When I found out I was pregnant, I connected with one of my best friend's sisters, Samantha, who had recently brought a beautiful baby boy into the world. Like most mamas, she was ready to share all of the info she gathered along those wonderful 9 months with all of her soon-to-be mom friends. One thing I reached out to and trusted Samantha on was what types of prenatal vitamins (and supplements in general) she took during her pregnancy.
When Samantha found out she was pregnant, she wanted to see a doctor immediately. But like most doctor's offices, they wouldn't accept her until the 8 week mark. Not taking "no" for an answer, she took a different route. She booked an appointment with a naturopath to seek out advice for the first steps of her pregnancy journey. During this appointment, the naturopath recommended the following vitamins that I will share in this post. I took these supplements with Lincoln and will continue to take them with baby #2 (with one minor adjustment).
FYI, I am no doctor - this is just based on my own research and what my mama intuition tells me is healthy and right!
Vitamin: Prenatal Vitamin
Type: Rainbow Light Prenatal One
Importance: If you are pregnant, you should be taking a prenatal vitamin! No questions asked. Prenatal vitamins help to ensure that a mama is getting all of the proper nutrients that she may not be getting in her diet. Some of the most important nutrients found in prenatal vitamins include folic acid, iron, iodine and calcium. Folic acid may reduce your child's risk of obtaining certain birth defects including spinal bifida by up to 70%! Recently, doctors have been talking about iodine as one of the more important nutrients that a mother should be getting during pregnancy that we often forget about. Low iodine during pregnancy can be detrimental to baby's brain. In sum, MAKE SURE YOU ARE TAKING YOUR PRENATAL VITAMINS!
Why Rainbow Light? So originally with my first pregnancy, Samantha's naturopath doctor recommended New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins. I took these prenatal vitamins for the majority of my pregnancy with Lincoln and loved them. You take one vitamin with each meal - so 3 vitamins per day. For once, I was actually good at doing this! I took my vitamins every day 3x a day. The only catch for me ended up being the price and the frequency I was buying them. So, I went to Whole Foods and talked to someone in the vitamin department. This is when I was informed that Rainbow Light Prenatal One was the top-selling vitamin at Whole Foods and came highly recommended, plus you only had to take it once a day rather than three times a day. I did some research online and found that Prenatal One was also a top-seller on Amazon. Thus, I decided since it was a plant-based vitamin and included mostly whole, natural ingredients, this was a good way to go. With Baby #2, I am taking this supplement. If I want to change it up, I will likely go back to the New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamin.
Things to Look Out For: When purchasing a brand of prenatal vitamin (and any kind of vitamin for that matter), you want to make sure you are buying the good stuff. Whole Foods, while pricey, or any other natural foods market is probably a good place to start. Whole Foods has a strict vetting process for all of the products it carries, including vitamins. When pregnant, you don't want to be cheap with supplements and buy the bad stuff. What I really love about the Rainbow Light Vitamin is that it is Plant-Based. This need not be a requirement, but is something that I often look out for. What you don't want is fillers of any sort.
Vitamin: Vitamin D3
Type: Carlson Vitamin D3
Importance: Okay, so Vitamin D3 is a vitamin that everyone should be taking. The reason I know this is I talked to my sister-in-law, Jill, an infectious disease doctor and internist. She went to Georgetown University for med school and residency, undergrad at Columbia -- so yes, she is VERY smart. Jill and I had a conversation pre-pregnancy about supplements. She told me that she doesn't believe in them, HOWEVER, she said, the only supplement that she DOES believe in is Vitamin D3. So there you have it. Aside from this, my dad, who survived Stage 4 Prostate Cancer preaches to my husband and I CONSTANTLY about how important Vitamin D3 - especially in men - because it acts almost as a hormone. On top of this, I completed a Vitamin D3 project in business school at Georgetown University, working with a patented way to measure Vitamin D3 assays -- TMI -- but needless to say, Vitamin D3 is UBER important. When Samantha mentioned that her naturopath recommended D3 during pregnancy, I was quick to follow suit. I've been taking the Carlson brand ever since I started taking prenatals with Lincoln - so for a little over two years now. Even if you aren't pregnant, D3 is a quality vitamin to have in your diet for several reasons. Adding to this, when you are breastfeeding your baby, your pediatrician SHOULD recommend that you give your baby a D3 supplement - just as a side note. There has also been studies linking vitamin D3 deficiency to autism and other nasty diseases. Bottom line, take your vitamin D3!!!
Vitamin: Fish Oil
Type: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega
Frequency: 4x daily
Importance: Fish oil is really, really good for baby's brain development. I have done lots of research on this - and ironically do so after Lincoln was born. Following the Weston A. Price diet, the diet suggests giving your baby fish oil or maybe it's cod liver oil (specifically) I think around 5 months. I did more and more research and read some mixed things. Thus, if you are on the fence about this vitamin and feel better about not taking it - then stick with that. Through the research I did, I found that the DHA is extremely important for brain development if you aren't getting enough through your diet (in things like salmon, etc.). Also, side note, when in high school, my nutritionist had me take fish oil (this same brand) 6x daily (2 pills with each meal). I can say that fish oil makes me feel good. Again, if you aren't feeling this is something for you, then skip it!
Good luck mama and keep it healthy!!