Although some say you can meet your nutritional needs through a balanced diet, many experts believe that even the healthiest eaters can use extra help.
You may find it particularly hard to eat well when you are working or parenting other children; taking a prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement ensures you are getting sufficient nutrients, including folic acid, to boost your chances of conceiving a healthy baby. Equally, a good intake level of micronutrients such as selenium and zinc is essential for optimising fertility.
"They are very gentle on the stomach (which I need right now!!) and on the days where I really don't want to try and swallow capsules I have just opened the capsule and mixed it with a drink. Really pleased I've found them, tried a few other brands before but sticking with these."
Rebecca, May 2019
Is taking pregnancy supplements difficult right now?
You can gently break open our vegan all-natural, odourless, tasteless capsules and mix the contents with some water.
What's in it?
Anaemia can be a problem during pregnancy regardless of diet because the developing foetus will draw on the mother's iron stores to create stores of its own, required for the healthy formation of red blood cells. Also, maternal blood volume increases by 50%, therefore iron is needed in larger amounts, particularly in the later stages.
Eat foods rich in iron such as dark green leafy vegetables, dried beans and legumes and dried fruits. If you are a meat-eater you will find it easier to keep your iron levels topped up as "haem iron" (iron from blood in red meat) is absorbed much better than vegetable iron.
Zinc and Selenium
Mineral status in early life is a great biomarker of future health. Mineral deficiency, therefore, is likely to create a predisposition to ill health, both for yourself post-pregnancy and for your baby. Try to follow the dietary advice given later in this Ebook and consider topping up with a safe and gentle multimineral (and vitamin) formula as a safeguard.
The minerals zinc and selenium are important at all stages of life for the support they give to our immune systems and well as human development.
Nutrition during pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body requires extra protein, vitamins and minerals in order to support your growing baby and to allow for changes in your own body. As a rule you will need 50% more vitamins and minerals, but you will only need to increase your calorie intake by 10%-15%. (A longitudinal study - on the Food and Nutrient intake of pregnant women, published in the Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics in 1994, concluded that the intake of nutrients in the diets of pregnant women in each trimester was deficient in meeting the nutrient recommended value (NRV).
Be careful! You do not need as many calories as you might feel you want. In general, you will need about 270 kcal per day extra, beginning in the second trimester, with approximately 500 kcal per day in the 3rd trimester.
If you are still physically active you may need more, but it is all too easy to put on too much weight during pregnancy because many women find that they are constantly hungry.
If you find this is happening to you, listen to your body because it might be telling you that you are short of vital nutrients, such as minerals. Mineral fulfilment will often reduce excessive hunger.
Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of all the cells in both your own body and that of the growing baby. When you are pregnant you must ensure you get enough protein, particularly in the second and third trimesters when the baby is growing fastest.
Protein recommendations during pregnancy is for an additional 1g, 9g and 31g per day during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters respectively. If you are vegetarian or vegan and omitting meat, eggs and dairy from your diet, you need to ensure you replace these with protein-rich foods such as soy, tofu, beans, pulses, seeds and nuts.
Do not reduce your fat intake during pregnancy. Both you and your baby need essential fats during this time and your baby in particular needs polyunsaturated fats to form healthy skin and vision. The most beneficial fats at this time are omega 3 polyunsaturated fats, which include fatty acids found in fish and flax seeds. Monounsaturated fats are also important and the best source of these is olive oil.
Studies have shown that the omega-3 chain fatty acids (DHA in particular) may lower a woman's risk of depression, aid foetal visual development and even help to regulate the sleep patterns of the new-born. However, there are no studies that provided clear evidence on the need to increase DHA significantly when pregnant - The Perinatal Lipid Metabolism Research Project of the European Commission recommends at least 200mg DHA/day for pregnant women.