Pregnancy Supplementation-more than just Prenatal Vitamins
Updated: Mar 7
So you're already pregnant, maybe newly pregnant and suffering from the dreaded #morningsickness (#alldaysickness for me!) or maybe you and your partner have decided you may start trying to get pregnant soon. This is a very special time, as your body will soon be responsible for the life of another. Many women wonder if the food they consume daily is enough to support this new life, and there is conflicting evidence on this topic. One thing we do know, is that even if you're eating a very healthy and mostly #wholefooddiet the soil in which our food grows has been depleted, due to poor farming practices, to not contain as many nutrients as it once did (if you're interested in this topic, I HIGHLY recommend reading the book #FoodFix by Dr. Mark Hyman). Unless you're growing your own food, the likelihood of being able to achieve the necessary nutrients from food alone is slim, and so during this delicate time, I always recommend a handful of supplements.
1: A good quality prenatal vitamin
While doing my research on the topic, I always recommended any prenatal vitamin that was sourced ethically and contained organic ingredients. When it came to shopping for myself, I came across the smarty pants line, and chose this for two reasons. The first being that these are chewable. When you suffer from all day sickness and a heightened gag reflex (two things nobody tells you about), taking a handful of capsules was not possible. These are tasty and high quality, so double win for me. The second reason I chose these was because they DO NOT contain an iron supplement. Many women do suffer from low iron later in pregnancy, but many women also suffer from constipation throughout, and taking iron can exacerbate the latter problem. I recommend any woman in her child bearing years choose a good quality prenatal supplement as her daily multivitamin. Especially women who are taking or have ever taken hormonal #birthcontrol as many of the nutrients found in these prenatal supplements are depleted by that type of medication.
2: Magnesium Glycinate
This supplement has been a saving grace for me and my patients for years. Even those patients who aren't pregnant or will never get pregnant request this product for its multi-faceted benefits. Magnesium is required for more than 75% of the chemical reactions that happen in your body every second. Most of the food sources that once contained high levels of magnesium just don't have the same concentration they once did (think soil depletion and poor farming practices again). Magnesium can help with symptoms ranging from #insomnia, constipation, #restlesslegsyndrome, #brainfog among other things. I specifically recommend this brand and this form of magnesium due to the quality and purity. It's also the most gentle on the gut so we don't see any urgency surrounding bowel movements like with some other forms of magnesium.
3: Women's Specific #probiotic
In my #Functionalmedicine Practice, I am not a huge supporter of the new movement where people are taking probiotics daily for the long term. I have a theory that the broad spectrum use of probiotics is leading to poorer gut health in many individuals. People are taking the same strains for years on end, and I am concerned this may cause similar problems that the over-prescription of #antibiotics has caused. That said, this product is something I have added to my regimen starting at about 20 weeks, as I found I was not able to tolerate the amount of fermented foods I ate prior to pregnancy. I also researched #groupbstrep pretty extensively, and found the strains in this women's health specific product can help keep #GBS under control allowing women to give birth without the use of antibiotics during labor. The best way to ensure good gut and vaginal microbiome is to eat high fiber and fermented foods, spend time outdoors, and watch what types of products you're using to wash. The #Covid19 pandemic has led to people overusing hand sanitizer, surface cleaners and harsh soaps, so this type of supplementation is more important than ever to ensure your baby gets the most diverse microbiome when he or she is born.
4: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Pharmacological dosing of Vitamin C is a newer concept to me, but with all the research I have read about immunity and Covid, I am seeing the value in this supplement even beyond pregnancy/child bearing years. Humans are the only mammals that have evolved away from being able to make our own vitamin C. This was problematic when we were migrating to the United States, and the true deficiency of Vitamin C presented as Scurvy (symptoms included dental problems, dry skin and hair, easy bruising, fatigue and joint pain) Now I can think of several diagnosable conditions that also present with this same set of symptoms, and yet, no doctors are prescribing Vitamin C as the answer. I see many symptoms clear up just by using Vitamin C, but the benefits in pregnancy are profound. Reduced instances of #Perinealtearing, reduced #hemmorhaging, easier and shorter labors, stronger amniotic fluid bags which prevents early rupture leading to #cesarian just to name a few. I take this supplement to just under my bowel tolerance daily, and I encourage all my patients including my pregnant patients to do the same. Contact me if you're interested in learning more about the benefits of Vitamin C or if you're wanting to know how to find your individual bowel tolerance for dosing.
Those four products are the items I have been taking daily, and I encourage you all to do the same. If you want an easy way to order, you can follow this link, and it will take you to my Supplement Store. Search for my #pregnancyprotocol for easy ordering.
These aren't the only items I recommend, and have a plethora of information about safely supplementing during pregnancy. Please don't hesitate to reach out, or schedule a complimentary consult if there is a specific symptom you are trying to manage. I look forward to continuing to help you navigate your pregnancy journey! - Dr. Casey