Lifestyle & Wellness,  Motherhood

Prenatal Vitamins & Supplements You Need For a Healthy Pregnancy

When I got pregnant with my first baby, all the horror stories started to roll in. Other moms were saying things like “my labor was 50 hours long” or “I was so uncomfortable, wait until your belly gets huge.” I do not want to ever be that mom! I want to encourage you that you can have a happy, comfortable (for the most part) pregnancy & delivery, and I’m going to share the midwife-recommended pregnancy supplements that have helped me get through it all.

I’m going to share each of the supplements that my midwives have recommended over all three of my pregnancies & things I’ve picked up along the way in my own research. Note: I am not a medical professional & you should run these by your doctor before taking them. Also note: some doctors are not educated on natural supplements & can discourage you from taking them. I recommend that you do your own research before putting something in your body. Everything I recommend here has been thoroughly researched by yours truly & recommended by multiple midwives.

Must Have Attributes of the Best Prenatal Vitamins

There are a couple things you want to look for when choosing a prenatal vitamin. This is the one I recommend that checks all the boxes!

Whole food based

Your body is better able to absorb the nutrients when they are whole food based. Whole food vitamins have less synthetic ingredients & more natural based ingredients. “Just as I would encourage someone to consume whole food over a supplement, I would also encourage the consumption of a whole-food multivitamin over a more synthetic, man-made product,” says Jim White, RD. “It’s more likely for the skin of various fruits and vegetables to be included in these wholesome supplements,” says White. “This is important because the skin of most fruits and vegetables is often where the majority of their nutrients are housed.”

Even though they’re whole food based vitamins, you should take them with a well balanced diet. In early pregnancy, it can sometimes be hard to get all those nutrients because you’re either nauseous or don’t feel like eating. A whole food based vitamin can help ease your mama mind & get the nutrients your baby needs.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is really important for pregnant women to consume (or get naturally from the sun) because it can help with not only those baby blues postpartum, but prenatal blues. And believe me, that is a thing! Vitamin D is known to play an important role in bone metabolism through regulation of calcium and phosphate equilibrium. Vitamin D taken in conjunction with my next recommended supplement (Calcium & Magnesium) will keep your bones & teeth strong during pregnancy.

Folate instead of Folic Acid

Folate is the more naturally occurring version of folic acid. It is less available by itself typically, so finding a good vitamin that contains Folate already is hands down the easiest way to get what you need. It plays a key role in fertility before you’re even ttc, pregnancy and the health of the baby. It has been well-studied for its ability to help prevent neural tube defects, so if you’re even thinking about having a baby, this is something you need to make sure you’re getting.

Another reason folate is better: there is a genetic variation in about 1/3 of women that doesn’t allow them to absorb Folic Acid very well.

Take this prenatal and you won’t have to worry about whether or not you’re getting enough folate!

Calcium & Magnesium

Did you know that baby takes a LOT of the nutrients from you when you’re expecting. I mean, they’re growing & literally becoming a human, so understandably so. But here’s the thing. Your body doesn’t just produce the nutrients baby needs. You have to consume them, otherwise, your body will start to take the nutrients from you. Baby gets priority (as baby should) over your nutrient needs. For this reason, many women will have aches and pains during pregnancy, even early pregnancy before your belly gets big. Some will have teeth problems, lots of cavities & it’s even been known that some women who are deficient have teeth fall out – ahh, no thank you!! & that’s just the calcium portion of the vitamin.

This is the Calcium & Magnesium supplement that I take & it has helped me with my aches and pains. Magnesium is really important because if you’re deficient in magnesium, you can get lots of inflammation in your nervous system. It also helps with blood pressure regulation & energy production, which we know is really important during pregnancy. And an amazing bonus of Magnesium is that it helps you sleep! I’ll say that a little louder for those in the back! This Calcium/Magnesium supplement will help you sleep!!!! *adds 3 bottles to cart*

The only catch with a Calcium/Magnesium supplement is that you can’t take it with the rest of your vitamins. You have to take it a couple of times throughout the day with meals. I can’t stress “with meals” enough because I almost got sick twice when I took it on an empty stomach – not fun.

Probiotic

Your body’s pH is all out of whack when you’re pregnant. It tried to regulate itself & becomes more out of whack. And then when you’re feeling nauseous and not eating well, it just gets worse and worse. You may notice that you smell different, you have higher amount of body odor & even smell different “down there”. This is because your pH is off. You can fix this by taking a really good probiotic.

Vitamin C + Bioflavonoids

Ok, I know that’s a big word and it’s scary, but it’s really not. Bioflavonoids are what’s found in the white pithy part of the orange that we always try to avoid eating. This part of the orange is actually really good for you! Vitamin C is obviously great for your immune system, but the important part here is the bioflavonoids. This is the supplement recommended to me by my midwife & I love it.

Bioflavonoids help to strengthen your cell walls allowing your skin to become much stretchier. This helps with stretch marks & with birth because you have to stretch out to let a baby out of your body. They also help to strengthen your blood vessels. So if you ever struggle with varicose veins or spider veins, this will help reduce that. I have to say, I didn’t take this supplement during my first two pregnancies & I had veins pop out of both of my legs. Varicose veins run in my family and pregnancy maximizes them due to the amount of blood increase you have. This time, I’m doing everything possible to not let that happen and taking this supplement has helped immensely!

What Does It Do?

Because bioflavonoids strengthen your cell walls, they also strengthen your amniotic sac. This is something you want, believe me! If your water breaks early or prior to contractions starting, labor will be much less comfortable than it would be if your water was in tact. I have personal experience with this & can say that it is absolutely true. With my first, my water didn’t break until about 5 minutes before she came out. With my second, my water broke before contractions started. Imagine a nice, padded bubble coming down & then imagine elbows, shoulders & a head coming down – not exactly comfortable. I would much rather have that padding. I can say from personal experience that I will take this supplement every pregnancy from here on out because of the difference an in-tact amniotic sac made.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Last but not least Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. A lot of doctors will recommend that you don’t take this because they aren’t knowledgable & they’d rather be safe than sorry. Again, I recommend that you do your own research & do what you feel comfortable with. I’m going to tell you my personal experience and the facts that I’ve found surrounding RRL tea.

My midwives (all three times, 3 different midwives) recommended that I start drinking 1 cup of RRL tea about 2x a week in the first trimester. In the second trimester, up that to once a day. In the third trimester, 1-2 cups per day. And toward the very end, once you are full term (36 weeks), start drinking 3-5 cups a day. Woof, that sounds like a lot of tea. Yeah, it is, but you get used to it and it’s kind of even a treat after so long. Knowing the benefits will help motivate you to drink it as well!

What Does It Do?

A cup of RRL tea is like a workout for your uterus. Because we can’t actually workout that muscle, RRL tea helps with that. Toward the end, you will start to feel more and more Braxton Hicks contractions or “practice” contractions because your uterus is doing just that, practicing. It’s getting ready for D-Day.

Don’t let these alarm you. They can be exhausting, but they’re also really useful. When you’re feeling them, just imagine that they’re shortening your labor my 10 minutes every time. Personally, that made me okay with them! ha!

Here is the RRL tea that I recommend. Traditional Medicinals is the best, purest brand for any type of tea. The one I linked is a three pack of three boxes. This should be enough to get you through most of your pregnancy for only $16.

Are you planning a holistic pregnancy, or maybe just wanting to be as holistic and healthy as possible? These are the top supplements & vitamins recommended to me by multiple medical professionals! Remember, I’m not a medical professional, but I have a lot of birth experience.

I highly recommend that you do your own research rather than just relying on what your doctor says! Do your own research and make your own educated decisions mama. This isn’t just your own body any more. It’s baby now too!

xo, Kait

Shop some of my other favorite postpartum must-haves here!

5 supplements for a holistic pregnancy and birth