The Smart Mama’s Guide to Supplements

Supplement Guide For Pregnancy, Fertility, and Breastfeeding

Dear Mama,

I felt little thrills of excitement run through my body as I stepped into the small health food store. I slowly walked up and down the aisles, looking carefully until I came to the vitamins. As I scanned the bottles a little grin crept onto my face. I was finally, finally shopping for prenatal vitamins. With a tiny, almost minuscule baby nestled deep within me, it was time.

It didn’t take more than a few seconds to find the vitamins… bottle, after bottle, after bottle. The grin faded a little, replaced by that slightly open-mouthed, overwhelmed expression. How was I supposed to figure out which one to take???

That was a decade-and-a-half ago, and I’ve got to admit, I think things have only gotten more overwhelming 😉 Perhaps you can relate…

Does the sheer number of “prenatal” vitamins boggle your mind? Every one of them claims to be the best – so how do you know which to trust?

Do you wonder if you should take the free prescription vitamins prescribed by your doctor, or one of the “superior” formulas from the health food stores or co-ops?

Is you mind spinning when you think about all the “extra” vitamins and minerals you can add into the basic prenatal? How do you know what to take… and how do you know what hurts?

And what about food – aren't we supposed to get nutrients from foods? Can supplements actually be harmful rather than helpful?

If you have any of (or all!) of these questions, you're not alone. I had the same questions when I was pregnant with Cassidy, my first baby. And, I'll be honest – I've asked these same questions with every pregnancy since then – especially since my pregnancies were all on average about 2 years apart, meaning I wanted to keep myself as healthy as possible with a lot of months of pregnancy and nursing.

I had fertility issues between my 3rd and 4th baby, which led me searching for which supplements would not only boost my health, but my fertility. And my milk supply dropped drastically (I'd actually say it totally tanked) when my 5th baby was around 9 months – leading me to search for the best breastfeeding supplements. Emotional ups and downs have led me to the best supplements to balance health, mood, and emotions over the years, too. In short, I’ve done a lot of searching for supplements!

I actually think that supplements are a personal decision – I don't think I can give you a list of “what to take, what to avoid” because there will be differences here and there, from mama to mama (or mama-hopeful to mama-hopeful). But a solid understanding of supplements helps you make the right choices for you and your unique needs.

As I was planning out this month’s classes, my husband Scott suggested I do a supplement class. At first I just gave him a funny look. A supplement class? Who would be interested in that?

Scott, however, happens to be in the (totally wonderful and amazing) position of helping handle support for my website and classes – so he sees almost all the questions that come in for me via email. He pointed out that I get question after question about supplements and super foods…

…and he was right – you were asking a lot of questions about supplements!

I realized you’re probably just as overwhelmed as I’ve often felt… but I have an advantage these days. I run a website on natural childbirth. I teach natural childbirth classes. Researching supplements is part of my job 😉 I can take the time to browse through the research on supplements (and even attend seminars and conferences). I can peruse the best evidence out there, and I can ask other student midwives and midwives for their thoughts, opinions, and experiences based on caring for lots of women in a holistic, natural-health focused environment.

It only makes sense for me to share that with you, because part of my mission is to make your life easier…

…and to help you give your baby the best start in life (while feeling great I might add!)

Thus The Smart Mama’s Guide to Supplements for Pregnancy, Fertility, and Breastfeeding was born! In this class you’ll discover:

  • Why you should supplement
  • How you can tweak your diet for maximum nutrients – and when supplements can give added benefits on top of a nourishing diet
  • Which “super foods” can stand in for artificial supplements
  • What's the real deal with folic acid, safety, and the MTHFR mutation?
  • Should you take a prenatal multi-vitamin?
  • The role probiotics play in a healthy pregnancy
  • Two nutrients you're almost guaranteed to be deficient in – and how to safely raise those levels
  • The truth about calcium (you might be surprised at what the research says!)
  • Which vitamins can give you a big emotional boost along with their health benefits
  • Without this essential nutrient, your vitamins are basically just expensive sugar pills!
  • What you need to know about cod liver oil (Safety, recommendations, and the recent brand scandals)
  • How you should handle iron during your pregnancy (plus why a drop in iron levels is a good thing)
  • Specific supplements you can take in pregnancy to keep your baby healthier after birth

We'll also discuss:

  • Birth preparation formulas – are they needed? Are they safe?
  • Should you drink pregnancy teas?
  • What supplements boost fertility safely?
  • This nutrient is clinically proven to help you ovulate – and lengthen your luteal phase
  • The fertility diet that boosts the power of your supplements
  • Traditional fertility herbs… Are they safe? Are they effective?
  • Supplements you can safely take to prepare for a new pregnancy – while breastfeeding your older child
  • What vitamins, minerals, and super-foods you need to build a great milk supply
  • How supplements can help you handle “the baby blues” (plus what to do if you think it’s more than the blues)
  • What you should avoid to keep your body (and baby) safe, healthy, and happy

We'll cover these critical periods in class:

  • Health & Hormone Balance (for fertility and beyond)
  • Pregnancy & Birth Preparation
  • Breastfeeding
  • Postpartum Health & Emotional Well-Being (for life!)

Like I said above, I believe that supplements, vitamins, and minerals should be chosen carefully for each mama and mama-to-be – but there are supplements that benefit most mamas. Understanding all the supplements takes the “mystery” out of walking down the health food store aisles (or browsing Amazon.com – yikes!)… so you can make the right choices for you and your little one.

I'll also give specific brand recommendations. You’re completely free to choose the brands that you trust most, but I know from experience that many women want to know brands that have worked well for other families. I’ve had years to test on my own family 😉 – and a lot of student feedback, so I can give you a great place to jump off from with your own research.

We’ll cover all of these topics in more in the class. You’ll have a solid understanding of your supplement choices for pregnancy, birth preparation, fertility, breastfeeding, and postpartum well-being – plus you’ll have brand recommendations, plans for personalization, and resources for further research.

My normal consultation rate is $150 an hour, but since I’m offering this as a group class, I won’t charge anywhere near that rate (and you’ll benefit from answers to everyone’s questions). I want as many mamas as possible to feel confident and informed about supplement decisions, so I’m offering this class for the low price of $27.

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Disclaimer: Remember, I’m not a medical professional. I’m a wife and mom who has done a lot of supplement shopping – and I’m a childbirth educator and student midwife who has done a lot of research. It’s important that you always do your own research and consultations which choosing supplements for health and well-being for yourself and your little ones.

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