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Supplement Spotlight: Prenatal Vitamin

While I was pregnant, I had many people asking me about taking my prenatal vitamin, and which one I took.  As my friends and family members got pregnant, the questions continued.  Hope to answer a few of them below!

Although the belief is out there that if you have a healthy diet, you don’t need to take a vitamin supplement, I disagree, especially while pregnant.  Here’s why:

  • The soil is much more nutrient-deficient than it used to be, so the vegetables and meat we are eating contain fewer nutrients
  • The burden on the body is higher than it used to be because of environmental toxins, lack of sunlight, and stress, which can lead to a higher need for essential nutrients
  • We are eating many more processed foods than we used to. If you are eating processed food made in a factory, you aren’t getting many nutrients
  • A nutrient deficiency can have dramatic and lasting developmental effects on a fetus

You may hear that folic acid is important to take while pregnant.  I disagree, I think folate is important to take. Here’s why:

  • Folate is the natural form, found in food, while folic acid is made synthetically in a lab and does not occur naturally.
  • Folate is essential because it helps prevent neural tube defects, while folic acid may cause cancer. (See the studies here here or here)

Many doctors or pharmacists will tell you that the prenatal vitamin you take doesn’t really matter.  I disagree.  Here’s why:

  • Supplements are not regulated in the same way that drugs are.  Manufacturers may cut corners.
  • The nutrients may be cheap and poorly absorbed by the body.
  • It may be filled with additives, colors, fillers and allergens that you and your baby do not need, and could be potentially harmful.
  • The factory that produces it may not follow good manufacturing standards, so the quality of one batch to the next may vary greatly.

 

 

The Takeaway:

A prenatal vitamin is an important supplement during pregnancy.  Be sure to pick a quality prenatal vitamin that has nutrients derived from food.  Pregnancy is the time to eat the best-quality food and take the best-quality prenatal vitamin you can buy.  Keep in mind that if you are buying a food based vitamin vs a synthetic one, you may have to take multiple pills per day.

A common complaint I hear is that their prenatal vitamin makes them sick, or constipated from the iron content.  I found that people telling me this are taking a cheaper vitamin with synthetic ingredients, not nutrients from whole foods.  If you are taking a food-based prenatal vitamin, this is usually not a problem.  And I haven’t heard that from anyone taking this one .

I chose one that contains clinical whole food nutrients from fresh and local foods, with a manufacturer willing to go into detail about their nutrient preservation process. They do testing for potency and purity.  It doesn’t contain gluten, dairy, soy, herbicides, pesticides, or food dyes.

 

I took this one, below.

 

Note: Unlike some prenatal vitamins, this one does not contain DHA.  I took a separate DHA capsule in addition to this prenatal vitamin.

 

Hope this helps!  What about you? Which prenatal vitamin did you take while pregnant?

 

 

 

 

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