Preconception/Prenatal Supplements

January 1, 2011

As anyone who knows me can attest, I don’t take decisions related to my unborn children lightly.  You’re supposed to start taking prenatal vitamins as least three months before you start trying to conceive, so I’ve been doing a lot of research because I have FOMA and there are a TON of options.  This is what I’ve decided on and why:

1. Rainbow Light Prenatal One

  • I only want to take one vitamin a day, so I skipped all the ones that require you to take 3-6 a day
  • One a Day Women’s Multivitamins make me nauseous, so I looked for one with reviews that said they didn’t make people nauseous.  Many conventional vitamins have weird filler ingredients, which I try to avoid when possible.
  • I compared the ingredients of these to many other natural and vegetarian multivitamins and decided on this one based on ingredients and reviews.

My doctor said it doesn’t matter that much which prenatal vitamin you take as as long as you take one with folic acid, which all prenatal vitamins have.  So really, just pick one that works for you!

Sidenote: the FDA released a study about traces of lead found in vitamins for women and children, including Rainbow Light Prenatal One, which sounds scary, but the actual amount found was way below safe amounts, so I believe it’s nothing to worry about, but yes, I did see that study and had a minor heart palpitation!  Make your own decision based on what you’re comfortable with.

2. DHA supplements – DHA is a type of fish oil, but not all fish oil is created equal.  DHA is the one that you need for pregnancy.  Lots of research has linked DHA to benefits for mom and fetus (particularly the development of the nervous system, retina) and other research has linked DHA deficiencies during pregnancy to postpartum depression in mom and the development of ADHD, dyslexia, and allergies in baby.  There haven’t been a lot of studies done about how much DHA you need, but I did find some suggestions online that suggested at least 250mg/300mg of DHA a day.

I liked two types of DHA supplements, Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA, which have 450 mg of DHA per serving (2 capsules), and Barlean’s Ultra DHA, which have 530 mg per serving (2 capsules).  I picked the former because I was swayed by the fact that the prenatal ones are prenatal and also Nordic Naturals’ website is very convincing about purity of the source of their fish.  It’s hard to know whose fish is safe, but I would definitely stay away from the Costco type of fish oil because fish oil comes from fish and not all fish is pure and the last thing I want to do it take ultra cheapo fish oil for my baby’s brain development that is laced with mercury or some other impurity.  Barlean’s seems safe too, so I think either of these are good choices.

3. Make sure you’re not taking too much vitamin A because high doses can cause birth defects and liver toxicity.  The FDA recommends a max of 1o,000 IU, so make sure to check your multivitamins and make sure you’re not ODing and stay away from medication like Retin-A.

Happy preconception planning!