It’s a complex question, since people have a variety of dietary habits, but there are two supplements I often suggest specifically here in Minnesota. It should be noted that prenatal vitamins can enhance your food choices and are important in the whole pregnancy, however, supplementing vitamin D and DHA (or fish oil) in addition to your prenatal multivitamin is extra beneficial.
Vitamin D is made from sunshine interacting with skin, therefore living through Minnesota’s long winters puts us all at a disadvantage for vitamin D absorption. If you have darker skin and/or stay covered or indoors or if you always use sunscreen, you may have even more trouble getting the D you need. Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to decrease the risk for pre-eclampsia, low birth weight, and gestational diabetes. Furthermore, vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy has been linked to childhood risks for asthma, type 1 diabetes, and language impairment. Prenatal vitamins usually have some vitamin D, but not generally an adequate amount in our climate. We recommend adding 4,000-10,000IU (International Units) daily during pregnancy, lactation and beyond.
To further round out pregnancy supplementation, add DHA. DHA is an essential fatty acid (omega-3) found in fish and it’s needed for fetal brain development. Two to three servings of cold water deep sea fish per week can provide adequate amounts of DHA. However, mercury and lead levels in local water has led to recommendations for decreasing local fish eating. When you’re shopping, make sure that the brand you buy also contains EPA to ensure proper absorption. Supplementation of DHA with EPA is extremely important for vegetarians.
New! Here are Cheryl’s recommendations for prenatal support. The links will connect you to Fullscript, where you can create an account and shop for your favorites and then purchase for 25% off:
D3 5,000 by Metagenics, OmegaGenics® EPA-DHA 720.
Original post by Jane Wrede APRN CNM