5 Supplements Every Mother Should Know About
Many expectant mothers know that prenatal supplements and a nutritious diet are essential for a healthy pregnancy. But did you know that it’s just as important to keep up the healthy eating and supplements after giving birth?
Adding just a few key supplements to your daily routine can help boost energy levels and put you in the best position possible to care for your little one. It will also ensure that nursing mothers are passing all the right vitamins and nutrients along during a critical period of development and growth.
Aside from helping you and your little one thrive, supplements can also help your body heal from childbirth and even combat postpartum depression.
Now let’s break down exactly what you and your baby need.
Choline ? Memory Booster & Super Macronutrient
Choline is an absolutely essential nutrient for a developing child. During and after pregnancy, a mother’s choline requirement increases dramatically. This is because a large amount of choline is passed to babies in the womb and during lactation. Normal dietary sources are usually no longer sufficient to meet these requirements, meaning that mothers should try to eat more choline-rich foods, or take a quality supplement.
Getting enough Choline will help you and your baby’s brain cells function properly. ?Choline has been proven to help with memory, spatial cognition, and attention. Consumption of choline can also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and decrease the risk of Down’s Syndrome.
Choline-rich foods include milk, liver, eggs, and cauliflower. If you decide to take a choline supplement, ensure that it’s organic and made from whole food sources. Not all choline supplements are created equal, and some are more readily absorbed by the body than others
B Vitamins ? Brain Food & Beyond
B vitamins, also known as vitamin B complex, are important supplements both during and after pregnancy. Taking a B complex vitamin will ensure that you’re consuming eight essential B Vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), and B12 (cobalamin).
B Vitamins provide a myriad of health benefits for you and your baby. Here are just some of the benefits of each B vitamin:
- B-1 (Thiamine): Supports baby’s healthy brain development
- B-2 (Riboflavin): Keeps eyes and skin healthy
- B-3 (Niacin): Eases morning sickness and improves digestion
- B-5 (Pantothenic Acid): Reduces cramps and helps stimulate the production of essential pregnancy hormones
- B-6 (Pyridoxine): Helps with development of baby’s nervous system and brain
- B-7 (Biotin): Replaces depletion of this vitamin, which often occurs during pregnancy, and is important for skin and nail health
- B-9 (Folic Acid): Decreases risk of birth defects
- B-12 (Cobalamin): Supports nervous systems for you and baby
B vitamins can be found in meat, leafy greens, dairy products, peas, legumes, beans, whole grains, and other fortified food products. Talk to your OBGYN before taking a B vitamin, as the requirements for each individual vary, and it’s not advisable to take more than your body needs.
Iron ? Maker of Strong & Mighty Bodies
Iron is a vital compound of hemoglobin, and it ensures that oxygen is carried from your lungs to the rest of your body. When you aren’t consuming enough iron, your body fails to make an adequate number of healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. This is called anemia, and it’s estimated that more than 40% of pregnant women become anemic at some point during their pregnancies.
Iron is vital for all aspects of fetal development. It also helps combat fatigue and mental fogginess, which are symptoms of anemia.
Iron-rich foods include spinach and red meat. Pregnant women and mothers are encouraged to take iron supplements daily, to ensure adequate consumption.
Vitamin D – The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an essential role during and after pregnancy. It’s estimated that up to 40% of people are vitamin D deficient. This is because the list of foods containing Vitamin D is very short, paired with the fact that few of us spend enough time outdoors in the sun. These factors have made vitamin D supplements very popular.
Vitamin D combats skeletal diseases, cancer, metabolic disorders, infections autoimmune diseases, and more. Inadequate vitamin D consumption during pregnancy can lead to abnormal bone growth and rickets in newborns. Consuming Vitamin D has also been shown to help with postpartum depression.
It’s very difficult to get a sufficient amount of Vitamin D from diet alone. Vitamin D is found in a small list of foods, such as egg yolks, salmon, and milk. Another way to get Vitamin D is to expose your skin to the sun’s Ultraviolet rays. But that’s not always possible or advisable; taking a high-quality organic vitamin D supplement is a much more reliable choice.
Omega-3s – Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are a family of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are crucial for health and development. Unfortunately, a typical western diet is lacking in Omega-3s. Because of the important role Omega-3’s play during and after pregnancy, new and expectant mothers are advised to take high-quality Omega-3 supplements daily.
Omega-3 fats ensure the balanced production of hormones and hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. This regulates numerous bodily functions, such as blood pressure, nerve transmission, kidney function, inflammatory responses, and many others.
Omega-3s are found in fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and anchovies. If you’re not consuming fatty fish daily, it’s probably best to take a premium Omega-3 supplement, so you can be sure that you’re getting enough of this vital nutrient.
Since each body is unique, it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional before embarking on a new supplement routine. Your doctor will help you provide optimal nutrition for yourself and your baby. And remember: we’re not aiming for perfection every single time. While it is important that you get the best quality and the right amounts of key nutrients as often as possible, you don’t need to be perfect to see the benefits.