This week I am sharing my supplement recommendations during pregnancy. I do believe if you eat an optimal enough diet that there is no need to supplement. However, most people fall short of their nutritional needs, especially during pregnancy.
The following are the optimal diet for pregnant and nursing mothers, according to the Weston A. Price Foundation:
- Cod liver oil to supply 20,000 IU vitamin A and 2000 IU vitamin D per day
- One quart whole raw milk and/or four-five ounces raw cheese daily
- Four tablespoons butter daily, preferably from pasture-raised cows
- Two or more eggs or egg yolks daily, preferably from pastured chickens
- Three or four ounces fresh liver, liverwurst or pate, once or twice per week
- Fresh seafood, several times per week, particularly wild salmon, shellfish and fish eggs
- Two tablespoons coconut oil daily, used in cooking, smoothies or melted in hot water
- Fresh beef, lamb, pork or game daily, always consumed with the fat
- Oily fish or lard daily, for vitamin D
- Lacto-fermented condiments and beverages
- Bone broths used in soups, stews and sauces
- Soaked or sourdough whole grains
- Fresh vegetables and fruits
The foundation also tells pregnant and nursing women to avoid:
- Trans fatty acids
- Polyunsaturated vegetable oils
- Refined and artificial sweeteners
- Commercial fried foods
- Junk foods
- Soy foods
- White flour
- Soft drinks
- Drugs (even prescription drugs)
I believe that this is all sound advice based on Dr. Weston A. Price’s research. Reading his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, transformed my life and changed everything I thought I knew about nutrition and health. I believe that after following his advice on nutrition I have been able to reverse most of my health conditions and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
That being said, I had terrible morning sickness during my first trimester of pregnancy. Here are my recommendations on how to treat morning sickness naturally. I was not able to eat a lot of the foods that I normally find to be delicious and healthy, like grass fed meat and liver, some vegetables, pasture raised fats or really anything too fatty. It repulsed me way too much and made me feel nauseous at the thought of eating or smelling them. Thankfully I was able to tolerate raw grass fed milk really well and drank a lot of that.
I was really grateful to be able to supplement with whole food vitamins and supplements during this time. Otherwise I don’t think I would have been able to meet the nutritional needs for myself or my baby. I am going to take you through all of my supplement recommendations below. Be sure to work with your doctor or naturopath before making any changes.
Cod Liver Oil
I recommend Rosita and Dropi. They are the highest quality brands that I know of. Cod liver oil is important to consume for the baby’s brain development from the Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA and EPA. Cod liver oil is also a natural source of Vitamins A and D. It has lower amounts of Vitamin D, but it has high amounts of Vitamin A, which is crucial for healthy vision development.
Butter Oil or Emu Oil
“Walk About Health Products authentic Emu Oil is one of nature’s richest sources of vitamin K2 in the preferred form of MK-4 (Menatetrenone). Liquid emu oil provides an easy way to customize your dosage and daily intake.”
Rosita’s Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil (EVCLO) is the most potent source of natural vitamin A and vitamin D3 known to man. In the past we have always recommended pairing EVCLO with Extra-Virgin Butter Oil for the high levels of vitamin K2 so important for bone health. With no testing facilities that specialized in vitamin K2 it was hard to ascertain the exact amounts of vitamin K2 in various products. All of that changed when Vita K (based in the Netherlands), became the world premier lab for the testing of vitamin K levels in food.
Corganic sent samples of Extra-Virgin Butter Oil, ghee, emu oil and even Rosita EVCLO and ratfish liver oil for testing to Vita K. The fish oils predictably had very little vitamin K2. We were surprised that ghee and butter oil had similar levels (which were higher than most foods). What really shocked us was the fact that emu oil was head and shoulders higher in vitamin K2 compared to any other food tested.
Here is what the independent tests revealed:
- Extra-Virgin Butter Oil: 125 ng/tsp of Menaquinone-4 (vitamin K2)
- Walkabout Health Emu Oil: 1,489 ng/tsp of Menaquinone-4 (vitamin K2)”
Natural Vitamin D Drops
Get your Vitamin D status checked with your doctor first before supplementing. This is especially important to supplement with if you live in a Northern climate and do not get a lot of sun exposure. My recommended brand is Seeking Health Optimal because the Vitamin D3 is sourced from lanolin (from the wool of live sheep) and only has one other ingredient, real olive oil. It is a food-based source of Vitamin D and it has 2000 IU’s of Vitamin D3 per drop, so it is very economical!
This was one of the supplements I am most grateful for during pregnancy. It was nearly impossible for me to choke down liver during the first trimester and beyond. Taking desiccated (or dried raw) liver helped me to get lots of folate, Vitamin A, B12, iron, CoQ10, copper, zinc and chromium. I have been taking Perfect Supplements Desiccated Liver. The pills are easy to swallow and they give discounts on bulk buys of their own brand too! If you buy 3 of their perfect supplements brand, you get 25% off. If you buy 6 bottles, you save 30% and if you buy 12 or more you save 35%. I normally buy them in bulk to save more.
Some experts believe that everyone should take a probiotic from birth to death. Although I eat lots of fermented foods normally including yogurt, milk kefir, water kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and naturally fermented soy sauce, I want my gut to have as much diversity as possible when it comes to good bacteria. This is why I choose to take a probiotic. I also took a probiotic throughout pregnancy to prevent the possibility of me contracting Group B Strep. The one I took throughout pregnancy was Bio-Kult. I took 2 capsules every day which provided me with 4 billion probiotic microorganisms per day. Other favorites of mine are Prescript Assist and Femdophilus.
Whole Food Multivitamin
UPDATE 6/5/18: I no longer recommend Juice Plus, but Purium’s Greens and Bio Fruit (use my code healthbysarah to get $50 or 25% off your first order! You’ll get 15% off as a returning customer or 25% off if you order within 30 days of your last order). I recommend Purium’s powdered fruits and vegetables over Juice Plus because Purium is a cleaner product, is certified organic and only contains fruits and vegetables. That being said, Purium’s Greens and Bio Fruit do not replace a prenatal vitamin, so one that I love is MegaFood, listed below.
I started taking Juice Plus Complex before getting pregnant and throughout pregnancy. I take all 3 blends – garden, berry and orchard. The garden and orchard blends together contain 400mcg of folate per serving. The 3 blends together provide me with 30 servings of fruits, vegetables, berries and grains daily. This was important to me because I often fall short of getting enough vegetables and fruits in my diet for the needed micronutrients. I was especially falling short of eating enough fruits and vegetables during my first trimester, so I felt that this gave me nutrition I was missing out from my diet.
Alternatively you can take MegaFood Multivitamin as a whole food based prenatal. They are a great brand made with non-GMO ingredients as well and source their ingredients from family-owned farms. If you have the MTHFR mutation, especially the homozygous copy, you need to take a methylated form of folate. Seeking Health Optimal has a great prenatal designed for women with the MTHFR mutation.
Vitamin B Complex
I was taking the Vitamin B Complex by MegaFood for extra folate and B vitamins. It has 400mcg of folate and it is another whole food based vitamin, so I feel comfortable taking it to fill in the gaps of my diet.
Gelatin and Collagen
First of all, I recommend consuming lots of gelatin and collagen in the form of bone broth and soups like paleo shrimp bisque and broccoli and pecan soup. If you aren’t able to stand soups early on in pregnancy especially, gelatin and collagen powder come to the rescue! It of course isn’t as beneficial as drinking bone broth, but it still has benefits. I like Great Lakes gelatin and collagen, Perfect Supplements and Vital Proteins.
Food Based Iron Supplement (If Needed)
I would only recommend taking an iron supplement if your hemoglobin and/or your iron levels are out of normal range. It is standard to get your hemoglobin and iron levels checked a couple times in pregnancy. Mine were in the normal range each time I was tested, so I did not supplement. However, if I did need to supplement, I would choose a whole food based iron supplement. Floradix is a wonderful food based supplement in liquid form. It contains natural forms of iron, B vitamins and Vitamin C for better absorption.
I have taken iron supplements in the past (the pill synthetic form) and they have constipated me terribly. They also didn’t help me to get my iron levels up quickly. However, when I took Floradix to increase my iron levels, I felt better almost immediately. It did not give me the horrible side effect of constipation. It gave me a ton of energy and helped me to get my iron levels back to normal quickly (in addition to eating lots of red meat and greens). So if your iron levels are low in pregnancy, my number one recommendation is to eat a diet full of red meat, greens and beets and supplement with Floradix.
I took the Miessence Vitality Trio which are combined alkalizing, probiotic, and antioxidant nutrients. If you are gluten-free, make sure you choose their FastTract Gluten-free probiotic in place of the In-Liven Probiotic. The In-Liven contains fermented wheat and barley grains, so a celiac would not be able to handle this. If you are gluten sensitive, you may be able to handle consuming In-Liven without a problem since the gluten grains are fermented. From their website:
In-Liven Probiotic – 26 naturally fermented organic whole foods to help recolonize the gut with beneficial bacteria. 80% of our immunity is in our gut. Fermented foods are one of the keys to longevity.
Berry Radical – anti-ageing from the inside! The antioxidant equivalent of over 8 servings of fruits and veggies in one delicious beverage.
DeepGreen – balance your body pH with a super-concentrated source of alkalising, mineral-rich, green algae, grass juices and leafy greens.
The superfoods aren’t necessary for a healthy pregnancy with all my other supplement recommendations, especially if you are eating a good diet like the one recommended by the Weston Price Foundation. However, they give added benefits as listed above which can help your body work better.
These are all of my recommendations for a nutrition-filled pregnancy diet. You should have all your bases covered if you follow my recommendations. Let me know what you did during your pregnancy!