Should I take supplements during pregnancy?
At Emily Skye FIT, we're big believers that food should be our primary source of nutrients. Supplements are not a substitute for healthy food choices, but they do play an important role in ensuring you and your developing baby are getting all the nutrients you need during pregnancy.
Before taking any supplements, you should talk to your doctor or an accredited practicing dietitian to ensure they’re right for your individual needs.
The following is general advice, so make sure you discuss each of these supplements with a health professional and follow their guidance.
When should I take it? For 2-3 months prior to pregnancy and throughout your first trimester.
Why? Folate is a B vitamin required for the development of new body cells. Getting enough folate in the months before pregnancy and during the first 3 months of pregnancy has been shown to reduce the risk of babies being born with certain birth defects, such as spina bifida.
You can get folate from dark green leafy vegetables, some fruits, nuts and legumes, and fortified breads and pastas. However, because women who are pregnant, or planning to be, require more folate, taking a supplement is recommended.
Pregnancy multivitamin with iron
When should I take it? Throughout pregnancy.
Why? Your pregnancy multivitamin should include iron.
Iron is part of haemoglobin in red blood cells, which picks up oxygen from the lungs and carries it to your muscles and brain. When you’re pregnant and active, you’re at increased risk of low iron levels – and if you don’t have enough, oxygen transport can be impacted, leaving you feeling fatigued. Iron is also important for immune system function.
To help your body absorb iron (from your multivitamin and food sources) team it with vitamin C rich foods such as kiwi fruit, strawberries, oranges or red capsicum.
Why? Calcium is essential for bone development and muscle function – for you and baby – and your requirements will increase during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Dairy, tofu, green leafy vegetables and nuts/seeds are all good sources of calcium, and it is also likely to be included in your daily pregnancy multivitamin.
Why? Iodine is an important nutrient for your baby’s brain development – during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It will likely be included in your daily pregnancy multivitamin, just check that it’s at least 150mcg.
You can also get iodine from food sources including eggs, fish, milk and iodised salt.
Can I still have it? Some protein powders contain added vitamins and minerals which, when consumed in excessive amounts, can be risky for pregnancy. However, a plain whey protein is totally fine to add to your FIT Pregnancy smoothies, breakfasts and snacks.
So be sure to check the label carefully – you want a whey protein (or vegan equivalent) that is 'plain' with no additives.
Remember to check with your doctor about the right combination of supplements for your individual condition, as you may have depleted stores of a particular vitamin or mineral.
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