Pregnancy is all about the do’s and don’ts and sometimes you want to throw all of the bottles, tablets and ideas in the bin because no one can give you a straight answer about what to take.
We all know about taking folate before conceiving and for the first trimester. Your iron levels will be checked early in pregnancy, during the pregnancy and possibly afterwards.
The internet, friends and family, health providers and books abound with what not to eat and usually with good reason but how about some ideas of what you should be taking, to be a happier pregnant woman and a healthier one to boot?
1. Include More Fibre To Your Diet
Your bowels take a back seat to lots of other processes in your body when you’re pregnant and so you need extra fibre. There is a limit to how many apples one can eat in a day though, so cheat and use a supplement such as chia seeds each morning. Add a teaspoon to a small amount of water, juice or yoghurt and make sure you drink lots of water.
Extra fibre will keep a sluggish gut moving, reduce the risk of haemorrhoids and generally make you feel better. Dried fruit such as dates, prunes, pineapple, sultanas or a trail mix with nuts gives you a portable boost of fibre as well!
Best Type of Fibre To Buy: Benefibre
We love Benefibre because it isn’t gritty and you can even add it to your morning cup of tea or coffee – and not notice it’s there!
Pregnancy and labour take a lot of muscle effort. Even from the first few weeks of pregnancy, the uterus is doing little test runs of the big day and those tightenings, called Braxton Hicks, are chewing through the magnesium in your body. You might not feel it, but it slows down all the functions in your body, such as gut motility (hello, more constipation), other muscles (restless legs, cramps, aches and pains), and brain (hello, being a functional adult or parent to other kids while also making a new one!).
Check out a simple tablet supplement if you can take them or a dissolvable one if you can’t; soak in Epsom salts in a bath or foot soak; or check out magnesium oil or lotion.
Your bones are your future and you need to protect them both. A calcium supplement works well while you’re pregnant and then recovering from birth and not doing as much weight-bearing exercise known for strengthening your bones. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt; leafy greens; fortified milk alternatives such as soy, almond or coconut; fish with bones; as well as nuts and seeds, could all be on your menu as “foods” rather than “supplements”.
4. Vitamin D3
Does so much in your body we had to mention it. It regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body (as bones) and is important to supplement as you are making a whole new person with their own store of both of them. It also affects mental health for both you and your baby, with research showing a strong correlation between low levels of vitamin D in pregnancy and pre-term birth, autism, schizophrenia, allergies and a whole host of other conditions.
Because you’re in Australia, Australia’s soils are very low in iodine and so the foods grown here are also relatively low in iodine. It serves a really important role in your body’s production of thyroid hormones which run the rest of your body and is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Many commercial pregnancy and breastfeeding supplements sold in Australia are now formulated with iodine because it is THAT important. The ocean is a great resource for iodine so eating seafood, seaweed or sea vegetables will be an advantage.
Keep your gut in tip-top shape and also give your baby a great start in the gut-stakes with some positive probiotics. Research shows that baby’s gut isn’t completely sterile at birth and they have a picked up flora from the mother. More then comes from skin-to-skin contact with the mother, from breastfeeding and from the environment. Taking a probiotic in pregnancy also helps with keeping your bowels moving.
What was your secret supplement in pregnancy? What did you take and want to tell the world about?
If you become concerned about your or anyone else’s health please seek immediate medical attention or go to our health hotlines and website post for further resources https://www.stayathomemum.com.au/my-kids/babies/important-hotlines-websites/
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