In August 2019, I will be releasing my new book about pregnancy and newborn care!
The book will explain which supplements are most helpful during pregnancy in order to support your baby’s brain development and reduce the odds of preterm birth. For those who are already pregnant and want to jump right in and start applying some of the recommendations, I’m sharing below a list of the supplements, but this is only a small part of the book.
I will also cover topics such as delayed cord clamping, lab tests to asks for during pregnancy, how to choose non-toxic baby products, which formula ingredients are most important for supporting brain health, and how to help your baby develop a healthy microbiome (which is critical for building a healthy brain and immune system). I’m so excited to share this all with you soon! In the meantime, here’s the summary of supplement recommendations. Remember to check with your doctor before adding any new supplements.
Key Pregnancy Supplements
- Choose a prenatal containing methylfolate rather than synthetic folic acid, ideally 800 to 1000 micrograms.
- Check that your prenatal contains at least 150 micrograms of iodine. If it does not, use iodized salt and eat fish or dairy regularly.
- Example brands to consider: Mama Bird AM/PM, Thorne Basic Prenatal, UK: Naturelo
- Unless you eat eggs on a daily basis, supplement with 300-500 mg per day, whether as part of your prenatal or as a standalone supplement.
- Example brands to consider: Mama Bird AM/PM, OR, if taking a prenatal without choline: Solgar Choline
- The optimal vitamin D level for preventing preterm birth is likely at least 40 ng/ml.
- Many women will need to supplement with 5000 IU per day to reach that level.
- Look for a soft gel or liquid version containing vitamin D3.
- Example brands to consider: Doctor’s Best, Seeking Health
- Seeking Health Optimal D3 Liquid seems to be among the most effective brands for addressing vitamin D deficiency. It has 2000 IU per drop. You can start with 3 drops per day for a couple of weeks (i.e. 6000 IU), then reduce to 2 drops per day (i.e. 4000 IU).
Fish oil/ Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Choose a good-quality fish oil supplement providing at least 500 mg DHA, along with at least some EPA.
- Alternatively, eat lower-mercury cold-water fish, such as salmon, at least 2 or 3 times per week.
- Example brands to consider: Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA
- Most women will get enough iron from their diet and prenatal multivitamin, so there is no need to take a separate iron supplement unless blood tests suggest a deficiency. (Getting tested for anemia in the third trimester is important!)
- If you are anemic and your doctor recommends taking additional iron, look for iron bisglycinate, a form with fewer digestive side effects.
- As will be discussed in Chapter 17, adding a probiotic during pregnancy is optional, but may help to reduce inflammation and support a healthy microbiome for your baby. For that purpose, one good choice is L. rhamnosus GG, found in Culturelle.
- In the third trimester, certain strains are helpful to reduce the odds of testing positive for Group B streptococcus and therefore requiring antibiotics at delivery. These strains are: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14, found in Jarrow Femdophilus , Rephresh ProB and Metagenics Ultra Flora Women’s.