Pregnancy is a unique time for your body, which must evolve to meet the needs of your baby. Growing a person is a demanding task, one that requires high quantities of essential nutrients to ensure the health of both mother and baby is optimally supported.
During pregnancy, the body will naturally prioritise the health of your wee one, meaning that mothers often end up nutrient depleted and exhausted!
To ensure your pregnancy gets off to the best start, we recommend our clinic clients begin nourishing their body with nutrients at least 3 months before conceiving (ideally long before ‘trying’.. But we know that’s not the case for everyone, which is okay!). This includes adding in extra folate and iodine to your health routine, both of which are essential for healthy brain development. Let’s explore:
Folate (Vitamin B9)
Folate is an under-cover nutrient that is incredibly important for DNA repair.
Healthy DNA is an important factor in the production of a healthy egg. Generally, DNA damage happens naturally, and our body does an amazing job of keeping up with the repair. However, the damage can sometimes get away on us. Folate or Vitamin B9 helps our body keep up, nourishing our DNA for optimal repair – which is obviously a huge part of a healthy pregnancy!
DNA is responsible for triggering the 80 genes science has so far identified… as well as being essential for neurotransmitters, clearance of hormones, histamines and inflammation. In addition, research shows that folate or vitamin B9 can be utilised to prevent neural tube defects – we need folate to ensure that there is healthy brain development in the baby. You can see why it’s something to take seriously!
As with any nutrients, it’s worth paying attention to the form in which you consume folate. Some forms of folate will have more impact than others – we recommend taking folate in a methylated form.
Throughout pregnancy, women’s natural iodine demands increase – so topping up during preconception and pregnancy is a must! Iodine deficiency is common in New Zealand, so we’d recommend eating foods rich in iodine or supplementing to ensure your levels are optimal. In addition, Iodine also positively impacts babies brain development – so it’s worth ensuring that there is enough in your body to go around!
While folate and iodine are two well-known nutrients for supporting pregnancy, it’s important to remember that nutrients work best synergistically – meaning that they work best together.
Here’s a list of nutrients that you should also be considering when you’re preparing for your pregnancy journey:
B6 and Zinc
B6 and Zinc are cofactors, meaning that they work closely together. When one is low, the other is often low, so it helps to ensure both remain in ample supply. Studies have indicated that low levels of vitamin B6 have been linked to increased severity of morning sickness, which – as most women will agree – can be a daunting prospect for pregnancy.
B6 and Zinc will also support healthy progesterone levels. Progesterone is crucial as it helps make the womb a safe and supportive home for the baby – helping to hold the uterine lining in place for a fertilised egg to implant.
Vitamin K2 controls our ability to lay down bone tissue. Low levels of vitamin K2 can lead to issues for your baby down the track, as it may result in a smaller jaw, leading to crowded teeth and sinus issues. Investing in some additional vit K2 preconception is much cheaper than orthodontic work twelve years down the track!
For many people, naturally sourcing Vitamin K2 can be a difficult task, as fat soluble vitamins like K2 are increasingly hard to come by. Liver is a good source, but an easy alternative is BePure Mum's One.
Fatty acids such as EPA and DHA are incredibly helpful for nurturing both baby and mum throughout pregnancy. DHA particularly is essential for ensuring optimal foetal brain, eye, immune and nervous system development.
Taking omega-3 fatty acids during pre-conception is great, but remember that keeping levels sufficient during the entire pregnancy will have potentially huge impact. DHA levels will naturally decrease for the mother throughout pregnancy, a result of the body’s selective transfer to the foetus. The good news is, it’s easy to adjust intake to ensure that everyone is getting the essential fatty acids they need!
While technically not a nutrient, a healthy microbiome is crucial for a healthy pregnancy, so we couldn’t not mention probiotics!
Babies are born with a mostly sterile gut, and they culture their beneficial gut bacteria from what they receive from their mother when passing through the birth canal and from nursing in the months afterward. A high quality probiotic will help ensure that your baby receives a good dose of beneficial bacteria, giving them an optimal start in life.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when planning a nutrient rich pregnancy! The body is incredibly complex, and it’s important to remember that nothing works in isolation – by enhancing your nutrient intake across the board, you’ll find that each individual nutrient will have a more powerful impact.
So, what next?
To ensure your nutrient levels are topped up before and during pregnancy, BePure Mum's One is your baseline supplement – a high-quality, high-strength multivitamin that contains 30 essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support your body and baby when preparing for pregnancy, during pregnancy and keeping you nourished post pregnancy whilst breastfeeding.
For optimal support for you and bubs, we've combined Mum's One, BePure Two Probiotic and BePure Three Fish Oil into our Pregnancy & Motherhood Pack. It provides essential nutrients, probiotics and omega-3 fats to support all stages of a healthy pregnancy.
The Ministry of Health recommends 800µg of folate during pregnancy. Mum’s One contains a total of 300µg of Folate. To check whether Folate Restore (which contains 500µg of Folate) is right for you alongside Mum's One, please check with your health professional first.