Pregnancy and Infants: Nutritional Supplements We RecommendGeneral guidelines to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth include the following:
- Pregnant women should focus on eating a variety of foods (e.g., many colors of vegetables, fruits, beans, and lean meats) to ensure a sufficient supply of basic nutrients.
- The diet should include at least a 20% increase in protein (based on 300 more calories per day) from healthy hormone free chicken, turkey, meat, or fish. (stay away from swordfish and tuna which are higher in Mercury)
- If you experience nausea or morning sickness, or feel too full too soon in the later stages of pregnancy, it may be helpful to eat several small meals rather than a few large meals, and take a digestive enzyme or two with each meal.
- Limit your consumption of caffeine and excess salt. Avoid alcohol.
- Take a good multivitamin which contains plenty of folic acid, B-vitamins, vitamin E, C, and minerals like calcium and magnesium. One per day is not sufficient. Typically, 1-2 capsules with each meal is standard for a good pre-natal multi.
- Take at least 200mg of DHA (Omega 3) and 500mg L-Carnitine which is proven to help have a healthy pregnancy and fetal development.
- Take an excellent quality probiotic such as HMF Super Powder or HMF Forte caps. Probiotics will help form the baby's immune system and reduce risk of autoimmune conditions, allergies, and skin problems through their life.
- After consulting with your physician or midwife, you should continue a similar type of exercise program from your pre-pregnancy days. If you did not exercise before, be sure to engage only in mild to moderate exercise. Exercise should be geared to increasing your sense of well-being and maintaining your general overall health. Pregnant women who exercise regularly tend to enjoy their pregnancy more. Exercise may also reduce the stress of the delivery for both the mother and baby.
- After pregnancy, continue your supplement and dietary program for at least 6 months to aid your body in recovery. Increase calorie intake by 500 per day during lactation (from pre-pregnancy calorie intake), again focusing on protein.
- See our Post-Partum recommendations which include 1 Tbsp per day of Super EFA Liquid (Omega 3s), 1-2 mg of Folic Acid, B-complex, and Carnitine. Maxum Multi-vite contains B-complex and folic acid, yet the Omega 3s and Carnitine need to be taken seperately.
Research Articles on the Benefits of Taking Fish Oils (DHA) During Pregnancy
DHA supplements at pregnancy boost babies' intelligence
09/01/2003 - Mothers who supplement their diet with fatty acids rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) during pregnancy and lactation may be doing their children a favor in later years, say researchers in this month’s Pediatrics journal.
Researchers in Norway examining the effects of DHA on mental development found that those children whose mothers had a higher intake of DHA during pregnancy scored higher on intelligence and achievement tests at four years of age than those whose mothers took fatty acids not containing DHA. The researchers at the University of Oslo enrolled women during the 18th week of pregnancy in a randomized, double-blind trial and supplemented their diets with one of two different polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
Participants received either cod liver oil (containing very-long-chain omega-3 PUFA rich in DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids) or corn oil (a long-chain omega-6 PUFA with no DHA content). They took the supplements from the point of enrollment until three months after childbirth.Researchers then completed assessments of intelligence using the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC) for 84 child subjects once they reached four years of age.
The team found that children born to mothers who had taken the cod liver oil during pregnancy and lactation scored significantly higher (approximately 4.1 points) on the Mental Processing Composite of the K-ABC test compared to children whose mothers had received corn oil.
The researchers classified these increases as significant. Commenting on the findings, Henry Linsert, CEO of Martek BioSciences, said: "First, this is the only study that has specifically measured IQ in order to quantify the developmental benefits associated with DHA supplementation. Second, by showing an improvement in intelligence at four years of age, this study demonstrates that the developmental benefits of DHA persist well beyond infancy."
Fish Oil Supplements During Pregnancy
Reduces Infant Immune Reponses to Allergens
Omega-3 fatty acids are recommended as part of a balanced diet, but a pediatrician at The University of Western Australia (UWA) has discovered that they could also be used to prevent allergies in babies and children.
UWA Associate Professor Susan Prescott and a research team examined the effects of Omega-3 polyunsaturated-rich fish oils in pregnancy, on the developing infant immune responses.
They found that babies whose mothers were given fish oil supplements during pregnancy had reduced infant immune responses to allergens such as cat and house dust mite.
It was also noted that these babies were three times less likely to develop allergies to food, such as egg, and have less severe infantile eczema in the first year of life.
"With the dramatic increase in allergic disease in recent years, there is an urgent need to identify environmental changes which may be responsible," Associate Professor Prescott, Head of UWA's School of Paediatrics and Child Health said.
"One significant change that has occurred with progressive westernization has been falling intakes of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. So there has been growing interest in dietary omega-3 replacement in the prevention of allergic diseases."
Associate Professor Prescott's findings are published in the international Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology December 2003 issue