By: Sophie Meurs
Dietician • Orthomolecular Advisor • Bowel therapist, owner Nourish to Flourish (www.nourishtoflourish.nl)
Pregnancy is a special period for many expectant mothers. You want the best for the development of the baby, but you also want to feel comfortable in your own skin.
Voeding speelt daarbij een belangrijke rol.
Being pregnant does not only mean making the right vitamins and minerals available to the mother, but also (especially) for the baby. The unborn baby always has priority for the necessary nutrients and that can cause deficiencies in the mother, which in turn leads to complications. You want nothing more than to get through the pregnancy healthy and safe, for both mother and child. In this blog I want to give you an insight into important focus points during pregnancy.
The nutrition that the mother ingests during pregnancy is the main source for the production of new organs and the growth of the baby. In addition, the right nutrition and supplementation can help to prevent annoying pregnancy ailments.
But how can you eat optimally to avoid these risks? Food for two? No, you really don’t have to! Certainly not for the baby, because he grows well on a normal, healthy diet. On average, you gain about ten to fifteen kilos during pregnancy. If you eat more than necessary, you will gain extra weight. This makes it more difficult to put on weight after delivery, but the baby can also become too heavy. The baby eats as it were from the amniotic fluid. Fun fact, that’s where the development of taste and smell starts in the baby!
Choosing a healthy and varied diet is always a good idea, but twice as important during pregnancy. Within your options, choose as much fresh and unprocessed food as possible, as little sugar and ‘unhealthy fats’ as possible. Fruit and vegetables as the basis of your diet are a good starting point, supplemented with (organic) fish, meat, nuts and eggs. Carbohydrates are certainly very important during pregnancy, but in addition to whole wheat / sourdough bread, consider sweet potato, quinoa, brown rice. This way you eat less gluten, and that certainly can’t hurt. More about that in another blog. Now back to the pregnancy!
Sometimes it is not always possible to choose healthy food. Nausea is one of the reasons that many women (about 80% of pregnant women) have trouble getting the right nutrients during pregnancy. Nausea during pregnancy is caused by the HCG hormone. This hormone is produced from the earliest stages of pregnancy and affects digestion. These hormones are mainly released during the first 3 to 4 months of pregnancy, which is the period at risk for morning sickness. Symptoms of this are that women often feel less inclined to eat and often vomit. If some food is tolerated during the day there is no risk of danger to the baby (and the mother), but if no fluid or food is kept inside there is a risk of dehydration and a shortage of nutrients, which in turn are essential are involved in the development of the child.
Do you recognize yourself in these symptoms, what can you do about it? If you often wake up feeling nauseous in the morning, lie still. Try eating a dry rice cake or cracker before getting up and eating other things; a light breakfast is often better, so that nausea does not occur or occurs less.
In addition, try to spread the eating moments throughout the day. Little bits at a time, so that the stomach is not empty, but also does not get upset too quickly. This is different from what I would normally advise for optimizing digestion, then you want fewer eating moments to offer rest to the digestion. So consider what feels right for you. Easily digestible food also works for many women such as: quinoa, vegetables, fruit and bone broth/miso soup/broth.
It is also best to at least avoid fatty, highly seasoned, heavy on the stomach (cabbage varieties, for example) or fried foods. These foods make your stomach work harder to digest, which puts you at risk of nausea. Drink small amounts regularly. By drinking a lot in one go, it ensures that you are full and no longer feel like eating. Also preferably do not drink with your meal but between meals, so as not to complicate digestion and not to get in the way of appetite.
Supplementation during pregnancy During pregnancy, the need for nutrients is increased. Deficiencies in essential nutrients during pregnancy and breast-feeding can have adverse effects on both mother and child. Supplementation is aimed at supplementing the deficiencies in the diet.
B-VITAMINS Vitamin B6 has a beneficial effect on the symptoms of nausea. But, just like B11 and B12, it is also important to lower any homocysteine levels. Too high a homocysteine level is associated with an increased risk of, for example, cardiovascular disease, but also with fertility problems and miscarriages. The vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid (B11) are therefore necessary to convert homocysteine into other essential substances in order to lower its content. We all know the B11 (folic acid) as the true pregnancy vitamin to prevent neural tube defects, such as an open back, etc.
B11 comes in two forms: folic acid, the synthetic variant, and folate, the natural variant. Folate, as in the SUPS Mom to Be, is better absorbed by the body.
B12 is important for DNA synthesis and thus also responsible for the prevention of neural tube defects. Without a good B12 status, B11 cannot be sufficiently converted in the body. It is therefore important to keep a close eye on the B12 status during pregnancy. Preferably choose a methyl and adenosylcobalamin. (SUPS contains methylcobalamin)
IRON Anemia during pregnancy could be caused by a B12 or B11 deficiency, but it can also be caused by an iron deficiency. When you are pregnant there is a greater need for iron, this is because the placenta needs more and more blood and oxygen. During pregnancy, about 30-40% more blood has to be produced and this doubles the need for iron! In addition, Vitamins C, B11 and B12 in turn ensure the absorption of iron.
MAGNESIUM Both during pregnancy and during breastfeeding, women have an increased need for magnesium. Several studies have shown that women suffer less from muscle cramps when they take extra magnesium. In addition, magnesium increases the energy level. Make sure that you use organic forms of magnesium and not inorganic forms, such as magnesium oxide. The latter form is not well absorbed by the body and can even have a laxative effect.
[SUPS does not offer magnesium yet (is being worked on) but a very nice one is from bonusan (ed.)]
CHOLINE The need for choline is increased in a pregnant woman. Choline is rich in animal fats (for example in egg yolk). When vegetarian or low-fat is eaten, a choline deficiency can quickly arise. SUPS also offers choline in the Mom to Be.
A very nice and vegan form of vitamin D is in the SUPS Mom to Be. From July 2021 in high doses, as recommended by midwives.
[SUPS does not yet offer Omega 3, that is certainly on the schedule, even a vegan variant (ed.)]
PROBIOTICS Finally, it is important to take a good probiotic, at least from the last 3 months of pregnancy. A good probiotic can ensure that the baby takes over the good intestinal flora from the mother during childbirth. This is related to a lower risk of atopic eczema in the child and a better intestinal flora of the child. Vitakruid’s probiotics, the Symflora Basis, is a very suitable supplement, since it has a combination of pre- and probiotics (prebiotics is the food for the probiotics) and offers a great diversity of bacterial strains.
Do you now think: “..that’s a lot of pills I have to take!”. Perhaps it is a bit more than you are used to, in any case it provides a great basis for your intake.
Here’s a rundown:
In the morning SUPS Mom to Be multi SUPS Balance (vegan) Visolie
In the evening: SUPS Revive Magnesium Probiotics
Note from sups: *these 3 SUPS are easily available in a bundle. In this way you support your current diet and it gives you the necessary energy to get through the pregnancy fit.
Do you want more personal advice, and know whether your current vitamins and minerals are in order? And/or do you want nutritional advice for your specific situation?
Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for an intake!
You can come to my practice for blood tests for vitamins, minerals and/or omega-3 status and personal consultations.
Disclaimer: this is a selection of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are important for a healthy pregnancy, the individual needs are not discussed here. I always recommend calling in a professional for tailor-made advice! And if you have specific complaints, you should always consult a doctor.