​Nutrients for a natural pregnancy

May 24 2022

​Nutrients for a natural pregnancy

For many an expectant mum, pregnancy is a time filled with excitement, angst and planning, and one of the first things to consider is correct nutrition. A healthy diet is important at all stages of life but especially so during pregnancy. Unless instructed to do so by your doctor, you generally don’t need to go on a special diet, but it is important to eat a variety of different foods, to ensure the right balance of nutrients both for you and your baby.

Folic acid and pregnancy

Most vitamins and minerals can be sourced from your diet, but you do need to take a folic acid supplement . 400mcgs is the recommended daily amount and you should take this from before you are pregnant and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Folic acid (folate) is a B vitamin that is needed to make new cells in the body. It is especially important for the health and development of the baby’s spinal cord and brain.

Boost your B12 during pregnancy

Adequate B12 in pregnancy is also vital. It is involved in the formation of organs and also has a role to play with lowering homocysteine levels, high levels of which can be associated with complications during pregnancy. As B12 is only found in animal foods, vegetarians and vegans may have low levels, in which case a B12 supplement is often recommended. 

Protein and pregnancy

Protein is also hugely important. Joints, muscles, bones, skin and hair are all made of protein and so sufficient dietary protein is essential for both the baby and mum-to-be. A small daily increase is needed in the first trimester but once you move into the second and third trimesters there is much more of a demand. Good dietary sources of protein include beans, pulses, fish, eggs, lean meat (but avoid liver), poultry and nuts. Hemp or pea protein powder can be added to food or made into a smoothie for an additional protein boost.

EFAs during pregnancy

Essential fats, specifically DHA omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil, are also important for visual, brain and nervous system development. Try to eat two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish such as salmon, sardines or mackerel. There are some types of fish you should avoid, including swordfish and marlin. Equally too much oily fish is also best avoided because it can contain pollutants. Instead a good quality fish oil supplement is usually recommended at the very onset of pregnancy and throughout to ensure both mother and baby’s needs are met.

Marvellous minerals

Minerals too are recommended. Sufficient magnesium during pregnancy, (food sources include green leafy vegetables and nuts) is important; over 60% of magnesium in the body is found in the skeleton.

Dust down your diet during pregnancy

Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables (at least five portions of a variety of fruit and veg) because these provide vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre, which is important for healthy digestion and to help prevent constipation.

Wholegrains and complex carbohydrates are needed for energy, some vitamins and fibre and can be found in whole wheat pasta, brown rice, brown bread, green vegetables, beans, lentils and pulses.

Make sure you drink sufficient water. Your water intake should increase during pregnancy – it is thought that six to nine litres of water is carried in pregnancy - therefore maintaining good fluid intake throughout is very important; plain water is best and an additional 300ml a day is suggested.

A healthy diet should provide many of the nutrients you’ll need, but most experts recommend a good multi nutrient supplement designed especially for pregnancy.

Here are three of our favourite pregnancy supplements to support you and baby:

  • BetterYou Pregnancy Oral Spray , £14.95 for 25ml
  • BetterYou’s Pregnancy Spray provides pill-free pregnancy support in the shape of six key nutrients, including folic acid, iodine, and iron, vitamins D3, K2 and B12, which are all important for mother and baby. With natural peppermint it has been carefully created with a non-nausea formulation to support a healthy pregnancy and optimise overall wellbeing. It’s ideal for mums-to-be and offers fast, effective nutrient delivery to support maternal tissue growth and normal function of the immune system, whilst contributing to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue by stimulating natural energy production.
  • 2.Optibac Probiotics For Pregnancy , £18.99 for 30 capsules
  • With well researched friendly bacteria strains that have been trialled in hundreds of pregnant women, Optibac Probiotics For Pregnancy are proven to pass through stomach acidity and survive to reach the gut. Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14® are also proven to reach the vaginal tract, and L. rhamnosus HN001 has been shown to stimulate immunological responses that may have beneficial immune effects for both mother and baby.
  • Floradix Iron Tonic, £12.35 for 84 tablets
  • With iron, vitamins, yeast and herb extracts to help strengthen and increase vitality, Floradix tablets can help to support the increased demands of pregnancy. Also provides vitamin B12 and folic acid. Take one tablet twice daily before meal.

    Please note: We recommend to speak to your midwife or GP before beginning any supplementation.