While eating a balanced diet in normal circumstances should give you an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals, most women need a little extra help during pregnancy. The term “eating for two” applies as much (if not more) to the quality of food you eat as an expecting mother as it does to getting the sufficient quantity.
“You’re carrying another person in pregnancy, so naturally your body is under stress,” says Clicks Pharmacist Arthur Mawaya. He recommends a few “mainstay supplements” that should be taken during pregnancy.
“The most vital supplement is folic acid, which is essential for healthy foetal development – particularly the development of the spine – and should be taken from the time that the zygote is forming until the baby is born,” says Mawaya.
Calcium and iron
Calcium and iron should be monitored throughout pregnancy, and supplemented if necessary, he adds – the baby draws these minerals directly from the mother’s blood, so it’s easy for an imbalance to occur.
Vitamin D is essential for the development of strong bones and teeth, as well as for regulating your calcium and phosphate levels.
It’s also beneficial to add omega oils to your supplement plan, particularly in the third trimester, says Mawaya. These help to balance the mental health of the mother, as well as lower the risk of premature delivery and pre-eclampsia, and are essential for the early visual development and neurological development of the baby.
All of the above supplements can be bought individually at Clicks, but if you’re looking for a good all-round supplement, try the Clicks’ Pregnancy Supplement, which has the recommended doses of all the essentials, or Vitabiotics Pregnacare plus Omega-3 (two-in-one pack).
Steer clear of vitamin A (retinol) during pregnancy, as high doses of this vitamin can be dangerous for the foetus. Likewise, taking mega-doses of any vitamin (or a multivitamin) can be damaging for both the mother and the unborn child, and should be avoided at all times – not only during pregnancy.
It would be wise to talk to your doctor or local Clicks Pharmacist before starting any supplementation plan, and about the correct dosages required per day. Also be sure to tell him or her if you are vegan or on any other special diet, as this may affect the advice they give you.
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