I am not big on supplementation. I find unless you really know what your body needs through tests and have really good quality supplements you have to be careful. I try to get lots of sun in the summer for my Vitamin D and in the winter I try and take cod liver oil instead. When I’m sick I take lots of things to support, but mostly herbs. I’ve started learning herbal medicine for this reason, they are actually so rich in vitamins and minerals that a big cup of herbal tea or the right tincture can really help. Even adding lots of ‘herbs’ to regular cooking helps, like garlic, ginger, mushrooms, thyme, parsley. I eat balanced and overall find stressing about it makes me feel worse.
But there are times we need to supplement to support our body and right now for me pregnancy is one. The body goes through a huge change and it’s also helping grow another life!
I am working with midwives and have done some of my own research, here is what has worked for me!
Prenatal: Mary Ruth’s Organics
I wanted a prenatal without iron. My iron levels are good but it is recommended to have extra during pregnancy. The first prenatal I took was a whole food based one but had added iron and it really slows down my digestion, which is no fun when pregnant. I had heard good things about Mary Ruth’s Organics so tried it out and I like it. It also has magnesium which has been helpful for digestion. It’s a liquid and some don’t like the flavor but I don’t mind.
Desiccated Liver: Perfect Supplements
This is to supplement my iron, but liver is so good for you! I just can’t stomach it in its normal form but it is a goal of mine, I wish I could. If anything, a pâté is a good way to fit it in. For now these supplements are so great, I actually feel a difference if I take them, I am more focused and have more energy. Some call it ‘nature’s multi-vitamin’ because it is so full of good vitamins and minerals! Also during third trimester blood volume increases and liver can help support with the right vitamins for that.
Herbal Tea Blend: Red Raspberry Leaf, Nettle, Oat straw, Lemon Balm
Here is a recipe I have been making:
1 tbsp red raspberry leaf
1 tbsp nettle
1/2 tbsp oat straw
1/2 tbsp lemon balm
1 cup boiling water, let steep 10-20 min
This picture shows a bigger portion I make sometimes if I am busy, and strain and leave half in the fridge.
Sometimes I make a big jar of it and let it sit longer, strain it and leave it in the fridge to sip on.
Raspberry Leaf : The queen of pregnancy, she is a must, if you drink one herbal tea make it this! It is a great tonic herb that helps strengthen the uterus for labor and after to help prevent postpartum hemorrhage. The constituent fragarine does this. There are great studies in its efficiency, which is sometimes hard to find for herbs! It is also rich in minerals (calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium), vitamins and antioxidants. It may negatively impact production of breast milk for some, it’s not recommended for those with anemia, and best avoided in first trimester like many herbs.
Nettle: The king herb of all! So many good reasons to enjoy nettle but for pregnancy it’s used for its nutritive qualities (easily assimilated nutrients to make you feel stronger, more energetic and prevent disease). It’s list of vitamins and minerals is too long to list! It’s great for the kidneys, which are working extra hard during pregnancy to detox for two. It’s also good for breast milk production so combined with red raspberry leaf you got your bases covered.
Oat straw: Another nourishing herb that is also great for the nervous system, to help keep you feeling calm and supported! It is also very hydrating! I love it in tea, it adds an earthy flavor that I can’t resist. Note: some with celiac may be intolerant.
Lemon Balm: Because it’s always good! Another calming herb that is tasty in tea. It is also anti-microbial and great for digestion! It helps balance out the earthiness of the other herbs.
Magical one their own in my opinion, I really don’t understand those who don’t like them, to me they are like candy! They are loaded with fats, carbs, vitamins, minerals and fiber. There are less studies on how they work but one theory is they can effect our levels of oxytocin, the feel good hormone that makes labor possible. Some studies show they can help with cervical ‘ripening’, less need for inductions, faster dilation times. These are major benefits because most interventions happen when labor isn’t progressing fast enough, women get tired while they wait for their body to relax and open. Anything to help that process is worth a try in my book!
Collagen: Perfect Supplements
When pregnant you will learn that it is recommended that one eats lots of protein! Collagen is great for that. It can be found in foods we eat so supplementing is obviously not necessary, but it case you find your not getting enough this is a great choice to add to your diet. It is not a replacement for whole food protein, just like the definition implies, it is to supplement, to add a little extra, a little boost. It also packs a nutritional punch! It can also help the baby, and your belly as it stretches, and your joints as they get more load. In my book, it’s an easy choice. It hasn’t been studied as much but generally considered safe! This brand is also really great quality, so make sure you stick with great quality.
I do most of these everyday, if I forget I at least have my prenatal and drink lots of water and eat well. Obviously speak to a medical professional first but mine have all approved these for me, but everyone is different. There is no one size fits on to pregnancy and health.
Also lots of water and sleep!