Even though I follow a healthy, highly-nutritional diet, it’s always challenging to consume enough of the necessary nutrients for pregnancy. In my first pregnancy, I didn’t do nearly as much research and wasn’t aware of how important the quality of pregnancy supplements are, including the form the nutrients come in. I merely thought getting a healthy prenatal and DHA supplements from Whole Foods was sufficient. I did more research during my second pregnancy, and even more so now in my third. Below are my favorite, most asorbic, and high-quality supplements that I swear by…
Thorne Basic Prenatal (containing Folate). It contains none of the additives found in mainstream prenatal supplements (i.e. artificial preservatives, stearates, hidden lactose, gluten, nut-based ingredients, etc.). It contains 1,000 mcg (active 5MTHF) as opposed to 800 mcg (metabolically inactive folic acid) found in many other prenatal vitamins. This prenatal supplement contains 5MTHF, which is the metabolically active form of folic acid. (This is important because three out of five Americans have a genetic inability to convert folic acid into 5MTHF, which I will further discuss in my Methylfolate section below). It contains 45 mg of Iron (well-absorbed and well-tolerated Iron Bisglycinate), whereas many prenatal supplements contain ferrous sulfate Iron, which is poorly absorbed and irritating to the gastrointestinal tract. It also contains higher levels of Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B2 than most other prenatal vitamins. You can find this on Amazon or here: https://www.thorne.com/products/dp/basic-prenatal
Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil. This is one of the few Prenatal DHA vitamins that is tested to be free of mercury. It is NSF third-party certified for quality and purity, and contains 600 mg DHA, 120 mg EPA Omega-3. I am a huge fan of Wiley’s Prenatal DHA.
Thorne brand 5-MTHF 1 mg (Methylfolate). Many individuals don’t get sufficient 5-MTHF (L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate), the active form of folic acid, because they have intestinal or liver dysfunction, or as I said above, because they are among the three out of five Americans whose genetic makeup makes it difficult to convert folic acid into active 5-MTHF. (That would be me!) A deficiency of folic acid has been linked to low-birth-weight infants and neural tube defects. 5-MTHF also contributes to the production of serotonin, melatonin, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. NOTE: People who have a MTHFR defect will need to consult with a specialized practitioner. This can be determined by a blood test or simply a DNA sample result from 23andme and requesting the Raw Data.
Trubifido Probiotic. TruBifido contains 30 billion CFU of Bifidobacteria. Probiotics are critical, especially during pregnancy. During birth, babies culture their beneficial gut bacteria from what they receive from their mother when passing through the birth canal and from nursing in the months afterward. This is my favorite high-quality probiotic.
Thorne Magnesium CitraMate. Even though I take magnesium all the time, I find it especially helpful in pregnancy. Severe magnesium deficiency can lead to a number of complications involving poor fetal growth, preeclampsia, or even fetal death. Maintaining healthy magnesium levels can also help mom’s recovery during pregnancy and may help baby receive more nutrition through the placenta. It is incredibly challenging to get the necessary levels of magnesium from food sources anymore. I’ve been taking Thorne’s Magnesium for the past year as even before pregnancy, it seemed to help my quality of sleep and leg cramps.
Note: Always consult your doctor before switching or implementing any new supplements.
Statistically speaking, 90% of pregnant American women will get stretch marks (to some degree) during the third trimester. I admit, I was among the lucky 10% during my first two pregnancies. I managed to escape my 9 months without a single stretch mark. I used TONS of Shea Butter during my first pregnancy, while I barely used anything during my second. (However, I did hydrate far more during my second pregnancy.) Now pregnant with my third, I’m not assuming I will be as lucky this time around. Since Week 20, I’ve been using a DIY salve that I have been LOVING! It feels incredibly soothing and has helped tremendously with my itchy belly. The below recipe is from http://WellnessMama.com (which, if you haven’t checked out her blog, it’s a must!), but with a few modifications. Here’s an amazing salve recipe to avoid and remove stretch marks:
1/4 cup Organic, Unrefined Shea Butter
1/4 cup Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
3 Tablespoons Almond Oil (or Apricot Kernel)
1 Tablespoon Calendula Flowers (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ginger
How to Make Stretch Marks Salve:
If using the calendula and ginger, add to Almond Oil (or Apricot Kernel Oil) and place in a double boiler or bowl over a small pan of water.
Bring to a simmer and heat for 30 minutes on medium low heat to incorporate the properties of the herbs.
Strain through a metal strainer to remove herbs. (Be sure you still have at least 2 tablespoons of liquid oil left.)
Return the oil to the double boiler. Add the Shea Butter and Coconut Oil.
Heat until melted. Stir to incorporate.
Remove from heat and store in small glass jar.
Use as needed on skin before, during or after pregnancy to alleviate stretch marks and itchy belly.
Despite being fully aware that there are no proven non-medical ways to help induce labor, I’ve begun trying the myriad of strange and wacky natural induction methods in hopes of giving this baby of mine a little nudge. (Note: I’m 39 weeks pregnant and received the green light from my OB.) With my firstborn, I ate spicy food as my sole attempt to induce labor – and it seemed to work! This time around, I’ve already tried several of the popular techniques ranging from having a pressure points massage, eating loads of pineapple and papaya, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, taking primrose oil pills, walking more than usual, ordering lots of spicy foods, snacking on dates, and bouncing on my exercise ball (on which my son AJ loves to join me). I’m beyond ready to meet this little angel – and incredibly ready to be able to sleep on my belly again! If only they made mattresses with a large belly hole for pregnant women!
Aside from trying to coax my baby out sooner rather than later, we (my husband and I) continue to work on preparing our 18-month old for his new baby brother or sister. We aren’t sure how AJ will respond when he/she comes, but we have been doing our best to help him. I’ve read him books about the baby in Mommy’s belly. We have a baby doll that we have him practice holding and rocking, which sadly always ends with him beating up the baby doll once he’s through (sigh). We’ve had him around a friend’s baby in hopes he realizes that a baby isn’t the same as a doll. We’ve shown him pictures from when he was a baby. Mostly, however, we’ve been trying to cherish the time and appreciate the one-on-one relationship before the baby’s arrival by taking him on little trips (i.e. Los Angeles Zoo, Travel Town Train Museum, Dancing With The Stars rehearsals and shows to see his DWTS pals, etc.).
Being 18-months old is very young to understand what a new baby is all about, let alone what it means to be a big brother. I’m just hoping and praying he adjusts well. I welcome any suggestions that have worked for you on this subject matter. I’m all ears!
Here’s hoping the next time I write, I will be the newest member of the ‘two under two’ club. 🙂