The fetal mortality rate in the U.S. has dropped significantly from 19.2 per 1,000 births in 1950 to 5.8 per 1,000 births in 2017. This positive development is primarily due to a better understanding of the unique nutritional needs of women during pregnancy.
Experts from the American College of Physicians and Gynecologists to the Mayo Clinic, now agree supplementation of four key nutrients ( folic acid, calcium, iron, and iodine) helps assure adequate intakes during pregnancy. Unfortunately, there are still products claiming to be prenatal supplements that don’t contain all four of these key nutrients.
To help you steer clear of these misleading products, we’re giving you a quick list of why these four key nutrients are so essential, plus other important nutrients you should look for on prenatal supplement labels. And a recommendation of a prenatal supplement that contains all the essential nutrients women need before, during, and after pregnancy.
What Every Prenatal Supplement Should Have
1. B Vitamins
During pregnancy, both mom and baby can benefit from a full spectrum of B vitamins, which includes:
– Pantothenic acid
– Vitamin B6
– Folic acid (folate)
– Vitamin B12
The most important is folic acid. Supplementing 400-800 mcg/day of folic acid significantly reduces the incidence of birth defects.
During pregnancy and lactation, there is an increased need for iodine, an essential trace mineral necessary for the production of thyroid hormones.
The FDA recommends 290 mcg/day of supplemental iodine to avoid deficiency and support the baby’s physical and mental development.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA)
EPA supports the heart and immune system while DHA plays an incredibly important role in the development of the brain, eyes, and central nervous system.
Experts recommend 300 mg/day of EPA and 200 mg/day of DHA.
4. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is essential for immune function as well as reproductive health. Experts recommend supplementing with 2,500-8,000 IU/day.
Vitamins C and E, and selenium can help protect the cells in the reproductive system from oxidative stress both before and during pregnancy.
6. Bone-Building Minerals
Calcium, zinc, and magnesium help build the baby’s bones and teeth and protect the mother’s bone density.
7. Vitamin D
Vitamin D supports brain development and increases the absorption of calcium. It’s important even after giving birth when breastfeeding.
The most common nutrient deficiency in the U.S. is iron, and it’s especially prevalent among women because of menstruation and pregnancy. Iron supports the growth and development of the fetus/placenta. It’s also essential to making hemoglobin and myoglobin, which help carry oxygen to the baby.
Even if you’re already eating a well-balanced diet, you can never be sure of how much nutrients you’re getting because food processing and preparation can strip some of the nutrients from the ingredients you use. In fact, for over 30 years, NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) reports have confirmed most Americans, despite their best efforts, fall short of multiple nutrients in their diets; nowhere are those shortfalls more critical to address than during pregnancy and lactation.
That’s why most doctors recommend that women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are currently nursing add high-quality prenatal supplements to their daily regimen.
Shaklee, the #1 natural nutrition company in the U.S., makes it easier for new mothers and mothers-to-be to get the critical nutrients they need by putting some of their best supplements together in one convenient product. Vitalizer provides advanced nutrition with a full spectrum of clinically supporting vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and more in one Vita-Strip.
Each strip contains two of Shaklee’s world-renowned Vita-Lea multivitamin with Iron tablets. One B+C Complex tablet that delivers 500 mg of Vitamin C and over 100% of seven B vitamins in a patented, sustained-release form. Two Caroto-E-Omega tablets which is a combination of pharmaceutical-grade fish oil (500 mg of omega-3 including 180 mg of DHA), vitamin E, and mixed carotenoids. And one Optiflora Probiotic tablet with a blend of both acidophilus and Bifidus in a triple encapsulated “pearl” to assure delivery of the probiotics to the colon.
Vitalizer Women is good for all women of childbearing age and particularly excellent as a prenatal/postnatal supplement regimen. It contains the optimized micronutrient levels, including 800 mcg of folic acid, 290 mcg of iodine, and 18 mg of iron.
This multivitamin and multimineral supplement is based on research that includes 12 clinical studies, including one of the largest nutritional supplement studies ever done called the Landmark Study.
With Vitalizer Women, new mothers and mothers-to-be have all the essential nutrients they and their baby need to thrive.
“Hands down the best I have felt in years! I love having my supplements in one handy pack. I can easily grab and go to take them with me. I have more energy and feel more alive since taking these. Every busy mom needs to be on the Vitalizer!” – Nicole E.
A Mother-to-Be’s Diet
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t take the old adage of “eating for two” literally, as pregnant women only need around 300 calories more per day than usual. However, you do require more micronutrients and macronutrients to support your health and your baby’s development.
Apart from the nutrients listed above, you also need more protein when you’re building another human. Focus on high-quality lean protein sources like soy, egg whites, lean meat, and non-fat or low-fat milk. Shaklee also provides a wide assortment of protein shakes.
Keep in mind that your baby won’t have any other source of nutrients available apart from what you eat. So make sure that you’re getting enough for the both of you.
For more on prenatal nutrition check out our article: Prenatal Nutrition for a Healthy Baby.
Here’s to your health!