It seems like I’ve been taking a lot of supplements for a very long time. And… I guess I have. When we first brought our midwives on board (when I was roughly 12 weeks along), they gave me a recommended supplement list. They warned me ahead of time that it may seem daunting. I’ve written previously about Missus Scooter’s aversion to things like this, but me…well, I am another story. Give me a routine to follow and I’m your girl. I looked at the list almost with giddiness! I like to follow the rules.
I dutifully went out and bought all the supplements, making a serious dent in my checking account and taking up serious real estate on my counter top. I decided to split up the supps into morning and evening doses because a) it was a lot of pills all at once and b) I thought they would be better assimilated that way.
At first it was no problem at all, but after awhile, the pills got to be a lot. I wasn’t fanatical about it, and if I forgot or was in a rush on any given morning, it was okay. But for the most part I really tried to stick with the regime. I distinctly remember thinking I was looking forward to the day my baby was born because then the days of crazy supps would be a thing of the past.
I think I am taking just about as many supps as I am now that I was then! I find myself saying “when breastfeeding is over…” but I know that many of the supps I’ve started to take are so good for me, why stop then? *Sigh…I guess I may be destined to have a counter full of vitamins. I’m now that person.
So which supps did I take then and which do I take now?
D U R I N G P R E G N A N C Y
- Prenatal Vitamins: I used New Chapter because they are made from whole foods (nothing synthetic) and never upset my stomach. Our midwives also recommend Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal, Simply One Prenatal by Super Nutrition, Nature’s Plus, Maxi, or Rainbow Lite brands for the same reason. Obviously choose a prenatal that contains folate/folic acid. Folic acid is essential during pregnancy to assist in the development of baby’s spine and skull, and reducing neural tube defects.
- Blue Green Algae: 2 tabs until 16 weeks then increase to 4 tabs per day. Blue Green Algae is recommended as a general nutritional supplement, as it is a rich source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. May not need to be taken if taking a high quality prenatal vitamin.
- Dandelion Leaf capsules: Take as many each day as you are months pregnant (i.e. 3 per day in month 3). Dandelion is good for reducing swelling (mild edema) and good for nourishing the liver.
- Fish Oil: 1000mg per day (Omega 3 fatty acids and DHA). DHA supports the development of baby’s brain, eyes, and central nervous system. Omega 3 maintains the balanced production of prostaglandins in mom (hormone-like substance). Prostaglandins can help regulate blood pressure, blood clotting, nerve transmission, kidneys, allergic responses, and gastrointestinal tract.
- Vitamin D3: 1000mg per day. Vitamin D can help reduce the risk of many pregnancy related complications including gestational diabetes. It is important for baby’s bone and hormone development and supports mom’s immune system.
- Calcium: 1500mg per day with magnesium (500-750mg). Calcium is important during pregnancy because it helps build strong bones and teeth for baby. It also helps baby build a strong heart and muscles. Calcium helps baby to developing a normal heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities. If mom doesn’t get enough calcium while pregnant, the baby will draw from mom’s bones. Magnesium assists in the absorption of the calcium.
- Probiotic: 2 per day in the morning. Probiotics aid digestion, boosts immunity and reduces risk of testing positive for Group B Strep.
- Cranberry capsules: 1 per day. Cranberry is an antioxidant and can reduce the likelihood of a bladder infection (common during pregnancy). Increase dosage to 1 every hour for 2 days if you start to get a cold or bladder infection symptoms.
- Mother’s Tea: 1 quart daily or 1 cup concentrated. I will admit I rarely got to this on a daily basis.
At 28 weeks, I started the following:
- Alfalfa tablets: 3g (6 capsules) per day. Alfalfa increases Vitamin K levels for you and baby, helps decrease jaundice in baby, helps blood to clot (for labor) and keeps women birthing close to their due dates.
- Iron: If you’re tired and/or iron is low, take a chewable iron (chewable for better digestion). Natures Plus chewable is recommended. 2-3 per day. Note: iron and calcium counteract each other, so if you’re taking iron, don’t take with calcium supplement or milk/dairy.
- Probiotic: increase to 6 per day.
At 35 weeks, I started the following:
- Evening primrose capsules: 1300mg per day. Evening primrose helps to soften the cervix and aides dilation.
At 38 weeks, I started the following:
- Caulophyllum: 30C 3 pellets 2 times per day. This is to assist with starting labor and assists with childbirth pain.
- Cimicifuga: 30C 3 pellets 2 times per day. This is to assist with starting labor, helps with bleeding and pain.
- Aconitum Napellus: 30C 3 pellets 2 times per day. This is to reduce anxiety related to childbirth.
P O S T - P R E G N A N C Y , W H I L E B R E A S T F E E D I N G
- Prenatal vitamin: (still using New Chapter prenatal) I take 2 capsules per day.
- Blue Green Algae: 2 tabs per day. Good for all the reasons above.
- Dandelion leaf capsules: 2 capsules per day. Promotes lactation and cleanses the liver.
- Fish Oil: 1000mg per day. Essential for good cardiovascular health. In infants, fish oils are important for brain and central nervous system development and vision. Omega 3’s have also demonstrated a role in preventing postpartum depression.
- Calcium: 750mg. For all of the reasons above, calcium is good for mom and baby.
- Probiotic: 2 per day. For all of the reasons above.
- Cranberry: 1 capsule per day. For all the reasons above.
- Alfalfa: 2 capsules per day. Highly nutritious and very rich in antioxidants; good for increasing milk supply.
- Fenugreek: This is a new addition after I started breastfeeding. Fenugreek has been used since biblical times to increase milk production. The herb contains phytoestrogens, which are plant chemicals similar to the hormone estrogen. When I felt a dip in my supply around 2 months, I took 4 pills every 4 hours but since things have regulated and I no longer fluctuate so much, I take 2 capsules each morning for “maintenance.”
- Hyland’s Bioplasma cell salts: This is a new addition after having Baby O if I feel a cold coming on. We actually started giving this to O 2 weeks before and after each vaccination as well as when she is sick. These cell salts work to support the cells and tissues in our bodies, relieving symptoms of colds, nervous system tension and headaches. Doses vary based on O’s age/weight. For adults, 4 bioplasma tabs 4 times per day.
- Uriel’s Thuja Thymus: Same as above. Homeopathic immune booster. Supports the body’s natural defense mechanisms and stimulates the endocrine glands. We give pre/post vaccines as well and when anyone in the house is getting sick. Doses vary based on O’s age/weight. For adults, 10 drops thuja 4 times per day.
- Uriel’s Cinnabar Dandelion: Homeopathic remedy. Taken at the first sign of a cold, it helps ward off symptoms. If you end up getting sick, it helps reduce severity. 10 tabs 4 times per day.
*Note: I am not a doctor/nutritionist/herbalist nor do I pretend to be one! If you are interested in trying any of these supplements, I recommend you do your own research and talk with your doctor. Taking supplements is a personal choice but to be sure you’re being safe, you should be well educated on the herbs.
In the end, I may joke about being annoyed with all the supps, but really I’m not. I feel really good most days and I think the vitamins have something to do with it. I like the idea of giving my body extra things that I may not get from a whole, complete diet. So for now, I will continue with my crazy supplement system.
Do you use supplements? How did they change through your various stages (TTC, breastfeeding, post breastfeeding, etc)?