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What is the BEST Prenatal for me?



My research for the right prenatal began a couple of years ago when my husband and I started talking about starting a family. Being a Doctor of Chiropractic and having 2 Bachelor Degrees focusing on Science, I have learned a lot about supplementation over the years. I also take supplements as do many of you, but I have to admit, I have never taken a Prenatal Vitamin before. While doing my own research, I realized how difficult it could be. I am here to help so it doesn't have to be so complicated for women to make good choices for themselves and the little humans they are creating.




So, where do we start?

There are so many supplements out there that if you are standing in your local health food store or pharmacy staring at the nutrition aisle, it can quickly become overwhelming. What does this prenatal have or not have that the other 10 to choose from have or don't have? It is my hope that this article will provide you with a simple platform for finding what you need when trying to conceive, during pregnancy, and post-partum. These are the biggest things to look for when purchasing a prenatal.



Folate: We have all heard the importance of Folic Acid and a developing fetus. But what is it? Folic Acid is a synthetic version of Folate. In 1998 the FDA started fortifying foods with this synthetic version of Folate due to the high volumes of babies being born with Neural Tube Defects such as Spina Bifida

(Spinal Cord Defect) or Anencephaly (Brain defect). Folate (B vitamin) is the highest in these foods: Spinach, liver, Asparagus, and Brussel Sprouts. The recommended dose of Folate is 600mcg with pregnancy and 500mcg with lactation/postpartum. For example, a half of a cup of Spinach has 131mcg of Folate. If possible look for an active form of Folate in your supplement. It will have 5-MTHF listed next to it in parenthesis. 5-MTHF does not require activation and is immediately available to mom and baby. Folic Acid has to go through different conversions within the body and can accumulate in the bloodstream. (If you would like more information on 5-MTHF check out my other article)


Choline: This mineral is undoubtedly less discussed than Folate, but just as important for the neurodevelopment of a Fetus. Choline and Folate share the same conversion pathway in the body, which may be why lack in both or either can cause NTD. It's unfortunate because a lot of Prenatals will not have Choline in them. This may make your search more difficult, but it is important. A female 19 or older needs 425mg/day, pregnancy needs 450 mg/day, and lactation needs 550mg/day. If you cannot find a prenatal that has Choline in it, these foods are good sources: beef, chicken, and pork (60mg/100g or 1 serving), Nuts, Legumes and vegetables (25mg/100g), and eggs (1 egg w/yolk 150mg).


Omega-3 Fatty Acid(DHA and EPA): This essential fatty acid is vital for pregnancy. Most women are not consuming seafood, especially while pregnant due to the high levels of Mercury and other contaminants. The FDA has limited the consumption of seafood to 2 servings per week for pregnant women, so most just avoid it. Our best source of this would be through supplementation. Another source is Flax Seed. Studies have found that Omega-3-Fatty acids consumed during pregnancy, have improved neurodevelopment for children. It also helps decrease preterm birth which is one of the leading causes of neonatal morbidity and mortality in the U.S(2). Omegas have also shown to be beneficial for women who suffer from depression during pregnancy and post-partum. Dietary Goals for pregnancy is 650mg/day.


Important to Note:

I want to also mention the ease of the supplement. If you are having to take horse pills while also dealing with morning sickness or other side effects of pregnancy your original choice may not work. That is okay. Every woman is different. You may have to try others. You can also supplement with an omega gummy like Nordic Naturals that may not affect any aversions. With Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal, you can break the capsule open and dump into juice to make it easier to ingest. When reading other ingredients that are listed, some women have trouble with Calcium Carbonate which can cause constipation and Magnesium Oxide that can cause Diarrhea.





Here is a quick overview of other important components to your Prenatal:


Iron: Needed for the development of the Placenta, increase maternal Red Blood Cell production, prevention of Anemia, and helps produce Hemoglobin that makes Oxygen to support the system


Vitamin A: Helps fetal skeletal development, Ocular integrity, and other fetal organ development.


Iodine: Helps with Fetal growth and Neurodevelopment. Before pregnancy it is recommended for 150ug, during pregnancy it is recommended 220ug, and 250ug during lactation


My GO-TOS


-Vitamin Code RAW Prenatal (doesn't contain Choline, but has a good organic veg and fruit blend) capsule can be opened and put into juice


-Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA (unflavored and strawberry soft gels). They also have gummy options


-Orthomolecular Prenatal Complete with DHA. Choline included (soft gels)


*Always talk to your Doctor if you have more specific questions


XOXO,

Dr. Ariel Blackburn

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