During pregnancy and breastfeeding women have increased nutritional needs which can often be difficult to obtain through diet alone. Whilst folic acid is well-known as an essential vitamin to take before falling pregnant and during pregnancy, there are many other vitamins and minerals that play an important role in the healthy development of a baby and maintaining the mothers health. Here we will look at the best vitamins to take while trying to get pregnant, what supplements to take during pregnancy and the best vitamins for breastfeeding mums.
Once you decide you want to conceive a baby, there’s much you can do to prepare your body for conception. Folic acid is recommended 3 months prior to falling pregnant to help reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida and or anencephaly, as folate is critical to embryonic and foetal growth. Ensuring your vitamin D levels are adequate and you are not iron deficient are also incredibly important in helping you fall pregnant. Zinc is involved in a number of different enzymatic processes in the body and can help support ovulation in women. In older women the antioxidant nutrient CoQ10 can also help support healthy reproduction. It is also recommended to follow a nutrient dense, organic wholefoods diet and to minimise your exposure to toxins and chemicals either through food or in your environment.
During pregnancy your nutritional requirements will greatly increase. For all women and especially those faced with morning sickness and loss of appetite, ensuring you are getting all the nutrients you need is essential. Again folate is a top priority to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. B-complex vitamins will also help support the function of folate in the body and help provide an energy boost during a time women often feel fatigued. Antioxidant nutrients vitamin C and vitamin E play a role in maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Magnesium can help support the nervous system during this time and can also help reduce muscular cramps and tension. Throughout pregnancy Iodine requirements are significantly increased as this important mineral is necessary for thyroid hormone production. In the last trimester of pregnancy requirements for calcium increase as your growing baby requires more for bone development.
Another important supplement to take during pregnancy is omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a component of omega 3 fatty acids is needed for healthy development of the brain, eyes and nervous system in a growing baby and infant. DHA can also support healthy brain development and brain health in breastfed babies. Australian NaturalCare has developed DHA for Pregnancy & Breastfeeding which provides a high dose of 400mg of DHA per capsule.
It is vital that breastfeeding mothers gain adequate nutrition to support their growing babies. Following a healthy and varied diet will be the first step and using a supplement for pregnancy and breastfeeding, such as a Pregnancy Multivitamin, will also ensure that all your increased nutritional needs are met.
Pre-conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding can be a demanding time for women, making it imperative women take good care of their health and nourish their bodies. For more information about supplements for conceiving, pregnancy and breastfeeding contact our qualified Naturopaths on 1300 365 020 or email us at Naturopaths@ausnaturalcare.com.au.