I am not a big proponent of taking vitamins on a daily basis. Multivitamins, omega 3s, vitamin D, etc. Possibly the main reason is that I’m just not very consistent with doing it. Which thus leads to a lack of seeing results. The only times I would really focus on taking my vitamins would be prior to, during and post-pregnancy. Any time in between, I’d be lucky to remember to give the kids their vitamins, let alone take my own.

Vitamin Packaging

photo credit

I used to think that during pregnancy, the only supplements you needed to take was a prenatal vitamin (something like Materna as we have in Canada). However, since this is the first pregnancy we’ve really “planned”, before we got pregnant, I did some digging and research, asked a LOT of questions, and came across a load of really good information concerning supplements and pregnancy that I would like to share with you.

First of all, something that is the unfortunate case with most supplements is that a lot of the minerals and vitamins contained within them are synthetics put together with binders and fillers. This came as a bit of a surprise to me, but not really when you think about it and how sick prenatal vitamins can make you.

A MUCH better alternative would be to take a RAW or whole foods prenatal vitamin, which is what I have been doing. Low and behold, if I take them at night after I’ve eaten, they don’t make me sick! Why could this be? Possibly because they have no fillers, their ingredients are made to help with morning sickness, it’s raw ingredients – whatever the ¬†reasons are, these babies work. After a lot of research, and from personal experience, I would HIGHLY recommend getting the Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal vitamins (click on the link for more great information as to why whole foods vitamins are so good!). My local health food store carries them, so they aren’t difficult to find, and while they are more expensive, to actually be able to take a prenatal while pregnant and know I’m benefiting not only my health, but the baby’s as well, has made it all worth it. Especially if you are suffering with pregnancy nausea and unable to eat healthy, you should be taking supplements to fill in the blanks for those healthy foods you’re unable to consume.

spring vegetables

If you want to take things one step further, you can go so far as to take supplements as close to their natural form as possible. This is also something I have researched and begun doing, so I’ll share some of what I’ve discovered and the benefits of doing this. {Please keep in mind I am not a doctor or nutritionist, but am just sharing the research and information I have discovered and learned over time. Always check with your doctor or midwife first if you’re unsure!}

Cod Liver Oil

Ew. Gross. Nasty, oily, disgusting junk, sliding down my throat. I still cringe at the thought of the cod liver pills my mom always made us take growing up. However, knowing what I know now about cod liver oil, I’m glad she had us take it as kids. And I’m glad that I *occasionally* encourage my children to take it as well.

What’s so great about cod liver oil? Well, it contains vitamins A and D as well as essential fatty acids, which help boost your immune system – and that of baby’s as well. When we had H1N1 (aka swine flu) blowing around our area, we bought some lemon flavoured cod liver oil and had the kids taking it every day. I definitely think it helped boost their immunity, and over the winter months helped us shorten any sicknesses we may have come down with.

For pregnancy, I would recommend getting a fermented cod liver oil (read some more here about why fermented cod liver oil is better than regular). Green Pasture has a HUGE variety of products to pick from. There is the actual oil in some great flavours like cinnamon tingle and arctic mint (as well as non-flavoured), as well as non-gelatin capsules. These are the easiest to take, I tried taking some of the oil that we have from Carlson, and nearly threw it back up, but I’m ok with swallowing capsules! :0)

Spirulina – Aquatic Greens

~ Green Goddess Smoothie ~photo credit

Spirulina always brings back memories of smoothies I used to have when I was at Bible school in New Zealand. It was the grossest shade of green, but they were oh so tasty! Little did I know or understand the health benefits that spirulina carries.

It is high in iron (in an easy-to-absorb form too!), calcium, b-vitamins, is anti-oxidant rich, and boosts energy! (And I don’t know about you but I can sure use an energy boost on a normal day, even when not pregnant!)

If you take the recommended daily amount, you’ll also be getting in 2 servings of vegetables – which, for most pregnant, sick women is a very difficult thing to get in throughout the day.

I purchased a Spirulina and Chlorella blend called Aquatic Greens – it’s organic and with the added chlorella contains a dozen or so extra vitamins and minerals. Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s algae :D It’s good for you!

Another great brand to go with is Earthrise Spirulina. I would not quickly or easily recommend any others without doing a whole lot more research than I already have. Earthrise comes in capsules as well as powder form, which is great for making smoothies with.

Essential Oils

I have been absolutely giddy with glee since finding out about Young Living Essential Oils and the benefits they have. Since I have only just recently gotten into using them, I can’t speak much except from my very brief experience (I also wouldn’t recommend using any other brands for truly therapeutic use other than Young Living Essential Oils).

I have been using peppermint oil, lavender and grapefruit for morning sickness. A drop in a glass of water and POW! Nausea dissipates for a time! Not a permanent solution, but especially with the peppermint, the relief is marvelous. It tastes and smells amazing! For more great information on using Essential Oils in pregnancy, check out Chelsey Hall’s post.

Essential oils can also be used during labour and delivery and on newborns after, as well as just day to day normal use. If you’re interested in finding out more about Essential Oils (and I highly suggest you start doing some research, because not all essential oils are created equal!) check out Chelsey Hall’s 5 Days of Essential Oils series, as well as:

Carrie from Young Living Oil Lady

Jodi from Granola Mom 4 God

What Brands Do I Buy?

Question Mark Graffiti

photo credit

Not all whole, organic vitamin supplements or essential oils are created equal. For the brands I recommended above, I did hours and hours of research, and asked people I trusted who had used the products before what their research and experience had shown. All of the above brands came HIGHLY recommended for being truly organic, whole food and SAFE. But don’t just take my word for it, and don’t just take anything and everything. If you’re unsure, check with your doctor or midwife first.

That about wraps up my recommendations for supplements during pregnancy. Please keep in mind I am not a doctor, nor a nutritionist, but am only desiring to share with you my findings from a few months of research and many questions asked. Please do check in to anything I have said above to confirm the information for yourself, and ALWAYS, if you’re not sure, check with your healthcare provider first.

Thanks for coming by today, don’t forget to check out the other bloggers participating in the

5 Days of Mothering and Homemaking series! Tomorrow we will be wrapping it all up.