Family, Pregnancy

My Prenatal Supplement Routine // What + Why

January 25, 2017

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I posted a photo to Instagram the other day sharing the little handful of vitamins and supplements I take on the regular when I’m pregnant. This routine varies slightly from when I’m not pregnant, and I got a lot of questions about what and why I take each supplement. While I’m the first to say that I’m not an expert on the topic, I’ve done my fair share of research and feel this is a good, well-rounded fit for me while pregnant. As always, consult your doctor when debating any chances in supplements, especially while pregnant, as recommendations can vary from person to person!

1. Metanx/L-Methyl-B Tabs (generic)
I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of avoiding folic acid and choosing methylated folate a number of times on the blog. You can read some of my reasons for avoiding folic acid and MTHFR here. In short, after our second loss I found out that my body doesn’t process folic acid (a synthetic form of folate) because of something called MTHFR. During my pregnancy with Ainsley my doctor and I agreed that I could and perhaps should take Metanx, a prescription form of methylated folate and B-vitamins. I’m taking the generic this pregnancy because it’s quite a bit more affordable. For information on the generic, you can read more here.

2. Iron
During Ainsley’s pregnancy, when I was about 18 weeks pregnant, I starting getting the worst headaches. I’ve always been prone to the occasional headache, but these were entirely different. After doing some research, I found that it could be because of an iron deficiency. Your blood volume increases 30-50% during pregnancy, which can lead to low iron levels and even anemia. Since I don’t eat much, if any, red meat, I figured it could be contributing to my headaches so I started and iron supplement and boom! My headaches were gone shortly after. I started an iron supplement while trying to get pregnant this time around and haven’t stopped since. If you want more on symptoms of iron deficiency while pregnant, I found this article helpful.

3. Baby Aspirin
Please hear me out when I say that this isn’t a recommendation for everyone during pregnancy. Taking a daily baby aspirin during Ainsley’s pregnancy, and this pregnancy, is a decision that my doctor and I made together based on my history of miscarriage and I’ve continued to do in this pregnancy for the same reason. Taking baby aspirin isn’t recommended in a normal pregnancy with no history of other issues, so I would caution against doing so without your doctor’s advice. I talk a little more about why we decided to take baby aspirin in this post from the archives.

4. Magnesium
I’ve seen stats that somewhere between 65-90% of the American population is low in magnesium. Crazy, right? This is a new addition to my prenatal supplement routine during this pregnancy, and I’m so glad I decided to start taking it. Magnesium has been shown to help reduce constipation, ease muscle cramps/twitches and I swear that it’s helped me have more restful sleep this time around, something I really struggled with during Ainsley’s pregnancy.

5. Probiotic
I haven’t done enough research on particular probiotics to really recommend one over the other, so I will leave the particular brand I take out of this post. I started taking a probiotic last year because Ainsley and I had been SO sick all winter and after countless antibiotics and three rounds of the stomach flu, my gut was totally wrecked. I’ve been focusing this year on repairing my gut, which includes eating more fermented food and taking a probiotic. It seems to be working thus far!

6. Fish Oil
Taking the right, high-quality Omega-3 supplement can be really beneficial if you’re not getting enough sources from food, which I know that I don’t. We don’t have enough access to quality fish, and while we do get frozen wild salmon from Costco that we eat occasionally, our local grocery stores are lacking in the seafood selection so we eat less fish that I would like. I take OmegaBrite if you’re curious! Not the cheapest but worth every penny, in my opinion. Also, someone brought to my attention that their anesthesiologist said during their first pregnancy that they didn’t love when women take fish oil supplements, but the American Pregnancy Association gives it a thumbs up.

And that’s it! I’m sure that I will get questions about why I don’t take a prenatal. I’ve decided not to because I am getting a lot of my nutrients, including the very important folic acid, in the vitamins and supplements above. Additionally, I usually have a Vega Protein & Greens smoothie every day and eat a lot of fruits and veggies throughout the day so I felt that taking a prenatal at this point would be overkill. If you are looking for a quality prenatal, I would recommend Garden of Life Once Daily Prenatal or Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal, both of which I’ve used and really like/trust.

Madison

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