So you’re pregnant … or you’re thinking about it … or you’re just obsessed with all things baby and love reading pregnancy posts for funzies. Whichever category you fit into, this post is for you.
Whether you got here easily or it took years in the making, there are some pretty big changes ahead. Chances are, you did a little planning and cleaned up your act before you got pregnant. You know … ditched the bad habits, sat up a little straighter, ate a little better, did a little detox, and tried a superfood or two? But now that there’s actually toast in the toaster, it’s time to up your game.
Unless your diet has been almost perfect for the five years leading up to your pregnancy, you’re going to want a little something more than the once-a-day prenatal you’re not going to absorb anyway to get the job done. In natural medicine, we don’t mess around when it comes to making healthy babies.
Here’s a natural prenatal plan to help you grow a healthy baby and support your body while you’re doing it:
1. Red Raspberry (Herbal Form) or (Tea)
Red Raspberry is a female tonic that is known for its ability to tone the uterus. It prevents cramping, false labor, and morning sickness, reduces postpartum bleeding and swelling, shortens labor, promotes tissue repair, can contract (if needed) or relax the muscles of the uterus, increases lactation, and has anti fungal and antiviral properties.
Hawthorn is a heart tonic that supports baby’s heart and circulatory system. It may also be beneficial for mothers who struggle with high blood pressure during pregnancy.
There’s really no way around it: You need a ton of calcium during your pregnancy. You’re creating a tiny human with hundreds of bones and you need it for yours too. For maximum absorption, take calcium with vitamin C (and separately from all other supplements). I’m a huge fan of THIS raw calcium.
4. Vitamin C or Rose Hips
Vitamin C helps prevent sickness, reduces varicose veins and hemorrhoids, strengthens the perineum, reduces labor and recovery time, and decreases baby’s risk of infection. It also increases the absorption of calcium and iron.
A good gut is essential to a good immune system and you can’t pass on what you don’t have … so get on a good one.
The need for magnesium is R-E-A-L. It helps nervous system development and is a go-to for pregnancy probs like constipation, sleeplessness, restless legs, and pain. There are a lot of different forms of magnesium out there, but nothing compares to Natural Calm.
7. Herbal Trace Minerals
Trace minerals are those little minerals nobody pays attention to that baby needs for development. Taking trace minerals in an herbal form increases their bio-availability.
8. Vitamin E with Selenium
Vitamin E is a super important antioxidant needed for baby’s development. Taken with the trace mineral selenium, it helps prevent pre-eclampsia, cystic fibrosis, low birth weight, infant mortality, SIDS, and genetic disorders. Synthetic vitamin E has lower bioavailability and is excreted three times faster than natural vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol), so opt for 400 IU of natural vitamin E each day and take it with food.
9. Vitamin A and D3
During pregnancy, you need 10-20% more vitamin A per day. Vitamin A is important for the development of bones, skin, teeth, hair, eye function, and the fetal skeleton and immune system. Since it’s a fat-soluble vitamin and cause toxicity in high amounts, it’s important to be mindful of how much you’re taking. Most sources recommend a daily dosage of around 4,000 IU with a maximum dose of 10,000 IU daily.
Vitamin D3 is another super important nutrient to focus on during pregnancy because it is responsible for so many functions within the body.
Vitamin D3 comes from sunlight and food. When sunlight hits our skin, it converts a precursor called 7-dehydro-cholesterol to vitamin D3. This D3, with the D3 we get from our food is then converted by the liver into 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, which is what is measured on a lab test.
Since seafood is the most significant source of D (which is an issue in and of itself given the amount you’d have to eat and the risk of heavy metal toxicity) and it can be difficult to get adequate amounts of sunlight, it is very easy to become deficient. I use Living Whole’s “Liquid Vitamin D3 with MCT Oil” at 4,000 IU per day during pregnancy.
10. Vitamin B Complex
Vitamin B supports the nervous and digestive systems, while also nourishing the mother’s adrenals. If you don’t want to spend your entire pregnancy feeling like you got run over by a mack truck … you should probably take one. (Here’s my favorite.)
11. Methyl Folate
One of the most important supplements you can take for a healthy baby is folate. Don’t get folate confused with “folic acid.” They are not the same thing. Folic acid was one of the stupidest recommendations made to pregnant women … like ever.
Folic acid? Run. Methyl Folate? Take.
It’s super important to make sure you have enough zinc during your pregnancy. Zinc is essential for healthy absorption of vitamins and the function of more than 200 human enzymes (including those necessary to synthesize RNA and DNA). It also enables proteins to connect with nucleic acids. You wouldn’t think that we’d have an issue with zinc deficiency in this country, but because of our overly processed diet, it’s actually quite common.
13. Udo’s Oil, Cod Liver, or Raw Coconut Oil
Essential fatty acids are vital to the functioning of every single cell in your body … and baby’s. The body needs fat for the nervous system, hormones, brain development, skin, hair, nails, and everything else you could possibly think of. A tablespoon a day of a good fat is a must.
Here is a list of supplements you might want to consider if you’re a go-getter or are experiencing a unique pregnancy situation.
This is an important supplement to take if you’re at risk for developing gestational diabetes or have had it in prior pregnancies.
Chelated Iron, Herbal Iron, or Yellow Dock
A lot of women can suffer from anemia during pregnancy (and all of the exhausting side-effects that go alone with it), and it’s often due to low iron. Prescription iron will make you constipated and it’s not in a form your body can readily absorb, so herbs naturally high in iron (like yellow dock, I-X, or burdock) or a chelated form of iron is the way to go.
Wild Yam is taken for the first three months to prevent miscarriage and morning sickness.
Although we greatly over-estimate how much protein people require in this country, pregnant women need a little more. So if you’re active, light on meat, or vegetarian, consider supplementing your smoothies with plant-based raw protein.
With each pregnancy, there were days where I just didn’t have time to take the Mercedes-Benz of prenatal plans. For the days where I needed a shortcut, I took a raw prenatal, a calcium supplement … and a nap.
Happy baby baking!