Prenatal Vitamins Don't Cut it in the Third Trimester

HealFast: Critical Supplements to Promote Optimized Recovery & Better Healing During Childbirth!

Fun Fact: Did you know that a woman's entire blood volume increases by about 50% during pregnancy and that her heart can pump the entire blood volume through the uterine arteries every 7 minutes!?

Mother Pregnant, nutrition is key

The metabolic demands of pregnancy continue to increase throughout the entire pregnancy and extend into the postpartum period as a result of breastfeeding and the mother's healing process. It's no wonder that nutrition, eating habits, and supplements are of paramount importance.

Women are encouraged to eat sensibly and may increase their caloric intake by about 200-300 kcal per day. These calories should come from healthy sources like vegetables, fruits, grains, and lean protein.

Healthy foods for pregnant mom nutritional intake

200-300 calories per day is not really all that much! After all, a portion of mashed potatoes, a bowl of cereal, or a candy bar packs about the same amount of calories; but we know that candy bars and the like, have no useful nutrients and place a high sugar load on your system leading to rebound hunger and fatigue.

Most of this increased caloric intake is needed to feed the baby and maintain the energy requirements of pregnancy.

Nutritional Insufficiency and Potential Deficiency

In the first trimester, nausea and vomiting can cause the loss of both calories and micronutrients at an accelerated rate which makes catching up in subsequent trimesters difficult. This is why essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids get used up rather quickly in pregnancy. [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]

Added to those demands, the immune system gets weaker during pregnancy as well and often times, the following conditions become present during the third trimester:

[if !supportLists]· [endif]Constipation

[if !supportLists]· [endif]Anemia

[if !supportLists]· [endif]Heartburn

[if !supportLists]· [endif]Insomnia

[if !supportLists]· [endif]Frequent urination

[if !supportLists]· [endif]Fatigue

[if !supportLists]· [endif]Swelling

[if !supportLists]· [endif]Bleeding gums

[if !supportLists]· [endif]Muscle/calf cramping [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is sometimes difficult due to these third trimester problems because certain foods cause heartburn or constipation.

Often times, Anemia can result due to the increased use of red blood cells and volume of blood which dilutes the amount of hemoglobin circulating. Anemia can cause tiredness, rapid pulse, and shortness of breath. While Iron supplementation helps fight anemia, it often times adds to the constipation.

Using Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are usually prescribed throughout pregnancy with the standard prenatal vitamin formulation containing:

[if !supportLists]· [endif] Iron - 30 mg

[if !supportLists]· [endif] Zinc - 15 mg

[if !supportLists]· [endif] Calcium - 250 mg

[if !supportLists]· [endif] Vitamin B-6 - 2 mg

[if !supportLists]· [endif] Folate - 0.4 mg

[if !supportLists]· [endif] Vitamin C - 50 mg

[if !supportLists]· [endif] Vitamin D - 5 mcg

The types and quantities of micronutrients in prenatal vitamins are rather low given the increased metabolic demands. Numerous studies have evaluated routine supplementation and the conclusions are mixed.

A systematic review of prenatal multi-micronutrient supplementation in pregnancy demonstrated a significant reduction in the risk of low birth weight for mothers taking multiple micronutrients compared with those receiving placebo. [29]

However, there remains much controversy over which and how much of a given micronutrient is most beneficial. The difficulty lies in predicting or identifying those women who become pregnant and are already deficient in critical nutrients.

Foods to Avoid

Certain foods are to be avoided throughout pregnancy and include undercooked meat, raw eggs, liver or liver pate, unpasteurized cheeses, blue-veined, and mold ripened cheeses.

Oily fish such as swordfish, shark, and marlin should be limited due to mercury content in these meatier, longer living fish.

Critical Nutrition needed to optimize Mom's recovery

The process of childbirth, natural or by cesarean, increases metabolic demands and stress on the body significantly. Postpartum healing of an incision from an episiotomy, laceration, or due to an abdominal incision require essential nutrients, anti-oxidants, and healing nutrients to optimize recovery. The risk of wound separation and infections will decrease if adequate supplementation is begun before the labor process. Breast feeding further increases the metabolic demand for energy and micronutrients. Lack of sleep due to nighttime feedings make having good nutrition and taking supplements vital for a fast and complete recovery.

Nutritional Supplements for pregnancy

Let's look at some micronutrient requirements of pregnancy that should be maintained through the completion of lactation.