Prenatal vitamins during pregnancy and breastfeeding
by Nikki Warren on May 02, 2022
During pregnancy, the body needs additional support and nutrients to ensure a healthy mother and baby. Good nutrition is essential for the healthy and optimal development of your baby. Not only do you need to ensure you have enough quality nutrients to support a growing foetus, but you also need to ensure good maternal health during pregnancy.
Prenatal vitamins are a great way to ensure that both you and your baby get adequate key nutrients during this physically challenging time. Key nutrients may be lacking in your diet such as iron, choline and carotenoids, in particular, betacarotene and lutein.
There is a plethora of prenatal vitamins to choose from and ingredient lists full of confusing names for vitamins and minerals. It can be difficult to figure out which prenatal vitamins are the best on the market. Most women are aware of the importance of folate and iodine, however, here are some essential nutrients to keep an eye out for.
You may be aware how important iron is during pregnancy. Your body uses iron to make haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen all around your body to your tissues.
During the last half of pregnancy, you need extra iron due to haemodilution. This is a doubling of the blood volume from about week 16 gestation. The body requires this additional iron to produce more blood to supply oxygen to your baby.
There is an increased risk of developing iron deficiency if you do not have enough iron during pregnancy. We recommend taking iron prior to pregnancy to boost your iron stores. Also in your prenatal vitamins during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, as iron can aggravate morning sickness.
Why choline is an essential nutrient
Choline is an important nutrient that is often lacking in a vegan diet. Foods rich in choline include eggs, meat, chicken, and milk, all foods that a vegan does not consume. Choline is important during foetal development; it assists with the formation of baby’s brain and spinal cord. Some studies showed that memory is permanently enhanced in rodents exposed to choline in late pregnancy.
To give you an idea of how much choline you need, the recommended daily intake during pregnancy is 440mg. This increases to 550mg during breastfeeding.
To obtain 440mg of choline from your diet, you would need to consume 3 large eggs and 3 glasses of milk every day! This could be difficult for most women to achieve. Let alone a woman who is on a restricted diet such as dairy-free. Therefore, supplementation is an excellent option to ensure adequate levels during pregnancy, breastfeeding or when following a vegan diet.
Lutein, the “eye vitamin” and why you need it
Lutein is a type of antioxidant called a carotenoid with reported anti-inflammatory properties. It is related to beta-carotene (another carotenoid) and vitamin A. It is often called the ‘eye vitamin’ as it has several beneficial effects for eye health. Studies have shown that lutein may be beneficial for improving cognitive function and improving measures of cardiovascular health. NaturoBest’s Prenatal Trimester 2 & 3 Plus Breastfeeding prenatal vitamins now include lutein to support you and your growing baby.
Lutein is known to improve or even help prevent age-related macular disease which is the leading cause of blindness and vision impairment. Lutein contributes to the important role of protecting the eye on a daily basis. As the body cannot synthesise these macular carotenoids, dietary intake is the only way to ensure you get sufficient levels in the retina.
Calcium and magnesium
Two other important nutrients during pregnancy are calcium and magnesium. Calcium should always be taken separately to iron and zinc as they antagonise each other. This is why we recommend taking your prenatal vitamins in the morning and your calcium and magnesium at night. Check out this article on the importance of calcium and magnesium for more information on how these two minerals work together in tandem.
NaturoBest have recently reformulated our vegan-friendly Calcium & Magnesium Plus K2 & D3 powder. Although it was already low in excipients, it now has one less. We removed the maltodextrin and replaced it with glycine as it has additional nutritional benefits.
Glycine is an important amino acid which has a sweet taste, so it is ideal as a natural sweetener. It’s a great pairing with calcium and magnesium as it provides additional nervous system support. For this reason, we recommend taking it after dinner as it may help to improve sleep.
Glycine is a neurotransmitter that can function to stimulate brain and nervous system activity or inhibit it. When we sleep, our body does the majority of its healing and repair. Getting sufficient sleep is crucial for helping us to maintain optimal health and energy levels.
When you sleep, important physical and mental processes are carried out. Regular, good quality sleep is vital for brain functioning, emotional well-being, physical health and daytime performance. It is just as important as a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise.
Why choose NaturoBest’s Calcium & Magnesium Plus K2 & D3?
The issue with most calcium or magnesium supplements is the quantity of capsules you would need to swallow to get a therapeutic dose of calcium AND magnesium.
Our formula has been designed to dissolve well in water with pleasant-tasting Lipocal®, well-absorbed calcium phosphate, calcium citrate and magnesium citrate. Vitashine®, vegan-friendly vitamin D3 assists calcium absorption and also supports immune function. Calcium absorption is also aided by natural vitamin K2 as VitaMK7® so you can feel confident of achieving a healthy level of all of these vital vitamins and minerals in your diet.
Our easily dissolvable powder has a natural lemon lime flavour. It is sweetened with glycine and thaumatin (African mango extract), both natural sweeteners. It’s easy to drink in a glass of water and far more convenient than swallowing a handful of tablets or capsules!