In Parts 1 and 2 I discussed how to choose a good quality supplement and three of the most important supplements to take during pregnancy: a prenatal vitamin, fish oils and probiotics. Here I will discuss my last 2 supplements for pregnancy recommendations and where to focus if money is tight.
I recommend that pregnant women start taking a liquid CalMag before bed in their 2nd trimester. The second trimester is when baby’s bones start to develop, and the baby gets first dibs on mom’s nutrients. This means that if it’s not getting enough calcium and magnesium that these minerals will actually be pulled from mom’s bones in order to supply enough for baby. Calcium and Magnesium are also necessary for proper contraction and relaxation of muscles, making it a great supplement to help support the work of the uterus.
I recommend a liquid because it is more easily absorbed than a tablet or capsule. I recommend taking it before bed because it can help with sleep and leg cramps that many women start to experience in their 2nd trimester. It is common for supplement makers to “cheap out” on calcium supplements by using the cheapest form (calcium carbonate). Unfortunately, this form isn’t well absorbed by the body. It is ok for calcium carbonate to be one of the forms found in the supplement, but there should be other forms as well (preferably calcium citrate).
I recommend a professional grade product like Cytomatrix Cal-Mag +1000IU Vit D3 Liquid. Health store brands like Calcium and Magnesium Citrate by SISU (I like the blueberry flavour) are acceptable.
It seems as though a new benefit from optimal vitamin D levels is discovered every day! Vitamin D helps maintain healthy immune function, mood, bone health and more. Studies have shown that women who take “high” doses of vitamin D during pregnancy reduce their risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, infection and pre term birth.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which means that it is best absorbed if it is emulsified (my preference is a liquid vitamin D as opposed to tablet) and taken with a meal that contains fat. It also means that the body will store excess Vitamin D, so it is important to discuss your dose with your Naturopath, Midwife or GP. Recent studies are finding that higher doses of Vitamin D are required in order to receive these risk reductions. I recommend taking a total of 6000IU/day of Vitamin D (check your prenatal vitamin, your fish oil and your calcium magnesium supplements to see if/how much Vitamin D they contain and top up from there). I also recommend that everyone who lives in Canada (not just pregnant women) have their 25-OH vitamin D levels tested in the early fall to see if they are deficient and to help direct dosing.
My favourite Professional brand is Seroyal D-mulsion (tastes like lemon meringue pie).
What to do if there are financial restrictions affecting what you can purchase?
Vitamins can be expensive, and even when prioritizing your health and following a budget, sometimes they are beyond what we can afford. In these cases I recommend a strong focus on a healthy whole foods diet with lots of fermented foods like kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and plain full fat probiotic yogurt and a few select high quality supplements. If you can only choose a couple of supplements I suggest a good prenatal vitamin and a high quality fish oil.
The information in this blog does not constitute medical advice. You should always consult your medical provider before starting a supplement protocol.