Biotin is a water soluble vitamin B, and as a result, your body does not store it. This nutrient is crucial for many enzymes in both mother and baby to function well. It is especially important in helping to metabolize fats, carbohydrates, and proteins and essential in normal embryonic growth. There is also evidence that suggests it can strengthen hair and nails.
Copper is a trace mineral that is essential in many enzymes and proteins necessary for iron use in the body. This is an important mineral for the proper development of connective tissue and red blood cells in both mother and baby. The daily recommended amount of copper during pregnancy is 1000 mcg/day.
Calcium is essential for the baby to grow strong bones and teeth. It is also very important for proper development of the heart, nerves, and muscles.
Chromium is a mineral that is essential in helping your body to metabolize fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It works with insulin to help maintain normal blood sugar levels. Chromium is also essential in helping your baby build up their muscles and tissues.
Chromium has been shown to help people with diabetes to better control of their blood sugar levels. It has also been used by pregnant women who have gestational diabetes to help better control their blood sugar levels.
Choline is similar to vitamin B and is important in metabolism, cellular structure integrity, and neurotransmitter synthesis.
It is important in foetal brain development as it has a key role in stem cell proliferation. There is evidence that suggests choline deficiency can increase the risk of neural tube defects. Since the neural tube develops in the first few weeks of pregnancy, it is important to take choline even before you know you are pregnant to ensure you have adequate stores in your body.
Folate is a part of the vitamin B family, also known as vitamin B9.
This is a very important nutrient for healthy fetal development. Folic acid is essential for the proper development of the baby’s spine, brain, and skull especially during the first four weeks of your pregnancy. Taking 400 to 600 mcg of folic acid has been shown to reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Since the neural tube develops in the first few weeks of pregnancy, it is important to take folic acid even before you know you are pregnant to ensure you have adequate stores in your body. Demand for folic acid will increase significantly during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but many women do not get enough from diet alone. That’s why it is important for women to take a prenatal supplement.
Inositol is part of the vitamin B complex. It is important in maintaining cell membrane integrity, intracellular signalling, neurotransmitter functions, and fat metabolism. It is important for the cells of bone marrow, eye tissues, and intestines.
Studies show that women who take inositol and have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a leading cause of infertility, can promote ovulation and improved egg quality. New research also shows that inositol can help improve egg quality in women who do not have PCOS.
It can be produced in the body, but is found in many plants we eat. However, many of the plant sources are in a form that humans cannot absorb. High sources of inositol that humans can absorb include fruits, beans, grains, and nuts.
Iodine is required by your body to produce thyroid hormones. Without sufficient iodine, not enough thyroid hormones are produced, resulting in a condition known as hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism during pregnancy can increase risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes such as, premature birth, preeclampsia, and fetal death. Thyroid hormones are also essential in the early brain development of the fetus. Iodine deficiency is the world’s leading cause of preventable mental retardation. Many women may not be getting all the required iodine they need due to less intake of iodised salt, the main source for many adults. Pregnant and breastfeeding women in particular need more iodine as the baby is totally dependent on the mother’s supply.
During pregnancy there is an increased production of red blood cells to help support the baby’s growth. Since iron is an important component of red blood cells, the mother requires more iron during pregnancy especially during the second and third trimester. Iron deficiency can result in anemia in both mother and baby.
However, excess iron intake can cause side effects like constipation, nausea, metallic taste, and diarrhea. Constipation can especially be difficult to deal with as pregnancy already increases your risk of being constipated. Constipation is also a problem after childbirth as many mothers are still healing and maybe on painkillers that can aggravate constipation.
Iron in multivitamin has been linked to morning sickness, especially at higher doses. Unlike other prenatal multivitamin, Prenatal Ease contains just enough iron for a healthy pregnancy during the first trimester, but not high enough to aggravate morning sickness. Once the first trimester is over and when the risk of morning sickness has decreased, then the iron levels in Prenatal Ease Stage 2 and 3 increases. Once you have given birth, your iron requirements are significantly less which is why Prenatal Ease Nursing contains less iron.
Magnesium is an important mineral that is used by the body in many important biological functions. There is some evidence that magnesium supplementation can prevent pre-eclampsia, which is a dangerous medical complication that can occur during pregnancy. It can also help prevent leg cramps that may occur during pregnancy.
Selenium is considered a trace mineral and is essential in many proteins and enzymes to function properly. Selenium acts as a defence against toxic free radicals because it is a good antioxidant.
There is also evidence that links pregnant women with lower levels of selenium are at a higher risk of pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia. The recommended daily intake for selenium during pregnancy is 60 mcg/day.
Zinc is especially important during preconception. It is vital in supporting ovulation and fertility. Studies in animal models show that zinc deficiency leads to poor egg cell quality and disrupts embryonic development.
Other functions of zinc include maintaining proper cellular division, DNA and protein synthesis. This is why mothers will need more when they are pregnant or nursing. Zinc is also important for your immune system to function efficiently. Having sufficient zinc will help to ensure your immune system is working properly.
Zinc deficiency during pregnancy has been associated with increase risk of developmental abnormalities and fetal death, delivery complications, congenital malformations. However, excessive zinc also has problems such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches.
This is also known as vitamin B3. It helps with the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It is also necessary for normal growth and development of the fetus.
This is also known as Pantothenic acid. It is essential in the creation of hormones and cholesterols which are important in the proper development of the fetus.
This is another water soluble vitamin B, known as vitamin B2. This vitamin is important for the proper development of bones, muscles, and nerves in the fetus. It is also important in helping the mother to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins. There is also some evidence that women who where deficient in riboflavin had an increase risk of preeclampsia. The daily recommended limit during pregnancy is 1400 mcg/day.
Thiamine is another water soluble vitamin B known as vitamin B1. Thiamine helps you to metabolise fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It is also necessary for brain development of the fetus. Daily recommended limit for pregnant women is 1400 mcg/day.
Vitamin B12 is essential in the creation of red blood cells, DNA synthesis, and proper neurological function. Deficiency of vitamin B12 has been associated with problems during pregnancy such as preterm birth, increased risk of miscarriages, and intrauterine growth retardation. Vitamin B12 deficiency in infants can result in permanent neurological problems.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
This vitamin is useful for proper protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism. In addition, it is also important for the baby’s brain and nervous system development as well as red blood cell production. It is also beneficial in minimizing nausea in pregnancy.
Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin. It is essential in blood clot formation. Without this vitamin, uncontrolled bleeding can occur. It is also important in bone metabolism and various cellular functions.
When babies are first born, they have low levels of vitamin K and are at risk of getting a rare disorder called “vitamin K deficiency bleeding” (VKDB). This is when the baby does not have enough vitamin K to stop bleeding. To prevent this from happening, babies are typically given a vitamin K injection once they are born. In addition to this injection, babies will obtain all their vitamin K needs from breast milk. Although, the amount of vitamin K in breast milk is low, studies have shown that maternal supplementation is still an important source of vitamin K for breast fed babies.
Vitamin C is a well known antioxidant that is very good at blocking damage caused by oxidative stress. It also helps to promote a healthy immune system, and is important in collagen synthesis. Collagen is critical for the baby’s developing tendons, cartilage, bones, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also helps to improve iron absorption.
There is also evidence that suggest that vitamin C deficiency by the mother can increase the risk of pregnancy problems such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
This vitamin can be made naturally in your body with exposure to sunlight. However, there is evidence that during pregnancy, there is a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency due to increase demand by the baby.
This vitamin is essential for the proper absorption of calcium. There is also evidence that vitamin D deficiency has resulted in abnormal brain structure and development. Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy can also result in poor infant skeletal growth and increased risk of rickets in the infant.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress during pregnancy and can help to protect the fetus from oxidative damage. It also helps to maintain healthy skin, nerves, heart and circulation, muscles and red blood cells.
Beta-carotene (source of Vitamin A)
Vitamin A refers to a family of fat soluble compounds. There are two main types of vitamin A: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A.
Preformed vitamin A or retinol is the active form of vitamin A. It comes mainly from animal sources such as liver, milk and eggs. Since liver contains so much vitamin A, it is advisable to avoid eating liver or liver related products during pregnancy because you can overdose on vitamin A.
Provitamin A is taken up by your body and then converted to retinol. There are many types of provitamin A, but the most efficiently converted provitamin A is known as beta-carotene. Provitamin A is found mainly in colourful fruits and vegetables such as carrots, spinach, and kale. Since the body converts beta-carotene to retinol, it can also stop the production of retinol if there is too much in the body.
Vitamin A is essential for the proper development of the baby’s eyes, heart, ears, limbs, bones, skin, and immune system. Deficiency of vitamin A during pregnancy can hinder the development of the baby’s immune system. However, excess amounts of vitamin A can also be bad for the baby’s health and can lead to birth defects. Therefore, it is important that you do not exceed the daily recommend amount. One of the benefits of taking beta-carotene instead of retinol is the difficulty of overdosing, because your body will only create vitamin A if you need it. Beta-carotene has all the benefits of vitamin A, but without the risk of overdosing.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale, Rhizome)
This is a very versatile plant that has been safely used by many traditional medicine practitioners for thousands of years. It has been traditionally used to treat conditions such as motion sickness, gas, diarrhea, and upset stomach. Modern uses of ginger have focused more on its antiemetic effects.
Ginger has been used to help treat motion sickness, nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy or pregnancy. Randomized controlled clinical trials have showed that ginger is effective at minimizing morning sickness with minimal side effects. In one study, ginger was just as effective as the prescription drug, dimenhydrinate. Not only was it effective, but ginger also had significantly less side effects. For the abstract of this study, please click here.
Red Raspberry Leaf
This is the leaf from the raspberry fruit plant. It has been used in traditional herbal medicines for centuries to help prepare mothers for childbirth by strengthening the uterus and reducing labour pain and duration. It commonly taken in the last trimester as some sources suggests that if it is taken in the 1st or 2nd trimesters, it can cause early contractions leading to a miscarriage.
The leaf is high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and vitamin B and C.
Borage is an annual herb that was originally from the Mediterranean. The plant is now grown in many parts of the world. The flowers and the plant part are commonly eaten in salads or as a garnish. The seeds can be used to extract oil which has many health benefits for the skin.
The seed oil has one of the most gamma linolenic acid (GLA) naturally found in any plant species. GLA is an essential fatty acid that our bodies can not produce naturally our skin needs. GLA has an anti-inflammatory effect on our skin which is important in quickly repairing skin damage and alleviating itchy dry skin and improving skin suppleness. Studies have shown that when the skin is deficient of essential fatty acids like GLA it can result in dry and scaly skin.
Another important component of the seed oil is the high levels of ferulic acid, a polyphenolic compound. It is a very powerful antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals to prevent skin aging, reduce age spots and sun damage.
Calendula is an annual herb from the daisy family. It has been extensively used for medicinal and culinary purposes throughout history. In traditional medicine it has been used to treat upset stomach, relieve menstrual cramps, and minor skin ailments.
Calendula is high in flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin E, which are all antioxidants. These compounds will help protect cells from being damaged by free radicals. Calendula is also a great anti-inflammatory, partly due to the high amounts of conjugated linolenic acid. Studies have shown that Calendula can help repair photo-damaged skin, keep skin hydrated and moisturized and shorten wound healing time.
Rosehip comes from the fruit of the rose. It is commonly used in teas, jams, soups, and other food items. The oil is extracted from the seeds of the rose and it has many benefits for skin. It has been traditionally used to help heal wounds and reduce scaring.
Rosehip oil is high in vitamin C and beta-carotene both of which are powerful anti-oxidants to help rid of free radicals. Rosehip is also rich in tretinoin, a form of vitamin A. Studies have shown that tretinoin can help prevent photo-aging, slow skin aging and reduce appearance of stretchmarks by increasing production of collagen.
Apricot Kernel Oil
Apricot Kernel oil is obtained from the seeds of the apricot fruit. It has been used as a cooking oil and also in traditional Chinese medicine for treating ulcers and tumors.
Apricot kernel oil is high in oleic acid which gives the oil the softening, moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties. Apricot kernel oil is also high in B-sitosterol, a phytosterol, which works to helps to alleviate itchiness, redness, and dry skin.
Shea Butter is obtained from the nut of the African Shea tree. It is heavily used in cosmetics because of the great moisturizing and hydrating properties. This is partly due to the fatty acid profile of Shea butter. It has lots of oleic acid, which is known to offer moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, and softening properties.
Shea butter is also rich in cinnamic acid esters, a phytosterol, which has many beneficial effects on your skin. It can help protect your skin from UV damage, reduce redness, anti-inflammatory and reduce irritation.
Cocoa butter is obtained from cocoa beans. Cocoa butter is used in many different cosmetics mainly to the many beneficial compounds. It contains lots of natural antioxidants, fatty acids, polyphenols, and phytosterols.
Some of the fatty acids in Cocoa butter include palmitic, stearic, and oleic acid. Some of these fatty acids help hydrate our skin by forming a protective barrier. These fatty acids also help to improve the flexibility of our skin and have anti-inflammatory properties