Facts about supplements during pregnancy – and two of the most important ones

For a woman, pregnancy is an amazing stage to be in, aside from some moments of discomfort, which is normal. The thing with it though, is the confusion that accompanies it, particularly if it is the first pregnancy, and it can even overwhelm others.

There is also a lot of information all over the internet, as well as many books that have been written on how women should manage their pregnancies, as well as advice on what to eat and staying healthy. Even though there is plenty of knowledge on the dangers of drugs, alcohol and seafood high in mercury is off limits, many women do not know that many supplements is not a good idea.

There is not a lot of information on what is safe or not, and this has made things harder, so read on to find out what to avoid as well as what is safe.

Why are supplements important during this stage?

Pregnancy is the stage of life when the nutrients you take in are not just for the benefit of your body, but also for the benefit of the fetus. The macronutrient needs of the body increase significantly during this stage, including the need for extra protein, carbohydrates as well as fats.

If you look at protein intake for instance, a pregnant woman needs an average of 0.5 grams for every pound of body weight, an increase from 0.36 grams per pound of body weight in a non-pregnant woman.

The increase in requirements also involves trace minerals and vitamins – in fact, the need for these is even more than that of macronutrients. This is because the growth and development of the fetus depends on these nutrients at every stage of the pregnancy, such as helping the process of cell signaling and cell growth.

Even though many women are able to meet these needs through their diets, many are also not fortunate enough to do the same, and that is where mineral and vitamin supplements step in.

The reasons for taking them might include combating deficiencies in nutrients, reducing the onsets of vomiting and nausea (a common cause of nutrient deficiency), as well as restrictions through diets (such as vegan women or those with food intolerances). Other causes include women who smoke, those who are carrying multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets), and some genetic conditions such as MTHFR (a condition that prevents the conversion of folate into usable forms by the body).

Experts all agree that it is important for women who are in this stage to take supplements rich in folic acid, as well as prenatal vitamins. These will work to prevent the occurrences of birth defects in the child or resolve any nutritional gaps.

Herbal supplements

These are very popular among mothers – one study even revealed that 15 percent of pregnant women in America take these as part of their nutritional plan. However, this comes with a catch – more than a quarter of these women took these supplements without the advice or permission from their doctor, which is a dangerous situation to look at.

Even though herbal supplements can be beneficial for you during pregnancy, a lot of them are not. They can actually harm your health, or risk the life or development of the fetus.

The bad news is there is not much information regarding herbal supplements for pregnant women and how they can affect their health, as research has not been extensive.

So, what supplements are okay to take?

The first thing to do when taking supplements or medicines is first checking in with your doctor, and making sure that the doctor gives you the permission to take them. You will also get sufficient advice ion the amounts to take, as well as knowing whether your body needs them anyway.

In addition, make sure that the brand you are buying from is a reputable one. The major way to tell this is investigating if they are willing to have their products tested by independent third-party organizations, such as the USP, or United States Pharmacopeial Convention. This will also tell you that the products meet the high quality standards set by the law, and they are safe for you to consume.

Prenatal vitamins

These are multivitamins that are specific in the ability to improve the levels of micronutrients that your body requires during the pregnancy stage. You must take them before you get pregnant, as well as throughout the whole process, and even into the nursing stages.

When you take these nutrients, the chances of you getting a preeclampsia and preterm birth is reduced, according to some studies that were done on some women. Preeclampsia is particularly risky because it can lead to death of the woman and child – it is a condition that is characterized by high blood pressure in the mother, as well as the evidence of protein within the urine.

These prenatal vitamins will additionally help in bridging the gaps your body might have, so that the health of you and your baby is sustained. However, they may also not be necessary, so you must consult your doctor if you are considering taking them, and get some professional advice.

Folates

These have a very important role in the synthesis of B-vitamins, which has important roles in maintaining the fetal development and growth, red blood cell development, and production of DNA. The synthetic form is known as folic acid, and is found in numerous supplements.

A pregnant woman should take 600 ug of it every day, and this will reduce the chances of cleft lip and palate as well as heart defects in the child.

Even though you can get these folates in your diet, many women do not consume enough of them, so that makes taking supplements important. If you are of childbearing age, note that folic acid must be an important part of your diet – at least 400 mg every day. This will also take care of unplanned pregnancies.

Final thoughts

In addition to these two nutrients, there are other nutrients you should take, regardless of whether you are pregnant or looking forward to the stage. It is therefore essential to take care of the body and make sure you are getting the bets nutrition possible, to ensure the health standard of you and your child remain high.

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