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Prenatal vitamins are an important part of your daily pregnancy care.
Though you'll be getting plenty of nutrients through your nourishing snacks and meals, you can help round out what you are getting with vitamins and perhaps some supplements.
There are many, many different multi-vitamins to choose from. Early in pregnancy you may feel like the most important aspect of your prenatal vitamins is how small they are. Large vitamins may want to come back up as soon as you've swallowed them down.
Luckily there are many ways to take your vitamins. You can swallow them, or many can be crushed and eaten in cereal or a smoothie. Some women find that it is easier to take a children's multivitamin because they are smaller. Talk to your care provider if you think that this may help.
Ideally you should look for a vitamin that has been balanced especially to be a prenatal vitamin. There are many good natural brands that are hypoallergenic and fairly easy to swallow. Some you take two or three times a day and some are made only to be taken once a day (most prescription vitamins are like this).
You may prefer to get a prenatal vitamin taken several times daily because it allows you to spread your nutrient intake out more naturally. These vitamins often have higher levels of the nutrients that you need as well.
A good quality natural prenatal vitamin will also have other compounds helpful to you and your baby. Choose one that contains ginger to help ease nausea and a red raspberry leaf compound to help tone the uterus. I recommend a prenatal vitamin with superfood ingredients to give you energy and to possibly ease nausea and other pregnancy complaints.
Speaking of red raspberry leaf, red raspberry leaf tea is one of the best supplements you can add to your pregnancy diet. A cup or two a day, starting in the second trimester (many midwives recommend around 20 weeks, and many say it can be taken even earlier) helps to tone the uterus and prepare it for labor and birth.
There are other tonic herbs that can be used as supplements during pregnancy. Nettles and dandelion are two such herbs. These herbs help to cleanse and support the liver, which is working overtime during your pregnancy.
Nettles are rich in chlorophyll, which helps to keep iron levels strong during pregnancy. Nettles also nourish the kidneys and can help prevent hemorrhoids. Alternating your red raspberry leaf tea with nettle tea is a good way to enjoy both herbs.
Dandelion is specifically good for helping the body cleanse and remove waste products by supporting the liver. You can enjoy dandelion shoots steamed lightly as greens or as tender shoots in your salad. Dandelion is also rich in folic acid.
For more information on tonic herbs during pregnancy I suggest Susan Weed's authoritative Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. It is packed with practical information on dosage and tea preparation that you will find vital during your pregnancy.
Another supplement you may wish to consider is cod liver oil. This wonderful oil is rich in DHA and vital for aiding the body in absorbing fat-soluble nutrients. Read the Weston A. Price Foundation's information for pregnant and nursing mothers to learn more about why cod liver oil is vital during pregnancy and how much to take.
Some moms also enjoy adding sea greens into their dishes or smoothies during pregnancy because sea vegetables are rich in nutrients. These greens are good for blood building and keeping the digestive system moving.
Some doctors prescribe iron pills to pregnant women yet many, many pregnant women have trouble with them. They can cause stomach upset and constipation and the iron is poorly absorbed. A good diet and plenty of leafy greens will help ensure optimum iron levels. Consider developing a taste for liver (pate is very tasty) or finding a good plant-based liquid iron supplement if you find that your iron levels are very low.
The best strategy for health throughout pregnancy is a nutrient dense diet. But you can take prenatal vitamins and enjoy some supplements to help ensure good health. Good prenatal vitamins will help you make sure you're getting everything that your baby needs, and other supplements will further enrich your health and your baby's health.
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Pregnancy & Birth