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good prenatal supplement

A good prenatal Supplement: what to look for…

Pregnancy comes with its challenge and diet can be affected in a sense that morning sickness, cravings and aversions can affect nutritional intake. Eating a well-balanced diet in pregnancy is important for both Mum and baby but as a Nutritionist I always recommend a good prenatal supplement alongside. They can help fill any nutrient gaps and support optimal development for the growing baby. During pregnancy, the body requires more of certain nutrients such as folic acid and iron. Ideally, you will start taking a good prenatal supplement 3 months prior to conceiving however if the pregnancy is unplanned, start taking one as soon as you find out you are carrying.

What should a good prenatal supplement contain?

Here are some things you need to look out for when deciding which prenatal is best for you:

The 3 listed below are essential for a good prenatal vitamin.

Folic acid

This is the most talked about and helps to prevent neural tube defects. These defects are detrimental to the foetal brain and spinal cord.


This supports the development of the placenta and the foetus. Its involved in helping make blood to supply oxygen to your growing baby and helps prevent anaemia. Low iron levels are common in pregnancy so it is wise to choose a supplement that includes it.

Vitamin D

We ideally should all be supplementing vitamin D in the UK regardless of whether or not we are pregnant. In addition to aiding calcium absorption, it helps support the immune system and has recently been linked to supporting brain function.

These are other nutrients that should be considered when taking a prenatal supplement:

Calcium: This helps promote strong bones and teeth for both Mum and baby.

Vitamin B12: Helps support red blood cell production and nerve function.

Vitamin C: Aids iron absorption and supports wound healing.

Zinc: Supports cell growth and immune function .

Magnesium: supports bone health, muscle and nerve function.

Choline: This is less spoken about and doesn’t appear in many prenatal vitamins but it support brain development and may reduce the risk of birth defects.

Iodine: Supports thyroid function and baby’s brain development.

Omega 3: Omega 3 fatty acids have been associated with a number of health benefits and support the development of baby’s brain. If you are not actively consuming omega 3 rich foods such as oily fish when pregnant at least once a week, a supplement is a good idea.

You may find it challenging to ensure that a good prenatal vitamin covers all these things. It is also rare that a pregnancy supplement will include omega 3 so you may need to take that separately. In my second pregnancy, I found Ritual which has a comprehensive nutrient profile including omega 3! I am not affiliated with this brand but wanted to share as I have found it has really supported me and my second baby through my pregnancy.

For more information on nutrition and looking after yourself as best you can in pregnancy, see my ‘Fuel your Pregnancy’ ebook or for more info around family nutrition, please contact me.