Key Nutrients in Early Pregnancy

 

Being pregnant means you’re not only providing nutrients for yourself, but also to your growing baby!  This probably leaves you wondering what nutrients are essential to kickstart a healthy pregnancy and how can you make sure you’re getting them?

You’re likely not surprised by the fact that pregnancy requires a lot of nutrients to support your rapidly developing baby.  But you may, in fact, be surprised to hear it’s nearly impossible to reach nutrient goals through diet alone.

Key nutrients in prenatals

 

Here are some of the key nutrients that you need and how to get both yourself and your baby enough of them:

Folic acid or methylated folate (B9)

This is one of the most important nutrients for early pregnancy!  Folic acid is essential for the proper development of the neural tube, which is the part of your baby’s body that eventually becomes the brain and spinal cord. Taking a prenatal vitamin that contains this before and during early pregnancy has been shown to reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine.

Goal: 400mcg 

Omega-3 fatty acids

These are important for the development of your baby's brain and eyes. They are found in fatty fish, such as salmon, as well as in walnuts and flaxseeds, but many women do not get enough by diet alone. Taking a prenatal fish oil or DHA supplement can help ensure you're reaching a minimum of 200mg of DHA. A quality prenatal fish oil will often have a total of 1,000mg of fish oil with around 400mg of that being DHA.

Goal: minimum of 200mg of DHA

Probiotics

Who said all bacteria is bad? Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help support your digestive health and immune system. Taking a probiotic supplement designed for pregnancy can not only be great for you, but can help to speed up your baby’s immune system during birth – win, win!

Goal: contains both Lactobacillus species and Bifidobacterium species totaling around 25 billion colony forming units (CFU)

Iron

Iron is needed to make hemoglobin, which is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to your body's tissues. During pregnancy, your body needs more iron to make more blood to supply oxygen to your growing baby. Taking a prenatal vitamin that contains iron or a separate iron supplement can help ensure you're getting enough. Each woman’s iron needs are unique, so your provider can advise you on how much is best for you.

Choline

Getting enough choline during pregnancy can reduce the risk of neural tube defects and other birth defects, as well as support healthy brain development in your growing baby. Make sure your prenatal vitamin includes this super-nutrient!

Goal: 450-500mg

Calcium

Calcium is important for the development of your baby's bones and teeth. If you don't get enough calcium during pregnancy, your body will take it from your bones, which can lead to osteoporosis later in life – yikes!  You can easily get this with a combination of diet and a prenatal vitamin.

Goal: 1,000mg

Vitamin D

Vitamin D actually supports the absorption of calcium and the development of your baby's bones, teeth, skin, and eyes. You can find this in a prenatal vitamin or a Vitamin D supplement.

Goal: 600 IU

Now that you know your nutrient goals, it’s time to prioritize your nutrition and go shopping for the perfect supplements to support a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby! What you will likely realize after hours of research is that it’s so hard to find the *ideal* supplements. So that’s why we’ve created them! 

Premom's prenatal multivitamin is doctor-developed and extensively researched to give you the best quantity and quality of essential nutrients. We’re here to make it easier to focus all your efforts on achieving a happy, healthy pregnancy!

 

References

Gardiner, P., Nelson, L., & Shellhaas, C. S. (2020). Micronutrient Needs During Pregnancy and Lactation. Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health, 65(5), 711-720.

Scholl, T. O., & Johnson, W. G. (2000). Folic acid: Influence on the outcome of pregnancy. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 71(5), 1295S-1303S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/71.5.1295s

Dwyer, J., Coates, P., Smith, M. Dietary Supplements: Regulatory Challenges and Research Resources. Nutrients. 2018 Jan 4;10(1):41. doi: 10.3390/nu10010041. PMID: 29300341; PMCID: PMC5793269.

Zhang, F., Barr, S., McNulty, H., Li, D., Blumberg, J.. Health effects of vitamin and mineral supplements. BMJ. 2020 Jun 29;369:m2511. doi: 10.1136/bmj.m2511. PMID: 32601065; PMCID: PMC7322674.

Kominiarek, M., Rajan, P. Nutrition Recommendations in Pregnancy and Lactation. Med Clin North Am. 2016 Nov;100(6):1199-1215. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2016.06.004. PMID: 27745590; PMCID: PMC5104202.

Greenberg JA, Bell SJ, Ausdal WV. Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplementation during pregnancy. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Fall;1(4):162-9. PMID: 19173020; PMCID: PMC2621042.

 

early pregnancy, nutrients, prenatal vitamin, supplements
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