When I was 2 I ate a whole bottle of Flintstones vitamins. Needless to say, a scary trip to the hospital and a stomach pumping followed. And I’ve hated taking pills ever since.
Having said that, I don’t think we can get every nutrient we need from our diets. Unfortunately, our depleted soils produce foods that aren’t as nutritionally dense as they could be. I also live a busy life, and don’t always get as many vegetables and fat soluble vitamins in each day.
So, I take pregnancy supplements, and I’ll list them out below. Now, as you can see, I took a lot of different things but the majority are FOOD-BASED and easy for our bodies to recognize and utilize. This is me using food as medicine :). The food-based doses are much less than synthetic vitamins and minerals. This makes it safer and explains why I take so many. Read through and take what works and leave the rest. Always, always, talk to your doctor or midwife to find out what is best for your body.
If you’re looking for the best prenatal vitamins, click for a whole post on that. Quick note: I take 95% of these when I’m not pregnant, so hopefully everyone can relate to this post :).
Ready? Here’s what I take for Pregnancy Supplements.
I always take my prenatal pregnancy supplement as an insurance policy to make sure the baby and I are getting what we need. I use either MegaFood or Garden of Life Vitamin Code. Both are food-based pregnancy supplements, which I like because they are natural and easier to digest. I like MegaFood because they are high in iodine, have a good zinc/copper ration and are what I took with Griffin. The Vitamin Code prenatal contains additional probiotics and digestive enzymes, which is nice. They’re also smaller and you take less (3 versus 4).
Here’s a whole post on the best prenatal vitamins for you.
Cod Liver Oil
In my opinion, this is one of the most important pregnancy supplements (and are great for nursing too). It contains naturally occurring fat soluble vitamins A & D, which are vital for baby’s brain and eye development, bone and teeth structure, and so forth. It’s also high in omega 3’s and the fatty acids EPA and DHA. Again, critically important for baby’s development and mom’s health. I used to take the Fermented Cod Liver oil but changed once a raw, extra virgin option came to the market. This cod liver oil actually tastes good! Well, at least not terrible I took 1 teaspoon per day to give me 10,000 IU of natural, food-based vitamin A.
Most others on the market, use heat to remove contaminants and naturally occurring vitamins. They then synthetically add them back in. Having said that, some people are looking for a more affordable option. I would then recommend this product. Note: one tablespoon equates to 1 teaspoon of the raw cod liver oil.
High Vitamin Butter Oil/Vitamin K2
Weston A. Price, a dentist who traveled the world studying cultures with the highest longevity rates, found that the healthiest people consumed 10X the amount of fat soluble vitamins A & D. He was a huge fan of cod liver oil as a result and found that “magic” occurred when he combined it with high vitamin butter oil and it’s special qualities.
We now know that it contains another fat soluble vitamin, vitamin K2, which helps take calcium out of the wrong places in our bodies (i.e. kidneys, arteries, etc.) and into the right places like bones and teeth. It’s also great for cancer prevention. Because vitamin K2 regulates clotting in the blood, I don’t take daily. Instead, I shoot for a few times a week and love it because again, it’s a food-based supplement.
I find this pregnancy supplement really helps with tooth sensitivity and keeps my skin super soft. I rotate between taking the butter oil and the cheaper vitamin K2 supplement, which is derived from fermented soy (natto). Again, the more we can get nutrients from food, the better!
I started taking a vitamin B complex about 6 months before I got pregnant. My midwife suggested this to build up my folate stores. I took this one from Vitamin Code. Since I still had some left, I kept taking it as a pregnancy supplement here and there throughout the first trimester. I also took 50 mg of Vitamin B6 with each meal to help with first trimester nausea. It worked great! I stopped taking at 14 weeks once the queasiness went away. If you have the MTHFR mutations, you will want to take a methylated B vitamin like this one. If you are looking for a purely food-based option, take a tablespoon of bee pollen and/or add 2 TB of nutritional yeast flakes to your yogurt or smoothie each day. I like this brand because they don’t add any synthetic B’s to the flakes.
I’ve seen stats that state anywhere from 60-95% of the U.S. population is deficient in magnesium. This pregnancy supplement also helps with morning sickness. Most importantly, it keeps things moving… if you get my drift. When we get pregnant, the hormones can slow things down, including our digestion and bowels. Magnesium is a wonderful remedy for constipation.
The rule of thumb for dosage is to take magnesium until your stool get loose. Then dial back. For me, the perfect dosage seems to be about 500 mg a day. I would recommend a combination of Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate and Ancient Minerals Magnesium spray, which you apply topically. Update: Do not use magnesium citrate supplements as these drop your ceruloplasmin levels. You can read more about here.
I’ve also discovered the wonders of vitamin C. Unfortunately, most prenatals are very low in this important vitamin. The key is to use a food-based form of vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is usually derived from GMO-corn and is a synthetic isolate that can cause imbalances elsewhere in the body. Just 1 teaspoon of a good food-based fruit powder will give you a great boost of natural C, with all of its natural co-factors, to keep your immune system strong. Vitamin C is also excellent when pregnant because it strengthens your bag of waters (possibly preventing premature rupture) and it’s super nourishing for your baby’s placenta. It also helps to regulate copper and iron levels in the body.
I like taking one while pregnant and I rotate my brands to expose myself to as many different bacterial strains as possible. Right now, I’m using Natren. I like it because it’s high in bifidophilus, which is important for good gut health. I’ve also used Klaire Labs, Dr. Ohrika, and Bio-K. But my favorite probiotic is probably Prescript Assist since it’s a hearty soil-based organism. It’s more “natural” than some of the other isolated strains. Of course, a great, food-based way to get good probiotics is eat fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kim chi, sauerkraut, etc.
I think everyone can benefit from taking one. I like these digestive enzymes from Vitamin Code. Just one at each meal takes away any indigestion. I’ve also used HCL with Pepsin, which worked well too.
So there you have it… the pregnancy supplements I’m taking.
Are you pregnant? Planning a baby shower?
Take a look at my baby registry checklist, a handy visual guide featuring everything you need and nothing you don’t 😉