Prenatal Nutrition: Part 2

Doulas of PG County is thrilled to have Emily Woody, IBCLC and Registered Dietician on our team. Please enjoy part two of our healthy pregnancy blog featuring Emily and  her specialized knowledge on nutrition during pregnancy.

What About Prenatal Vitamins?

First things first: Building up your stores.

Women planning on becoming pregnant or are pregnant should consider building their nutrient stores. Growing a human being inside of you is serious work, therefore prepping your body for that work is necessary for growth and development. A combination of nutrient rich foods (see our Prenatal YES list!) and the right prenatal vitamin will provide your body the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy mom and baby.

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When choosing a prenatal vitamin a general rule of thumb is whole food based and organic. Following these two principals can be the first step to selecting a prenatal vitamin right for you. Whole food based vitamins are derived 100% from food sources, unlike the synthetic or artificial vitamins which are created in a lab. Whole food vitamins have the added benefit of naturally occurring phytonutrients found in plants and other whole foods that provide additional health benefits. Your body can recognize and digest these vitamins more easily than the synthetic vitamins, and you can even take whole vitamins on an empty stomach! A vitamin made from organic whole foods reduces exposure to chemicals and other toxins that may be harmful to you and your baby.

When selecting a prenatal vitamin, there are certain micronutrients essential to your baby’s growth and development. These micronutrients include zinc, copper, iodine, iron, selenium, choline, folate, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and vitamin K. Although all nutrients are necessary for growth, these nutrients have been cited as key nutrients nutrients for the neuro-development of an infant.

Other considerations when choosing a prenatal vitamin is non-GMO and probiotic-cultured.  Some prenatals have a probiotic which may be particularly helpful if you are experiencing symptoms of diarrhea or constipation.

To date, there is limited research on the long-term effects of genetically modified organism (GMO) products. Most short term studies have indicated there are no health risks associated with consuming GMO products, however, it is important to note most of these studies have been funded by the biotech industry. Non-GMO advocates claim that GMO can cause immune deficiencies, infertility, accelerated aging, gastrointestinal changes, and decreased insulin regulation. Until further research is conducted, using a non-GMO supplement may help protect against any potential risk.

Tell us- what brand of prenatal vitamin did you take?

Emily Smith