Dr. Alana Shaw

ND, Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Gynecology Naturopathic Doctor Vancouver, BC

Extra Supplements to Consider in Pregnancy

Because some women – in theory we hope that everyone is going to be eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, and lots of variety. But in reality, a lot of women aren’t feeling well in the very beginning of their pregnancy, when it’s really important that they’re getting good nutrition.

So usually I recommend a basic prenatal vitamin that has a good spectrum of vitamins and minerals in it, just in case there’s nausea or food aversions. People might not be eating as well as they hoped they could; it kind of acts as insurance to make sure that people aren’t missing essential nutrients.

Folic acid is the one that most women know about. Most women know they need some folic acid to prevent neural tube defects, and proper nervous system formation of the baby. But there are some other ones that are actually also as important.

Omega-3s are a great supplement that people take for many different things, and in pregnancy Omega-3s do have some research to show that they help to prevent some pregnancy complications.

So they are a good idea to include, usually as part of a supplement, because we are concerned about people overeating fish, that there may be some potential toxic exposures. So, a basic fish oil supplement is a good idea, making sure it’s coming usually from small fish, and from a reputable company as well.

You can use herbal medicines in pregnancy. A lot of people are really shy from using herbs, you know, just because it’s natural doesn’t it’s safe. And we don’t have a lot of good evidence about most herbs that we do use.

However, there are a few herbs that are very safe and have a very good safety record with them, ginger being one of the most common that women use early in pregnancy to control nausea. Echinacea is also another herb that has a very good safety profile that can help women to support their immune system.

And there are a number of other herbs that we use to help symptom control for things like insomnia, or heartburn, or any other symptom in pregnancy, but this is one thing that I’d really caution people from self-medicating.

And it’s really important that you talk to someone who has a good education around pregnancy and herbs, and can really help you to find out if this is going to be a safe option for you.

If you’re looking for more information about whether herbs and supplements might be helpful for you in your pregnancy, please talk to your local naturopathic doctor and see if they might be right for you.

Presenter: Dr. Alana Shaw, Naturopathic Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Naturopathic Doctor

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