Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Supplements While I’m Pregnant

by Kristen Suzanne in pregnancy

I’m asked all the time about which supplements I’m taking while pregnant. There are a few things that I take for sure… meaning that I will take them throughout the pregnancy, and there are some things that I’ll take for a certain period of time and then, perhaps, stop. There are some women who don’t feel the need to take supplements while pregnant. Personally, because I’m vegan, I want to make sure my diet is complete, so I feel better by supplementing. Moreover, with the “all-day ‘morning’ sickness” I’m experiencing, I feel even more compelled to take some things because it’s hard for me to get a balanced diet right now.

The following are things I’m taking, but they may not be what you took while pregnant, or want to take if you’re pregnant now. Everyone is different. I researched these items thoroughly before deciding what would work best for me and my baby. If you have questions about your own situation, I’d suggest researching information yourself, and then asking your midwife or doctor.

Here are the items I will take throughout the pregnancy for sure (the prenatal and DHA I pretty much take daily, the others in this list I take every other day or a couple times a week).
  • Vitamin B12
  • DHA (vegan) (there are many vegan options other than NuTru)
  • prenatal*
  • wheat grass (in pill and/or powder depending on how I feel)
  • probiotic**
  • Vitamin D
*Vitamin Code sent me their Raw prenatal to try, which is what I’m taking now. I’m happy with it although it’s hard to say whether I notice anything (as is the case with many multi-vitamins when your diet is already good). I’ve been told that the Vitamin Code prenatal would help with morning sickness. It has not changed that for me – I’m still nauseated all day (remember though, I love it, hard as it is. It’s the daily sign of my pregnancy, so I’m not complaining. In fact, if it went away before the second trimester started, I might be a little bummed). Vitamin Code also sent me other products to try. 

UPDATE: Vitamin Code’s prenatal might not be very vegan after all. The D3 is derived from lanolin – ugh! However, they state that they are following the definition of “vegan” as prescribed by the Vegan Society. You can read more about it on Garden of Life’s website. **Also, you’ll see Dr. Ohhira’s probiotic in the picture. That has beeswax in it so I no longer take that for my probiotic. Instead, I’m taking Ejuva’s Moflora for my probiotic.

I have also spent part of the past year taking New Chapter Organic Prenatal. That is a highly reputable company and many women have successfully used their prenatal. I love that it’s made from food and is organic, but my biggest complaint is that it’s in a tablet form instead of a capsule. From what I understand, when a company makes a tablet, it usually requires heat. Vitamin Code’s Raw Prenatal is in a capsule form, making it easier for them to keep it Raw, which I love. Update {2/9/11}: I have since learned that New Chapter’s Prenatal is not vegan. 

The most important thing for me when getting a prenatal was making sure there were not any synthetics in it. Here is a blog post about when I found synthetics in my prenatals last year. If a prenatal is truly a whole food vitamin, then it shouldn’t upset my stomach when I take it without food. And, in my experience, whole food multi-vitamins don’t turn my urine yellow.

There are some other things I take, although I don’t take them daily, and I’m not sure I’ll take them through the whole pregnancy. It depends on how I feel as time goes by, as well as what foods I’ve had in any particular day. They are:
  • Spirulina
  • Chlorella*
  • Kelp granules
  • Iron
  • B-complex
  • Vitamin E**
  • Protein powder(s) to help me keep my protein higher on all-raw days
  • Chia / Flax seeds
*Chlorella can be tricky because it can cause detox to occur. I’ve been taking this all year pretty much, so my body is used to it. I’m not sure I’d be taking it while pregnant if I hadn’t already had experience taking it prior to getting pregnant. And, it’s not something I take daily anymore either.

**Vitamin E is known as a fertility vitamin because it’s reputed for helping to reduce the rate of miscarriage. I try to get most of my vitamin E from foods, such as organic sprouted sunflower seeds, but I don’t always get enough of those, so on occasion I supplement with it.

I’ve listed some of the things I’m currently taking, but there is so much more than just writing a list. My diet changes all the time – sometimes I get in bananas and avocados (these have B-vitamins) and sometimes I get lentils and other higher protein, iron rich foods. Some days I have oranges and kiwi and greens so I’m getting minerals and phytonutrients. Some days I have herbal teas of nettle and alfalfa (and in the future trimesters, I’ll add raspberry leaf tea). The bottom line is that my diet changes, and as a result, I’m prepared for any possible inadequacies I might experience. I pay attention to my diet every day, with every meal. Some people might say that I over-think this stuff. Quite the contrary. One way I don’t stress about getting the perfect diet is knowing that I have supplements and super foods available to help balance everything. Plus, most importantly, I’m doing everything I can to provide the best environment for my baby. There can be no over-thinking, if you ask me, so long as you don’t stress about it (stress is one of the worst things for a pregnancy).

I’ll say again, not everyone is the same. Not all pregnant, mostly Raw, women will think they need to supplement. I’m not here to prescribe a list for you. It’s simply what I’m taking. Based on my information here, you can further research it, and evaluate your own lifestyle – Do you live in a toxic city or in the woods? Do you have a balanced diet? Is it organic? Are you stressed? Did you have fertility issues? Do you get enough rest? Do you meditate? Do you exercise or burn extra calories? Are you older or younger? Do you have allergies which restrict certain foods from your diet? – As you can see, we are all different and we should all take care and pay special attention to our own, unique situations. A great example is that when I told people about my nausea, I had many people tell me to have ginger. Ginger didn’t help me one bit. I had others tell me to have lemon. Lemon didn’t help me one bit. The list went on and on (peppermint, carbonation, acupressure bracelets, etc). What I think is great is to have all of these wonderful options available and experiences from people. But keep in mind that we’re all different (my mom is amazed that I still love the smell of coffee because she hated it when she was pregnant. She also finds it weird that she only had sickness in the morning and I have it all day. So, as you can see, it’s even different for people in the same family). You never know what might work so don’t be afraid to try different things. Do what is best for you and your baby.

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