tends to cause constipation which you may have a problem with to begin with just because you’re pregnant.
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and helps to keep free radicals at bay. If your diet is rich in fruits and vegetable, this shouldn’t be a problem but supplementation doesn’t hurt.
Calcium and Magnesium
Calcium is important for bones and teeth and important for skeletal development of the fetus as well as maintain your bone density. It also reduces blood pressure during pregnancy and helps you to sleep better. Magnesium taken with calcium helps to reduce muscle spasms and cramps. It helps your skeletal muscle to relax and keep your brain calm.
Cobalamin (vitamin B12)
Vitamin B12 deficiencies have been associated with neural tube defects as well. B9 and B12 work together during fetal development supporting cell division and formation of myelin. Myelin is a fat wrapping round axons on your neurons and acts as an insulator for proper electrical conduction. These vitamins also prevent the build up of homocysteine which is a toxic byproduct of protein synthesis that may also contribute to birth defects.
Probiotics are all about good bacteria for your gut. Research demonstrates that by supplementing with probiotics, you reduce the risk of your child developing eczema. This is important because many children are affected by eczema. It is believed that the bacteria help to digest food and reduce food reactions.