What supplements should you be taking during pregnancy?

First of all, we are blessed to have our healthy baby boy delivered this month by our very knowledgeable team of midwives who worked with us throughout the entire pregnancy.  I felt that it is necessary to share the information about some things to take during pregnancy to boost the health of the mother as well as the developing fetus.

There are many factors that can have impact on the baby’s health and development.  It is our duty as parents and as doctors to make sure that we provide the best to the baby from the very beginning.

We believe that it is necessary to detoxify our body prior to conceiving, therefore the very first step that I recommend for every parent to do is a cleansing program which reduces toxic burden to our body, and improves hormonal regulation.  This paves a clean path for your new baby to come.  Cleansing program is not only dietary changes and supplement support, but it also involves quitting risky habits such as smoking and alcohol abuse.

Prior to conceiving, we recommend the mother to begin supplementation of folic acid either individually or formulated in a prenatal multi vitamin form.  Folic acid should be taken at least 3 month before pregnancy and continue throughout the entire term.  My suggested dose would be minimum 400mcg to 1000mcg per day.  One can also obtain extra folic acid from food sources such as spinach, romaine lettuce, broccoli, brussel sprouts, beets and oranges.

Folic acid deficiency is linked to Neural tube defects as well as low birth weight.  An improper neural tube closure during early pregnancy will result in spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and lifelong disability of the newborn due to spinal and brain abnormalities.

As the fetus grows, the mother will need to increase her blood supply to support the extra oxygen, nutrient and waste removal for the baby.  A pregnant woman will have increased her blood volume by about 40-50%. Iron supplementation is necessary to provide building block to such increased requirement.  Nausea and vomiting are often signs of hormonal changes and anemia.  It is also very important to take iron in preparation for the blood lost during delivery.  The recommended dose for iron is 27mg/day in pregnancy.

Recent study shows clear evidence that iron lowers the risk of low birth weight in pregnant women.  As we know it, iron is as important as folic acid during pregnancy. I would highly recommend having your iron levels checked during pregnancy and increase your iron storage accordingly.

Finally, we elected to add Vitamin D for ourselves.  Vitamin D plays an important role to the immune system and skeletal growth.  A deficiency in Vit D increases the risk of preeclampsia and preterm labor.  A comparison study found that women who are VitD deficient are 4 times more likely to have a c-section than women with normal levels. Please refer to the Vit D article for details on dosage.  Generally speaking, 2000IU per day is the minimum starting point for pregnant mother.

Planning to have a baby? Make sure you get a head start in preparation, and remember
healthy parents equal healthy baby.