Basic Supplement Recommendations
for a Healthy Baby and a Good Birth.
By Sherry Bushnell, DEM
Vitamin K – Vitamin K is used in the body to control blood clotting and is essential for synthesizing the liver protein that controls the clotting. Newborns whose mothers eat a good vitamin K enriched diet, have more clotting ability to avoid inter-cranial hemorrhages. In pregnancy you might be in need of more Vitamin K. It is best to get it from natural sources. Vitamin K is found in leafy vegetables (especially spinach and celery), cheese and liver. It is also found in asparagus, coffee, bacon and green tea. Chlorophyll (below) is an excellent, safe dietary source of vitamin K.
Extra vitamin E… until the last 4 weeks. For pregnant women, insufficient dietary vitamin E (found in vegetable oils, nuts, cereals and some leafy green vegetables) may lead to complications like pre-eclampsia and the baby being born small. Studies have found that the human placenta can deliver natural vitamin E to the fetus much better than synthetic vitamin E. (To identify the kind of vitamin E in a supplement, read the ingredients listed on the label. Natural vitamin E begins with “d,” as in “d-alpha-tocopherol. The synthetic version begins with “dl.”). Too much Vitamin E near the end of pregnancy may prevent easy delivery of the placenta.
Extra calcium/magnesium – Calcium is important during pregnancy and throughout our lives as women. Lack of adequate calcium during pregnancy is associated with muscle cramps, backache, high blood pressure, intense labor and afterbirth pains, osteoporosis and pre-eclampsia. Take a supplement that is liquid and absorbable. Calcium assimilation is governed by exercise, stress, acidity during digestion, availability of vitamin C, A and especially D, and availability of magnesium and phosphorous in the body and the diet. The best food sources of calcium are fish and dairy products. Take calcium in the evening before bed for a nice relaxing sleep! Best calcium sources are calcium citrate or gluconate. Avoid calcium carbonate (as in Tums). It does not absorb well and creates a gritty placenta.
Alfalfa, Green Food, or other source of chlorophyll – Chlorophyll is available as liquid, in gel caps, or dried tablets. Liquid is best, but some moms have a hard time with the color. (Some say drinking it in a cup with a lid helps) Capsules do just as good a job, but may not be absorbed as fast. It also has the added benefit of actually having a slight laxative effect instead of constipation. Liquid chlorophyll is one of the best blood-builders being rich in easily digestible iron, avoiding constipation. It also provides a tonic effect, giving a bit of energy that is needed during pregnancy. Some people like to take it toward the end of pregnancy as a prevention for hemorrhage. Don’t be surprised by its rather weird effect… it causes bright green pee and stools!
Some favorite kinds are: Barley Green, Moringa Tree, Better Than Greens.
Folic Acid – Taking folic acid 400 mgs (up to 800 if you have a family history of any neurological birth defect such as spina bifida) helps your body have a good amount of folic acid to help baby form properly inside in the early weeks.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D deficiency can occur anytime during your life. Vitamin D is a “backseat driver” for calcium and phosphorus absorption in the body. Lack of Vitamin D can produce: PPD – post partum depression, decreased brain development, low birth size, increased incidence of osteoporosis later in life, Type I and II Diabetes Gestational Diabetes and Insulin Sensitivity, (Levels less than 12.5 had the highest), Asthma, Increased Pre-Eclampsia and Pregnancy Induced Hypertension PIH
Main Source: Sunlight UVB rays, best WITHOUT sunscreen. Get 10 – 15 minutes of direct sunlight at least 2 times a week to face, arms, hands or back. Food high in vitamin D: Milk fortified with Vitamin D, Fortified Cereals and orange juice, Oily Fish – Especially wild fish ** Best Source** Fish oil supplements, Eggs. Worst: fried foods
Pregnant and Lactating Women: 5000 IU / day is the daily recommendation of Vitamin D3 to maintain normal D-25 serum levels at 40-80 ng.ml. Vitamin D3 is absorbed best. Vitamin D2, you may be able to locate in a health food store in lower levels, but not in higher levels.
Good books to read:
Naturally Healthy Pregnancy - By Shonda Parker
Nourishing Traditions – By Sally Fallon (A good cook book that challenges politically correct nutrition and diets.)