The Ultimate Pregnancy Supplementation Guide

Updated on October 13th, 2020
Supplements during pregnancy

With advice on the right kind of balanced diet and nutrition spread everywhere, a pregnant mother may be confused to understand what the proper decision to be taken is. Most of the things to skip are well-known, such as wine, seafood, smoking, etc.

But, certain options can seem healthy initially but should be avoided to be eaten. These are mostly linked to the intake of iron supplements in pregnancy and other supplements. What is safe and what isn’t? Find out below.

Although supplements can be helpful and necessary in certain circumstances, always check with your physician regarding safety, doses, benefits, and potential risks.

Safe Pregnancy Supplements

If you are taking supplements during pregnancy, here are a few safe options.

1. Folate

Folic acid supplementation in pregnancy is highly suggested, particularly in the very early stages of pregnancy. In the early weeks, your baby’s growth consists of the development of the spinal cord. Folic acid has been believed to be instrumental in the formation of the cord in a proper manner [1]

2. Prenatal Multivitamins

These supplements are usually recommended to all mothers by most physicians everywhere. It’s advisable to take prenatal multivitamins since they ensure the consumption of all the crucial nutrients required for both the fetus and the pregnant mother to grow healthily. 

[Also Read: Safe Supplements While Pregnant]

3. Omega 3

Omega 3 is one of the critical essential fatty acids in the journey of pregnancy. Several supplement sources can provide you with omega-3 nutrition, but the safest and popular is cod liver oil.

It has been observed that cod liver oil assists scientifically in brain growth and development and right in the fetal stage and is known to make the baby smart in the life to come. 

[Also Read: Best Omega-3 Products for Healthy Skin]

4. Vitamin D3

With the current indoor-centric lifestyle, most of us lack vitamin D3 due to minimized exposure to the morning sun rays. A diet that neglects vitamin D.

Vitamin D3 is essential in having a healthy and good bone structure formed only by absorbing phosphorus and calcium in the body. Beyond bones, it further improves cell growth, immunity, muscles, and a lot more. 

5. Calcium

Synonymous with teeth strength and bone growth, calcium is also responsible for preventing high blood pressure and improving blood clotting mechanisms. The fetus requires loads of calcium to develop your baby’s bones.

If the requirement falls short, it will start absorbing it from the mother’s bones, causing further complications later on, like leg cramps during pregnancy.

6. Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most critical requirements during pregnancy for proper sleep. The proper dose of magnesium helps minimize cramping of legs and provides the right amount of sleep, which is directly related to breast milk production in the mother [2]

[Also Read: Signs of Magnesium Deficiency]

7. Coconut Oil

Combining good saturated fat with lauric acid is a double whopper that simultaneously provides nutrients to both the mother and the baby. On the one hand, it helps develop the fat stores in your body necessary for pregnancy and breastfeeding, while maintaining adequate energy levels. 

[Also Read: Health Benefits of Coconut Oil]

8. Probiotics

Not all bacteria are harmful. Some good bacteria need to be there in your gut in the proper amount. These bacteria are necessary for fighting off diseases and keeping the digestive process functioning well. Babies don’t have any bacteria when they are born, and their initial exposure to it is while they come out from the birth canal.

[Also Read: Best Probiotics for Women

Which Supplements to Avoid When Pregnant?

Besides the list of supplements that are advantageous for pregnancy, few should be skipped. Many unsafe herbal supplements during pregnancy should be entirely avoided since they may cause further complications.

1. Vitamin A

Vitamin A consumed in large doses can be more detrimental than useful. The vitamin A’s solubility in the fat leads to the liver storing excess amounts within itself. This storage starts getting toxic and can harm the liver. It could also be the cause of various congenital disabilities in the baby.

Most healthy diets and multivitamins have the right quantity of vitamin A in them. Therefore, using supplements for it is usually not recommended.

2. Vitamin E

Supplementing vitamin E, additionally with external sources, is not advised. Such supplementation hardly has any positive effects on the baby or her mother. It is still known to aggravate pain in the abdomen and rupture the mother’s amniotic sack prematurely.

3. Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is known to cause harm to the liver in individuals. Moreover, there is a possibility of black cohosh in pregnant women resulting in the uterus’s contractions that could trigger premature labor.

4. Goldenseal

The goldenseal plant is reputed to have a substance called berberine. This has been single-handedly responsible for causing extreme jaundice cases in babies and causing a rare brain-damaging condition termed kernicterus, which is known to be deadly.

5. Dong Quai

However, taking this herbal supplement during pregnancy may cause stimulation in the uterus resulting in contractions that could lead to an unfortunate miscarriage.

6. Yohimbe

Pregnant women, this is absolutely a strict no-no since this herb is highly known to have adverse effects on the body, like triggering heart attacks, increased blood pressure, and even seizures.

7. Multiple Others

Apart from the ones talked above, there are many other herbal supplements termed as extremely beneficial during pregnancy but are not entirely safe for consumption. Some of them are – tansy, saw palmetto,  angelica, red clover,  yarrow, blue cohosh, wormwood, ephedra, pennyroyal, mugwort & more.

Bottom Line

Pregnancy is a time of development and growth, making nutrition and health a top priority. While a few supplements can help pregnancy, many can cause harmful side effects in pregnant women and their babies.

Notably, while supplementing specific minerals and vitamins can help fill nutritional gaps, supplements are not meant to replace a healthy diet and lifestyle.

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