Congratulations! You’re going to have a baby and while you’re basking in the glow of impending motherhood you have to take extra care to ensure your baby and you are getting all the nutrients you need at this time to stay healthy. While you need to up your intake of macronutrients—think carbohydrates, proteins and fats—your need for micronutrients, that is, vitamins, minerals and trace elements, is equally important.
Vitamins and minerals support maternal and foetal growth at every stage of your pregnancy and are crucial to support key functions like cell growth, bone and organ development in your little one. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that all pregnant women must take a prenatal vitamin and folic acid supplement to prevent birth defects like spina bifida. And given our ‘everyone is family’ culture, many pregnant women end up taking herbal supplements as well on the advice of friendly neighbours and aunts, all of which aren’t necessarily safe for you or the baby.
Check out the supplements that are considered safe during pregnancy
1. Prenatal Vitamins
They are as the name suggests, vitamins specially formulated to meet the increased demand for micronutrients while you’re pregnant. You should be taking them a month before you plan on getting pregnant, and throughout your pregnancy and while you are breastfeeding. There are countless studies that show supplementing with prenatal vitamins reduces the risk of pre-term birth and preeclampsia, a dangerous complication where you could get high blood pressure during your pregnancy.
Taking these supplements doesn’t mean you don’t have to eat healthy too of course. Its just that these supplements fill any gaps in your diet especially at this time when the demands on your body are higher at this time than any other. You may or may not need to take additional supplements, but your gynaecologist is the best person to advise you. You could try INLIFE Multivitamin and MultiMinerals Nutritab.
Folate is a B vitamin that is very important for red blood cell production and foetal growth and development. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that most people consume. It is recommended that pregnant women take 600 ug of folate or folic acid per day to reduce the risk of neural tube defects and congenital abnormalities like cleft palate and heart defects in their new-borns. Of course, you can get folic acid from leafy green vegetables, citrus fruit, rice, wheat and beans, but most women don’t eat enough folate rich foods, so supplements are essential when you’re expecting. You could try HealthVit B-Vit Vitamin B Complex With Bioton, Vitamin C & Folic Acid Tablets (Pack Of 2).
Did you now that over 75 percent of Indian women are anaemic? Add to that the needs of the baby, and a woman’s need for iron increases significantly during pregnancy because maternal blood volume increases by nearly 50 percent. But why is iron so important? It is critical for oxygen transport and for the healthy development of the foetus and the placenta, the chord that provides the baby nutrition through your pregnancy. Being anaemic carries risks including pre-term delivery, depression and anaemia in your baby when he/she is born. A good supplement is Biotrex Iron Ferrous Fumarate 65mg 60 Tablets or HealthVit Ferolax B12 Slow Release Iron + Vitamin B12 Capsules that also contains Vitamin B12, a vitamin most vegetarians are deficient in.
4. Vitamin D
This sunshine vitamin keeps your bones strong and also wards off many diseases such as diabetes, dementia and some cancers. Most Indians are deficient in this fat-soluble vitamin that also helps build immunity. Low Vitamin D levels during pregnancy have been linked to an increased risk of caesarean section deliveries, preeclampsia, preterm birth and gestational diabetes. Get your Vitamin D levels checked before you start a supplement though, and always check with your doctor first. You could try HealthAid Vitamin D 500iu Vitamin D2 (60 Tablets)
Very few people know that Magnesium is involved in hundreds of chemical reactions in your body and a deficiency, especially when you’re pregnant can increase your risk of high blood pressure and premature labor. It can also cause stunted foetal development and pre-term birth. You could eat green leafy vegetables, figs, bananas, nuts and seeds and legumes to get your daily dose or you could take a supplement like WOW Life Science Magnesium Citrate (60 Vegetarian Capsules).
6. Fish Oil
Fish oil contains DHA and EPA, two essential fatty acids that are crucial for your baby’s brain development. In fact, research suggests that supplementing with DHA and EPA during pregnancy can actually boost infant brain development and decrease maternal depression. It also has a beneficial effect on foetal eye development. To prevent reflux and ‘fish breath’ it’s best to take the supplement after a meal with a glass of water. You could try St.Botanica Enteric Coated Fish Oil 60 Softgels. The other way to ensure your daily dose of fatty acids is to eat low mercury fish such as salmon or sardines.
There are many studies that link mental wellbeing with the gut. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that live in the gut and aid in digestion. They have also been linked with a strengthened immune system and reduced cancer risk. No wonder many moms-to-be are turning to probiotics to keep digestion problem at bay through their pregnancies. They are perfectly safe to take throughout the nine months and afterwards as well. In fact, studies have linked probiotic intake with a reduced risk of gestational diabetes, postpartum depression and infant eczema and dermatitis You could have probiotic friendly, fermented foods, yogurt and probiotic supplements like INLIFE Probiotic Forte 25 Billion With 14 Probiotic Strains 60 Vegetarian Capsules.