The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences with healing as well as my own transformations as I journey along my path. My journey has led me into a new stage, one that was at first unexpected but at the same time welcomed and cherished: motherhood. November 2014 we will welcome our lovely baby into this the world. Already we have bonded and made baby part of our lives … and already motherhood has been quite the journey. Pregnancy brings about a flood of emotions, physical changes, and spiritual growth. One week before I found out I was pregnant I wrote the blog, Journal & Burn. In that post I shared with you the last sentence of 3 of my sessions, one read:
“Have faith in the events of your life. It doesn’t matter if ‘everything happens for a reason,’ whatever does happen you have the love, the power, the knowledge and the faith to face it.”
My intuition had known that I was carrying not only my own energy and spirit, but the spirit of another long before my pregnancy test read positive. Its funny just how much truly listening to yourself can prepare you for what is to come.
As a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions swirled through my head and my heart I wanted to make sure the first thing I did was ensure my baby was getting the proper nutrients! In today’s post I want to share what supplements I have been taking from day 1 (well, aside from a few days when morning sickness got the better of me). If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you will know that while I believe that supplements have a very important place, I am more of a bare minimum kinda gal. So, with the help of my intern at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic, I chose 3 supplements I felt were integral. I had a lovely discussion with my intern about the fact that truly, as a woman, my body innately knew how to create and nourish life. Because I am in good health I knew my body already had all of the essential tools. Yes, supplements like folic acid are important, but our bodies have been designed to grow healthy and beautiful babies so we also must have faith in our own cellular knowledge. This really helped me on those days when I couldn’t stomach my supplements or could only eat very small amounts due to morning sickness. I had to remind myself that baby was ok and that my body was focusing all of its energies on baby – even if I wasn’t able to keep a perfect diet that day.
So, what supplements did I choose and why?
1. NFH Prenatal Multi-vitamin
A good prenatal multi-vitamin is something that the majority of women will include in their pregnancy health plan. I chose the NFH brand principally because it includes 1mg (1000 mcg) of folic acid, a good dose of B vitamins and 30 mg of iron glycinate. This form of iron has less gastrointestinal side effects and is also more bio-available.
Folic acid is important for the healthy development of the neural tube, this is extremely important in early pregnancy, especially the first 8 weeks. Often women trying to conceive will be advised to start a pre-natal multi, or at least to add a folic acid supplement to their regimen. B vitamins (especially B6) can help to increase energy and reduce pregnancy associated nausea.
I also like NFH because it comes in capsule form (easier to absorb than tablets) and has no harsh chemical fillers or binders.
2. NFH Probio Probiotic
Why did I choose a probiotic? Probiotics help to support the healthy microflora of the GI tract and some strains can also contribute to healthier vaginal flora. In fact a study done in 2000 demonstrated that women with more lactobacilli in their vaginal tract had increased rates of conception as well as a decreased rate of early pregnancy loss. (1) Another study found that women with vaginal lactobacilli were less likely to deliver pre-term (<33 weeks). (2)
Aside from the benefits of vaginal lactobaccili, probiotics encourage healthier elimination and digestions, both of which are useful for pregnancy (especially because progesterone spikes during pregnancy and contributes to constipation).
Lastly, several studies have shown that probiotics taken during pregnancy help to reduce the risk of atopic disease in the child. Atopic disease is used to describe several hypersensitivity reactions mainly allergic asthma and eczema.
A double blind, placebo controlled study conducted in April 2001, “gave Lactobacillus GG prenatally to mothers who had at least one first-degree relative (or partner) with atopic eczema, allergic rhinitis, or asthma, and postnatally for 6 months to their infants. Chronic recurring atopic eczema, which is the main sign of atopic disease in the first years of life, was the primary endpoint.” (3) At the end of the study children in the treatment group had HALF the occurrence of atopic disease as the placebo group. The authors of this study concluded that, “Lactobacillus GG was effective in prevention of early atopic disease in children at high risk. Thus, gut microflora might be a hitherto unexplored source of natural immunomodulators and probiotics, for prevention of atopic disease.” (3)
3. Ascenta Omega 3 Fish Oils
I chose to include fish oils in my supplement routine because while I do consume some wild fish in my diet I wanted to ensure adequate intake of DHA and EPA during my pregnancy without worrying about exposing my baby to heavy metal contamination. What is the deal with DHA/EPA you ask?
Many of you likely already know that omega 3 fatty acids (from fish oils) are excellent for the brain, reduction of inflammation etc. An impressive study performed in 2007 evaluated the effect of maternal seafood consumption (the primary source of omega 3’s) on childhood development. This study found that women who consumed greater amounts of seafood during pregnancy had children who showed superior IQ, prosocial behavior, fine motor skills, communication, and social development when compared to children whose mother’s intake was significantly lower. (4)
The EPA component of fish oil has been studied for its ability to enhance mood and as an adjunctive therapy for many behavioural/mood disorders in both children and adults. Because hormone changes can cause mixed emotions both during and after pregnancy (post-partum depression), I also felt that including fish oils in my pregnancy supplementation would have benefits for me as a momma as well.
Additionally, I plan to continue my supplementation postpartum as it can help to increase the quality of breast milk and ensure baby is getting all the best nutrients once outside of the womb!
I am approaching 19 weeks now, and excited to continue to share my experiences as I journey toward motherhood.
Reminder: this post is not meant to be construed as medical advice, but only as informational and based on personal experience and the experiences of others. You should never enter into any treatment protocol/supplementation without the advice of a licensed naturopathic doctor or other health care practitioner.