It feels like there’s a new piece of pregnancy advice every day. In a time of your life that’s already over-loaded with information it can be difficult to sift through every piece to work out what’s helpful and what’s not. Today saw the publication of yet more research stating that multivitamins marketed specifically towards pregnant women do not offer any additional benefits beyond a well-balanced and nutritious diet. So what should expectant mothers actually be taking and what should they avoid?
New Findings, New Rules
The Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin have published a food supplement report. It states that evidence has found that food supplements do not provide additional health benefits to expectant mothers. They also explained that pregnant women get all the nutrients they need by following a balanced diet.
These new findings refer to multivitamin products. Not Folic Acid or Vitamin D supplements, both of which are recommended in pregnancy. A 400 microgram daily dose of Folic Acid has been proven to prevent the development of neural tube defects. This includes spina bifida during the early stage of pregnancy. A 10 microgram daily dose of Vitamin D is recommended to ensure healthy bones for both mother and baby.
However, this research has been disputed by the industry-funded Health Supplement Information Service and the Health Food Manufacturers’ Association. They maintain the view that these studies don’t take into account modern diets.
So what should expectant parents be looking out for in terms of supplements? And what about diet and health advice? And where can they find more information?
Which Supplements to Use.
These multivitamins do no harm to expectant mothers and babies. The concerns raised by this research centre more on whether pregnant women were wasting their money on an unnecessary product.
One supplement that should be avoided during pregnancy is Vitamin A, or retinol. Although important for development and building up immune systems, too much Vitamin A can actually be harmful to unborn babies. If you are considering taking any multivitamins during pregnancy it’s very important you check whether they contain Vitamin A. It is also advisable to avoid liver and liver-based paté as it can contain higher levels of Vitamin A.
If you are planning to conceive then it’s advisable to take Folic Acid supplements. Even as soon as you start trying and continue until you are 12 weeks pregnant. You can even start your daily dose once you find out you are pregnant. Some women have a history of a neural tube defects (or if their partner does). These women are advised to take a higher dose of Folic Acid. If you are unsure, it’s important to consult your doctor on the matter.
Some expectant parents might also wonder whether why should take iron supplements. In most circumstances, mothers should be getting enough iron from their diets. In some cases allergy sufferers might need additional iron supplements. It’s important that you discuss this with your midwife or GP. Especially if you have any concerns. They can talk to you about the options available.
During pregnancy, the subjects of diet and supplements are inextricably linked. How do you know you’re getting enough of these vitamins and nutrients from your diet alone? In the early stages of pregnancy your midwife or GP will give you the information you need. You will be following a healthy, nutritious diet that suits your own circumstances. There are a number of points worth noting.
In regards to your Folic Acid intake, you can also boost levels by making sure you diet is full of folate-rich foods. This includes brown rice and leafy vegetables. There are also many processed foods such as breads and cereals that contain folate supplements.
Constipation can be a common problem in pregnancy. You need to provide yourself with essential vitamins and nutrients. Your 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day can also up your fibre intake to help with this issue. A balanced diet contains starchy foods (rice, pasta, potatoes), protein-rich foods (poultry, fish, pulses, nuts, meat) and dairy. It is also advisable to keep an eye on fat and sugar content. A spokesperson from the Royal College of Midwives has stressed that there is no need for women to ‘eat for two’. This myth is dated and as long as expectant mothers follow a balanced diet along with pregnancy health advice, an increased food intake is not necessary.
Voucher Codes for Diet and Supplement Essentials.
There are a number of online health merchants that can help you get a good price on any pregnancy supplements and health aids. Boots voucher codes are always a good source of savings from this well-respected retailer. It’s also possible to find deals from online specialists such as Chemist Direct and Pharmacy2U if you want a greater choice of products and brands.
There is a large amount pregnancy advice available. It goes without saying that you should always take into account your own specific health requirements before embarking on a new diet or course of supplements. For more information, the NHS site has comprehensive guides to many different aspects of pregnancy health along with supplement and dietary advice. You should always consult your GP or midwife if you have any concerns.
By Anna Scott, 12th July 2016