Health Supplements for Pregnancy & Nursing

sweet baby Health Supplements for Pregnancy & Nursing

I often get emails with questions about what supplements are most important to take during pregnancy and nursing, and which ones should be avoided.

Of course, these times of a woman’s life are times when she should be even more vigilant about getting enough nutrients to nourish her little one, but there are also some supplements that should be avoided.

As someone who has been pregnant, nursing, or both continually since I got married, I’ve seen first hand how supplements can make a pregnancy (and delivery) easier!

Each woman’s dietary and nutrient needs will vary, but as a general rule, a nutrient-dense diet is the most important factor in her ability to get enough vitamins and minerals during pregnancy.

A good pregnancy/nursing diet includes:

  • Lots of high quality protein from high quality sources like grass-fed beef, free-range poultry and eggs, and wild, caught, sustainable seafood (smaller fish preferable). Organ meats from grass fed sources are also wonderful for pregnancy and nursing and can help reduce the chance of anemia.
  • Large amounts of vegetables, especially green ones! Green veggies have folic acid, which is important for fetal growth, and are also high in many other nutrients. They help prevent the constipation that can sometimes occur during pregnancy, and are great for making sure nursing moms are getting enough vitamins.
  • Healthy Fats galore! Pregnancy and nursing are not times to skimp on healthy fats. Quality fats are absolutely vital for baby’s brain development, organ and tissue growth, and good milk production for mom. Sources like healthy meats, coconut oil and coconut products, olive oil, avocados, and nuts are especially good during pregnancy (peanuts are not nuts!).
  • Other high nutrient foods like homemade bone broth, soups, fermented vegetables like homemade sauerkraut, fruit (especially berries) and green smoothies are also great for pregnancy and nursing.

Supplements:

Even with the most solid diet, it is difficult to make sure that you’re getting enough nutrients for both you and baby. While I don’t recommend going wild with the supplements, there are a handful that have been shown to help with pregnancy, delivery, nursing and baby’s health.

Folate

The supplement folic acid is commonly recommended, but there is substantial difference between folic acid (the synthetic form) and folate (the natural form). This article explains the difference in detail. The dosage is also slightly different, and some sources recommend as much as 1200 mcg of folate per day for maximum benefit.  This amount should include the amount in multivitamins and any additional folate supplement (be sure to check multivitamins, as many contain the synthetic form!). Folate is one supplement that has been extensively studied for use in pregnancy and is extremely effective at preventing neural tube defects. It is also very inexpensive and easy for every pregnant woman to take.

Prenatal Multivitamin

There is some debate on if a full multivitamin prenatal is necessary during pregnancy or not. While I don’t routinely recommend taking a multivitamin, pregnancy and nursing is one exception. A deficiency in a vitamin or mineral won’t make a tremendous, immediate impact on an adult in most cases, but during the intensive developmental phases of pregnancy, a nutrient deficiency can have lasting consequences for baby. A high quality prenatal is an “insurance policy” or sorts to guard against deficiencies but should accompany a high nutrient diet! Many prenatals contain iron, though this isn’t necessary if you are consuming red meat from healthy sources and organ meats.

Omega 3s and Healthy Fats

I take Fermented Cod Liver Oil all the time, but especially when pregnant or nursing. It helps balance out your Omega ratios, provides necessary fats for baby’s brain development, and guards against inflammation. It also seems to make recovery after delivery go much faster (probably due to the anti-inflammatory properties. The high vitamin butter oil is obtained from cows eating rapidly growing green grass, and contains Activator X, as discovered by Weston A. Price. Not only is this superb for baby’s development, but there is some information showing that it helps get baby’s vitamin levels (especially Vitamin K) after birth. This is also now available in capsule form, which makes it more palatable in early pregnancy. These are especially important during the third trimester when brain development is at its peak.

Probiotics

Probiotics are critical, especially during pregnancy. Babies are born with a completely sterile gut and they culture their beneficial guy bacteria from what the receive from mom when passing through the birth canal and from nursing in the months afterward. Quality probiotics (I take these) help ensure that baby will get a good dose of beneficial bacteria, which can reduce risk of ear infection and illness in the first few years. Good gut health also has a tremendous impact on lifelong health, and this is one of the most important things you can do for your baby’s health. Probiotics also help mom avoid illness and constipation during pregnancy, and might reduce the risk of Group B strep. Since baby’s gut bacteria continues to culture during the nursing time, it is good for mom to continue to take probiotics during this time as well.

Vitamin D3

There is a lot of emerging research that 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 helps support mom’s immune system during pregnancy. Some research suggests that nursing babies may be able to obtain Vitamin D from the mother’s milk if mom is getting more than 5,000IU/day. I take 5,000 IU/day while pregnant or nursing, unless I’m able to get 30 minutes or more of midday sun.  For supplementation, only Vitamin D3 should be taken and one should test blood levels of vitamin D to make sure levels don’t get too high. This is also not usually needed if taking Fermented Cod Liver Oil or getting sunlight daily.

Magnesium

I take magnesium all the time, but it is especially beneficial in pregnancy. Severe magnesium deficiency can lead to poor fetal growth, preeclampsia, or even fetal death. Proper magnesium levels also help mom’s tissue growth and recovery during pregnancy and may help baby receive more nutrition through the placenta. It is very difficult to get enough magnesium from food sources anymore, so I typically recommend magnesium oil on the skin, Natural Calm in the evening before bed, or an ionic supplement. In total, a pregnant woman shouldn’t exceed 500 mg from all sources unless severely deficient.

Coconut Oil

During pregnancy and nursing, I take 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut oil in smoothies or tea daily as a supplement in addition to cooking with it. It is naturally immune boosting, supportive of baby’s brain development, and contains many of the components of breast milk to support nursing as well.

Things to Avoid:

Just as deficiency of some things can be dangerous during pregnancy, consumption or contact with other things can be harmful to a developing baby. In general, these are things to avoid during pregnancy (not a complete list… do your own research):

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • MSG or chemical additives
  • Diet Sodas or foods
  • Vegetable Oils and trans fats
  • Any herbs, drugs, or medicines without approval from your midwife or doctor (or your own research)
  • BPA and plastic containers
  • Aluminum in antiperspirants (make your own)
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Sugars or sweeteners
  • Artificial dyes or colors in food
  • Chemicals in laundry detergent, personal care products and household cleaners

Did you take supplements during pregnancy? Are you pregnant now? Share below!

Reader Comments

  1. Susan Johnston says

    About the folic acid, in particular . . . my first has spina bifida which is a neural tube defect.  This defect happens at about 28 days gestation.  At that point, many women do not even know yet that they are pregnant.  Folic acid is very important to take as soon as pregnancy is possible for you.  As an aside, I have also read here and there that Vitamin A toxicity is a potential link to spina bifida.  But toxicity is only a concern with the beta carotene type which is another good reason to get healthy vitamin A from animal foods instead of pills.

    • says

      Excellent point… I should have explained that better and I agree.. folic acid is the most important before you know you need it. I basically take it all the time, just in case, and I’ve suggested this to others in the past too. Thanks for bringing that up. How is your little one doing? Also, great point on getting vitamin A from food sources!

      • Amelia Desch says

        What about the possible long-term negative effects of folic acid supplementation? I think the benefits definitely outweigh the risks during and before early pregnancy, but I’m hesitant to take such high levels continuously. Would folate be preferable? It seems safer than folic acid, though more expensive, unfortunately.

        • says

          I’ve seen research on that too. I’ve alternated between folic acid and folate at times, though since I’ve been so continuously pregnant or nursing, I’ve felt safe taking these levels. Also, people eating a conventional diet consume more folic acid than they realize, since it is added to most processed foods, breads and grain-containing foods. Since I don’t eat any of these foods, I’ve always considered the higher level to be perfectly safe, but you are right, each person should evaluate the risks individually and a person eating high grain and processed food diet should supplement carefully.

          • Susan Johnston says

            Thanks for asking–my “baby” with spina bifida is now a very happy seven-year-old.  He’s a parapalegic but very smart and relatively complication-free so far.  Spina bifida is a hugely variable condition.  The Spina Bifida Association published some research a year or so ago that indicated a correlation between high doses of folic acid in the latter part of pregnancy and a higher risk of breast cancer.  Their conclusion was that the benefits outweigh the risks especially among moms who have already had one child with a NTD.  But, really, folic acid will do nothing to help a NTD that has already occurred.  I take high doses all the time except during the second and third trimester of pregnancy when I get the normal amount in a prenatal vitamin. (I’ve had three children since my first)

          • MTHFREase says

            If you or the father has the MTHFR mutation, you will want to make sure you get the methyl form of folate and not folic acid.

  2. SAra says

    Isn’t there also vitamin d in the fermented cod liver oil as well? I always thought that if I too that I didn’t need to supplement with more vitamin d.

    • says

      There is, but not 5000 iu worth in a regular dose. It’s definitely best to measure blood levels if you can but most women need the additional during pregnancy…

      • Susi says

        i wellness Mama,
        I am in my last month of pregnancy and am not due until the 15th of January. I have been taking FCLO (only half a teaspoon) every two days. The days I don’t take it I take Nordic Natural prenatal DHA supplements. I am worried about the vit A content in the FLCO that’s why I have a few days off. How much of the royal blend should I take for a healthy birth? I have read different reports and am worried about damaging bubba. ALso they found I had a low platelet count, should I take more FCLO to counteract that?

        Any suggestions would be very much appreciated

        :)

        • says

          I actually back down the last month and avoid the FCLO the last couple of weeks pre-delivery since it can have a blood thinning effect and just take the butter oil and eat lots of Vitamin K rich foods until after the birth

          • Janelle says

            you mention FCLO having a blood thinning effect, I’m 20 weeks pregnant and wanting to start supplementing with other things besides just my prenatal- If you know ahead of time that you are having a c-section would you still take the FCLO up until the last month? typically any type of blood thinner and surgeries don’t mix so i’m curious.

  3. Deanna says

    There are several great non-animal protein sources such as quinoa, nuts, yogurt and beans. Not everyone eats meat or fish and it would be great if these were included in your list.

    • says

      Animal proteins are the most complete protein and the most complete source during pregnancy. Those other foods do have protein as well but it is much more difficult to get enough complete protein without animal foods. I understand that this is more than a nutritional decision for some people and I don’t mean to discount those choices at all, but from a nutritional perspective, animal foods are the best sources of protein.

  4. Lisa Doodeman says

    you mentioned on my wellness journal to take red raspberry leaf tea. Should this be continued throughout pregnancy as well?

  5. Michelle M says

    I am just now 5 weeks along in my first pregnancy. I have been following your blog (& meal plans) for the last 6 months or so & LOVE it all! Thank you for posting this! I have been taking a prenatal vitamin and 2000 iu of D3 daily. I now plan to up my intake of D3 since I don’t get the opportunity for sunlight very much and I will also start adding the probiotic & cod liver oil to my daily routine. Thanks again Katie :)

  6. says

    great list of supplements.  i have not always been good with keeping up with my supplements.  it’s rather expensive for one who is always pregnant or nursing.  

    do you have any additional supplements/advice  for woman suffering (multiple) miscarriages. 

    pax, lena

    • says

      Often, the cause of miscarriage can be insufficient progesterone levels. In this case, using a natural progesterone cream in the second half of the cycle and for the first couple of months of pregnancy will help sustain the pregnancy until the placenta starts making progesterone. Just look for a natural progesterone cream with no added herbs (like Dong quai) and no soy.

  7. Peta says

    Thankfully I had an amazing GP who asked me to take folic acid and omega three as soon as we were planning a pregnancy.  Interestingly two amazing girls later I remembered that my adult acne only every left during pregnancy and started taking folic acid in a large doze – I’m happy to say that after 20 years of trying every pill and potion on the planet – ITS GONE!  Peta

  8. NoGrainNoPain says

    You linked to the New Chapter Perfect Prenatal. Is this the one that you would recommend? I’ve also done some reading about Rainbow Light’s Prenatal one-a-day (
    http://www.rainbowlight.com/multivitamins-prenatal-one-multivitamin.aspx) and Complete System (
    http://www.rainbowlight.com/womens-multivitamins-complete-prenatal-system-multivitamin.aspx). Any suggestion on which one I should take. The Complete System looks like it’s got almost twice the amount of everything (is that necessary?), as well as some extra greens. It’s also more expensive…

    What to do???

        • Leslieahardy says

          I have taken both and discovered that I like the Rainbow light better. You only have to take it once a day and I feel like it has been worth every penny. I thought that New Chapter was the cream of the crop, but the Rainbow Light has won me over. I have three kids and pregnant with baby 4.

        • ugh says

          I stand by my New Chapter. They are the best you can buy-the highest quality and the best mix of ingredients. Plus, splitting the does into three allows you to take one with each meal, splitting up the iron and easing constipation and nausea.

      • frugalwifeblog says

        Are there any others that are good? I read that New Chapter is now under P&G’s control. And I read that Rainbow light has american ginseng that is not good so it’s making me weary of buying it.

          • Jan says

            I’ve tried Garden of Life raw prenatal and within a month I had a whole body itch. It started off on my arms, then legs and eventually my back. It wasn’t a rash. I just felt really itchy. After itching it turned into one. So weird!! I’ve never been allergic to anything. It took me awhile to pin point the prenatals. Soon as I stopped the itching cleared up. Hmm.. maybe too much of a certain mineral? not sure, but I have since switched to Rainbow Light’s once daily prenatal and so far so good!

  9. Audrey says

    I’m nursing a newborn right now and just bought a bottle of natural calm. On the bottle it says to consulte with a doctor before taking if you are pregnant or lactating, or for children under four. Is this something to be concerned about, or is it just something that must be stated on the bottle of every supplement? (I also have a two year old who I would also like to give this supplement to.)

    • says

      From my understanding, that is something that is put on practically every bottle. The same is on benadryl, tylenol, and many other meds that doctors consider “safe” during pregnancy. Personally, I take it during pregnancy and nursing as there is some evidence that it makes both easier. I also give it to my kids (5,3,2)

  10. Sarah says

    What is your opinion on DHA? I started to take Nordics Naturals DHA supplement at month 5 in my pregnancy. I’ve read somewhere that omega 3’s from fish oil can be harmful in the last trimester (this was from spectrum brands website – because of blood thinning capability). I’m confused. Should I just switch to the Blue Ice Royal Butter Oil / Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend – Capsules that you recommend instead?

    • says

      I just did the FCLO/Butter blend during my last two pregnancies and from what I understand, the vitamin K helps with blood health and clotting and is also great for getting baby’s levels up. I also drank Red Raspberry and Nettle tea, which is great for the blood. With those two pregnancies, I bled very little after each delivery and those two have been my easiest babies. Definitely not a scientific study, but enough reason for me to keep taking them…

      • Sarah says

        Thanks! I just started taking the FCLO/Butter blend in chocolate and wow, I’m surprised that I like it! 2 months to go on my pregnancy. My doctor was on the fence regarding taking DHA omega 3 supplements close to the end of the trimester, but she approved the magneisum supplements to help with the leg cramps and consitipation that comes with being pregnant. I really appreciate your blog – so glad I found it!

  11. Korinabailey says

    Wow, this is great advise! I was thinking of taking a prenatal vitamin by Garden of Life, does anyone know if this is a good one? Thanks:)

    • Korinabailey says

      Also, forgot to ask, if I am eating lots of homemade yogurt and fermented foods, do I still need to take probiotics? Thanks!

    • Sarah says

      I’ve been taking garden of life prentatal mult-vitamin throught out my pregnancy (7 months now). Never had any side effects and it’s small and easy to take and has 1,400mg of Vitamin D3, which seems to be hard to find in a prentatal multivitamin these days since they try to make so many of them vegan and vegetarian safe. Only fermented soy. The only thing that happen to me is I didn’t get enough iron (18 mg) from this multivitamin or my diet (anemic), so I started supplementing with Megafood blood builder (they are a good brand as well, but VERY expensive), so far we haven’t retested for anemia to know if that is working. I started cooking in my cast iron pan more often.

    • Kailie says

      I have been taking Garden of Life Raw prenatals for a solid year now, I love them! No baby yet but I am working on getting healthy so I just consider it a multivitamin :)

  12. Sarah says

     I just found out that Im pregnant, and I’ve been following all of your supplement recommendations for quite a while now, And I also have been taking 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw organic applecider vinegar everyday for heartburn and other nutritional purposes, is this safe to continue taking while pregnant?

  13. Artistabiona says

    Do you think it’s okay to take prenatals and cod liver oil/butter oil blend at the same time?

  14. SamRae says

    I just found out I am pregnant, and was wondering if I could take the Natural Vitality CalMag.  I saw on your list about the Natural Calm, but I already have the CalMag and wasn’t sure if I could start taking that.
    The recommended serving has 400mg of Calcuim and 200mg of Magnesium.  Thanks!

  15. SamRae says

    What are your thoughts about Vitamin A toxicity and birth defects?  Is that more so related to synthetic Vit A?  My multi has 5000 IU of vit A.  Wondering about getting too much with that FCLO and foods.  Thanks!

    • says

      I’ve personally never worried about it, but from what I’ve read, the factors that matter are the form of Vitamin A and the balance of Vitamin D. I actually don’t take a regular prenatal a lot of the time and just take the FCLO, magnesium, gelatin and get a high vitamin diet and lots of sun…

      • Sarah says

        Hi, can I draw everyone’s attention to the fact that animal vitamin A which is in all cod liver oil and in organ meats especially liver is HIGHLY teratogenic (causes birth abnormalities) so should be avoided. There is very good evidence for this. Beta carotene is vegetable based vitamin A which is safe. DO NOT take extra vitamin A. I am an OBGYN in the uk, and I have seen this. Advice of ‘I’ve never worried about it is just plain irresponsible and misguided. You’ve been lucky your children are healthy. I don’t normally comment on forums but this is too much to ignore.

  16. Rebekah says

    fclo must be better than fish oil, or you probably wouldn’t be emphasizing it so much. But it’s soooo expensive! You take 8 capsules per day? That’s 2 bottles a month, for just me… if i put my husband on it (assuming i can even get him to take 8 capsules of anything everyday), that’s one bottle a week. Would a high quality fish oil do the trick?

    • says

      A quality fish oil would definitely be good, ad I’d suggest krill oil if you can, but the fclo has a higher concentration of vitamins a and d and is less likely to go rancid because of the fermentation

      • Jessica DeLeon says

        ok so during pregnancy you are suggest 8 capsules of the royal blend? (the high vitamin butter oil/fermented codliver oil blend? thanks for clarifying in advance!)

  17. says

    Since you are growing a whole second skeleton in your body do you recommend taking calcium. Since I follow paleo, I don’t consume much dairy. I take natural calm magnesium, and when I have made some (not often) I have bone broth. I have been told I don’t really need as much calcium since I am not consuming as many anti-nutrients. But when I do get pregant does that need to change?

    • says

      I definitely double up on the bone broth while pregnant for this reason. It is a more broad spectrum solution than just a calcium supplement, and you get the trace minerals too…

  18. Rbrockrea says

    I’m confused now about whether I should be taking a prenatal or not. I also thought in a more recent post you said we should be taking folate instead of folic acid? Thanks for clearing this up!

  19. Raydene says

    I am 22 weeks pregnant and feel I should step up my vitamin intake. (I am only taking a prenatal.) I agree with some previous comments that FCLO is pretty pricey. Do you know anything about Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil?

    I will be purchasing Natural Calm this weekend, and might try the Red Raspberry tea. I am not a tea drinker (never have been), but I know this is healthy for myself and my baby. I am also looking into taking a pro-biotic.

    I love your website!! Thank you for all of the useful information.

  20. says

    Hello Wellness Mama,

    A couple of questions. 1) I am confused about the probiotic. This is for my gut health. How does it populate the birth canal so that the baby can obtain it? 2) Also, Robb Wolf said that FCLO is great, but it doesn’t have as high omega 3s that a high quality fish oil (I used to take SFH brand, prior to FCLO) so he suggested alternating. Since starting FCLO months ago at your recommendation, I have seen a lot of improvement in my hormones, leading, hopefully, to better fertility. What is your take? If I were to consume both Pr-conception, I take 5 g FCLO/butter blend daily.

    • says

      The gut bacteria influences vaginal bacteria as well while food, etc pass through and are wiped away after using the restroom. Gut bacteria taken internally will also be used to populate vaginal bacteria. I often use Bio Kult vaginally, especially during pregnancy to make sure the bacteria is optimal when the baby is born. I’ve taken both FCLO and Fish Oil (krill) before and during pregnancy and have seen good results. I also take Folate and magnesium pre and during pregnancy…

      • Andi Surface says

        You mention using Bio Kult vaginally. I’m interested as I’ve been battling BV on and off for the past several months. I take pro-biotics orally. By vaginally you mean you insert a capsule into your vj, correct? Thank you for clearing this up for me. If that’s the case, I’m definitely going to try!

  21. Saedi says

    Great post! What about Calcium? OB recommends 1000 mg per day. If you are not able to take dairy, do you recommend taking an extra calcium supplement? Also, if your prenatal has alread7 800 mg of Folic Acid, would the added Folate be too much?

    • says

      My personal preference is to drink bone broth daily as it is the most bio-available source of calcium and contains necessary gelatin and trace minerals. I prefer to stick to vitamins with folate instead of folic acid (folic acid, the synthetic form, has some link to breast cancer) but you wouldn’t necessarily need both…

      • Saedi says

        If I’m not able to get bone broth in daily (I don’t have the time to make it), can taking a tablespoon of gelatin per day be good enough to get the necessary calcium?
        If I do instead a multivitamin and folate (instead of a prenatal that has folic acid), is there a good multi that you recommend? I’m so confused, there’s so much information out there, and my OB said that taking a prenatal is enough….I’m taking Rainbow Light once a day Prenatal at the moment…
        Also is hemp protein poweder ok to take daily as a breakfast smoothie during pregnancy? Thanks so much!

        • says

          The gelatin is great, but won’t give you the calcium. Foods like sardines are another good source of calcium though… I do a multi and folate and fermented cod liver oil daily along with magnesium and gelatin at night…. Hemp is ok, but eggs are abetter source of protein and have choline and important fats for the baby too…

  22. Claire Elizabeth says

    Just wondering whether any vitamins I’m currently taking for my own health are bad for the baby. Flaxseed oil tablets (I get dermatitis and this helps), fish oil, lysine (prevents cold sores) and silica (good for hair)? I will also take the vitamins you recommend and have been taking folate already. Thank you :)

  23. Martha says

    Are these supplements all okay to take without speaking to a doctor. Im 18 weeks and had been sceptical about taking any supplements (besides my pregnancy vitamins) until I briefly spoke to a naturopath and he told me I should continue to take what I was taking prior to pregnancy. I had stopped taking them as my doctor told me they weren’t necessary but I feel as though my body is lacking nutrients. I’ve just started re taking spirulina, probiotics & fish oil but would like to take the supplemnts you mentioned as I feel they are necessary. Also, what do you think of calcium supplements? Or would I not need them if I were taking VitD? :)
    Thank u x

    • says

      I personally don’t take calcium as it is relatively easy to get during pregnancy and most people need the magnesium more. I’d always talk to a doctor before taking anything, but personally, I felt safe taking all of these during pregnancy and they are generally considered safe during pregnancy…

  24. Melissa Rank says

    Hi katie,
    I know there has been lots of talk about ideal birth spacing and whether or not breastfeeding is okay while pregnant. Any thoughts on this? Thanks!

  25. Laura Dwyer says

    How about iodine supplementation? I’ve been reading all sorts of things about the lack of iodine in the American diet. I had to go so far as purchase salt with iodine at a health food store because I could not find it on the shelf of a grocery store. Thoughts?

  26. says

    Thank you for another fantastic article. Where else may anyone get that type of information in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the look for such info.

  27. Liz says

    Hello! LOVE your blog, you are truly a wealth of knowledge and I so appreciate you sharing it all.
    Do you have any thoughts on CoQ10? For preconception I’ve heard it’s good, and would I continue taking it during pregnancy? Also, my husband takes anti anxiety meds sadly, which I’m concerned will effect his sperm quality. What are your thoughts?
    Thank you :)

  28. Mary Penn says

    Hi Katie- Have you ever dealt with group b strep? I’ve been positive 4 out of five and was wondering if you had any advice to prevent that from happening?

  29. Erin S. says

    Vitamin D3 . . . During my pregnancy I was taking a total of 6,000 IUE’s, 5,000 from the supplement and 1,000 from my prenatal. I took it to boost my immune system during the pregnancy, I didn’t get sick once during a very contagious flu season! My daughter was quite eager to join us and after a few weeks of bed rest my water broke at 34 wks. During her month stay in the Special Care Unit, they couldn’t figure out why her calcium level was high. Finally a friend, who is a Naturopath, asked about my Vit-D intake. They checked my blood to see if my levels were high, they weren’t. They sent her blood to the Mayo Clinic to find out indeed her Vit-D was high, much higher than should have been. I had to stop taking my Vit-D3 supplement until I’m done nursing. What I learned is, babies have a difficult time breaking down Vit-D, which could lead to parathyroid issues. The NP said the 1,000 in my prenatal was fine, but to hold off on the 5k. Just a FYI.

  30. Stacie LaMothe says

    Hopefully I will be a momma soon and just doing my research. I take FCLO/Butter oil, desiccated liver capsules, magnesium and occasionally vit D drops…do I still need to take the full dose of prenatal vitamins – would the liver caps give me enough folate? Thinking of Rainbow Light organic Mult, is this a good choice?

  31. irish says

    i took a anti bacterial capsul,and i think i am pregnant,what will happen?i had a cough and colds that time and now i suspects i am pregnant.

  32. Jensen says

    What do you know about raspberry ketones and garcinia cambogia? Is it okay to take either of these while nursing?

  33. Ayokunle Oyawale says

    Hi Katie, thanks for your helpful info. And thanks guys for your comments. Please anyone know for sure if the TREVO (natural supplement) drink is okay for a pregnant woman?

  34. Deanna says

    I take a 400 mg magnesium supplement daily and want to start taking Natural Calm because I notice a great difference in my sleep! I’m still nursing though. I saw where you mentioned not to exceed 500 mg? I’m pretty sure I’m exceeding that. I noticed my son slept better too after I take the Natural Calm. Could he be getting some of it? Is it safe for him? I took melatonin a couple of times when I was desperate for sleep (not knowing that that was a bad decision, glad I know now!) I need something that helps me get good sleep since I’m still waking up in the middle of the night to feed my 11 month old!!

  35. Sarah says

    If I’m taking a prenatal vitamin with probiotics (New Chapter) do you still recommend taking a separate probiotic? What are your thoughts on the New Chapter probiotic instead of the brand that you recommended? Thanks in advance!

  36. Kristina says

    I’m currently 33 weeks pregnant.
    My sister-in-law is trained in “Touch For Health”.
    I bring every and all supplements to her to muscle test me on before I take them.
    I’ve muscle tested WEAK on EVERY pre-natal vitamin I’ve brought, expect RAW brand.
    One supplement I’ve tested very strong on throughout my entire pregnancy?
    CAYENNE PEPPER.
    I started taking it before I was even pregnant to rid my GI tract of parasitic organisms that caused gas….I’ve been pregnant before this one, so I KNEW my ‘gassy’ issues would be even worse if I were to stop taking the Cayenne.
    I’m curious if ALL pregnant women would benefit from taking Cayenne Pepper supp. considering it’s renown benefits for the circulatory system.

  37. Carrie says

    Trying to make a decision based on the form of folate –

    I am trying to decide between Thorne Research Basic Prenatal (500 mcg as Calcium Folinate and 500 mcg as L-5-Methyltetrahydrolic Acid, Glucosamine Salt)

    and

    Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal (800 mcg folate)

    Not sure if I have the MTHFR gene mutation or not yet (haven’t been tested)….but I do have Hashimoto’s and I know it is common. I’m still confused as to the difference between the two types/forms of folate listed in the prenatals above.

  38. Emily says

    I was wondering if it really is ok to have frozen raw liver (if frozen for 14+ weeks beforehand and organic, grass fed) I’ve made small “liver pills” for myself, and have been taking them for about a week or so. I have been feeling wonderful and I attribute that to the liver! But articles are saying the Vitamin A could be harmful to the baby, should I be worried? And should I stop?

  39. kalarn says

    Hi Wellness Mama. I was all set to buy fermented cod liver oil (I’m 35 and got off the pill 5 weeks ago to try to get pregnant) but I just read on babycenter.com that although fish oil is a good pregnancy supplement, cod liver oil is not because it has too much Vitamin A, which is not good for baby. Can you clarify please? Love your website and trust your advice!
    Thanks!
    http://www.babycenter.com/404_is-it-safe-to-take-a-fish-oil-or-other-omega-3-supplement-du_10336998.bc

  40. martina says

    What do you suggest for aching teeth in early pregnancy? It can wake me up and make me feel anxious. I follow GAPS/WAP and feel confident I’m getting all the good fats ect. Yes, I take probiotics, fclo, drink bone broth ect. Thanks!

  41. Becky says

    Yes! I take Genesis Pure products. They are amazing! I’m 5 months pregnant and have felt great. Anyone interested in learning more let mw know!

  42. Cierra says

    I just recently suffered from a miscarriage and a d&c and I am just starting to get back to trying. What, in your opinion, are the most important things to take pre pregnancy ? Please reply to me. Thank you!

  43. Christina says

    Hi Katie
    Thanks so much for all your information! I’m just beginning delve into the natural world. I’m currently pregnant and wondering what you recommend for those intolerant of fish! Right now i’m taking an organic algal based DHA, ground flaxseed in oatmeal or smoothies, and flaxseed oil in my smoothies as well. Do you recommend any fish based products that TRULY mask the fish flavor? I am normally super sensitive to the slightest taste of fish…during pregnancy its even worse. I have a history of hyperemesis gravidarum with my two previous pregnancies.
    Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated ;)
    Thanks for all you do, you’re an inspiration!

    -Christina

  44. Mila says

    Great read and very informative. I am expecting my first baby this coming summer and agree with pretty much everything you mentioned. One of the only things I’m not doing is taking a probiotic, which I had debated. Thanks for the reminder.

    Mila

  45. Ainslee says

    Hi Kate,
    I have a lot of food intolerances and have just found out I am pregnant with my first. It is quite unexpected ( but very happy) so I have not been taking any pre pregnancy suppliments but was taking evening-primrose oil and vitex for my PMS. I am worried about the baby as I have a very limited diet because of my intolerances and a lot of the recommended pregnancy vitemans on the market contain problem foods for me. I am very gasy and am fluctuting between constipation and very loss stools. Would a Spirulina vitaman and then folic acid supplement be suitable, along with a brobiotic? Can you recommend other alternatives?
    Thankyou for your time.
    Kind Regards,
    Ainslee

  46. Julie says

    I was looking at the ingredients of the prenatal you recomended and in the ingredients say it has rice, oats and fermented soy, so you are ok with that?

    I take simply one prenatal vitamins.

    I’m nursing my newborn and she is my third baby. I have never tried magnesium and would like to start adding it to our supplements. I was thinking to start using it externally, so is it the same to use it externally than orally? I would like to know of the 2 products for magnesium you recommend to take which one do you think is the best? when can use magnesium on my newborn?

    I read that you mentioned you took fermented cod liver oil but also omega 3s so the cod liver oil isn’t enough?

    thank you

    • says

      I’d use magnesium externally first. You will absorb it and she will benefit through nursing. I just try to make sure I”m getting a lot of Omega-3 while nursing and the FCLO is great for fat soluble vitamins but not the highest in Omega 3

  47. Britney says

    After 3 long years of trying to get pregnant after have already trying Clomid and other drugs to try and get pregnant, I told my husband I wasn’t able to take the medicines as they caused a lot of mood swings and other side effects that I didn’t care to keep having. I read your post on foods to eat and foods to avoid, along with using natural progesterone cream. I just found out 2 days ago that I am pregnant with our 2nd child! I’m so excited! I know it ultimately happened because it was God’s timing and it was his blessing! I do plan to continue to eat healthy, so thank you for your posts! I needed to see them as I would’ve probably given up on the whole idea of having another child!

  48. Mandy says

    Drs everywhere say NO fermented cod liver oil during pregnancy due to the high levels of vitamin A. What would you tell them?

    • says

      I’d encourage everyone to do research, but I personally felt safe taking along with a careful diet that made sure all fat soluble vitamins were consumed in the correct ratio. From what I’ve read, it is when Vitamin A is consumed in incorrect ratio to Vitamins D, E and K that problems occur

  49. Ruby says

    Hi Katie!
    Love this site!! Can’t thank you enough for all that you do. Can’t wait to try your recipes from bone broth to making my own toothpaste.

    I am currently 21 weeks pregnant and on strict bed rest. I had an IC and a cerclage was put in at 17 weeks. This being said cooking is off limits for me right now since I can’t be on my feet too long. I do make breakfast for my son and I. My husband works a lot and isn’t much of a cook. I’ve got some help but none of them are willing to cook either. So it’s take out for us :( almost all the time. We pretty much follow paleo my husband more than my son and I but as I said being on bed rest doesn’t give me a lot of options to be as healthy as I would like. I cook with coconut oil or grass fed butter or ghee but as we know restaurants doesn’t. All this being said I really would like to follow a strict structured supplement plan.

    I have been taking the prenatal that you do recommend before I was even pregnant. Though it’s making me constipated I really want to keep taking it. I take the Nordic DHA and would like to switch to FCLO with butter oil. I want to take all the supplements you recommend given I am very limited to achieving a very healthy diet right now. Can you please just guide me as to what exactly you took and how much on a daily basis when you were pregnant? Because even though you recommended the prenatal but on one of your response you said you don’t really take them? I know this post is from 2 years ago. Hoping you’d be able to read this comment and help me out?

    Thanks in advance!!

  50. Tami says

    Hi!

    I found your blog a couple weeks ago and have loved reading your posts :) I am 14 weeks pregnant right now with my first baby and am trying to do everything I can to prepare for a natural child birth. I have a question about the coconut oil you suggested. I cook with coconut oil all the time, but when I’ve tried adding extra into smoothies or sneak it in other places I find I can’t handle the taste, it’s just too strong for me. Do you think I could take capsules with the same result?

  51. Ashley says

    Great post! I was doing all of these things in preparation for pregnancy, but once I got pregnant I began slacking big time – either due to morning sickness, food aversions (especially coconut and nuts), or inability to cook in my kitchen (mice!). Are there certain points throughout pregnancy that are the optimal “windows” for these supplements? I’ve been taking New Chapter Perfect Prenatal throughout, FLCO off/on throughout, and have just reincorporated probiotics, magnesium, Vit D, and iron (in addition to boosting my iron-rich foods). I’ve just entered my third trimester and am hoping that I didn’t miss a critical window of baby’s development with my relatively lax diet and supplementation. Thoughts?

  52. Bobbi Jo Wickman says

    Hey Katie ! Question
    im ttc and we currently drink raw grass fed milk ..little hay in our mn winter’s ;) and mostly raw butter if not grass fed butter and cheese. I will try to uptake my bone broth as well so do you think I need to even consider looking at calcium? Im going to add natural calm and do raw life prenatal along with cod liver oil …(maybe fermented) vit d and probiotics and vit c maybe too.

    I will also add the teas I already have at home and focus on lowering cod liver oil and uptake vit k in last months what would u recommend for my calcium question and how to get vit k at end of pregnancy. Can u get too much vit k? Thanks!

  53. Molly says

    When you order your 5 gallon container of coconut oil, do you worry about it getting hot in the mail? And, is that a concern with other supplements that you order online as well?

    I am also wondering if you think it is ok to take a prenatal vitamin AND cod liver oil? Wondering if the Vitamin A and Vitamin D would be too much in the two combined? Thanks!!

  54. Sarah T. says

    Hi,
    I have the same question as Molly above, in reference to the prenatal and the FCLO. Is ok to take a prenatal vitamin AND FCLO? Would be too much to combine the two?
    If so, I was thinking that I could take a couple days off (a week) of the prenatal and on the days off take the folate and the FCLO? OR do you take all 3 every day?
    Thanks so much!

    • Rachel says

      I’m jumping on Molly and Sarah’s questions as well.. I’m in my first trimester and still breastfeeding my 18 month old… currently I take FCLO, Alternate between Garden of Life Raw prenatal and New Chapter Prenatal and take Garden of Life Vaginal Care probiotic… is there concern about overdoing it here? thank you!!!

  55. Brittany says

    Great info Katie!
    I’m curious about your thoughts on DHA during pregnancy. My naturopath is very adamant about getting lots of it during pregnancy for baby brain development and cognitive function. I couldn’t find anything about DHA content in the fish oil you linked to, but that company has other products (Krill oil) which mention DHA.
    Thanks!

  56. Krista says

    I just wanted to chime in that the most organic pre natal vitamins I could find (they also have probiotics in them!) although I take an additional probiotic are the prenatals by The Honest Conpany. You have to take 3 a day but they have an organic coating that makes them
    Easier to swallow than any other prenatal I have tried!

  57. Anna says

    Hey Katie,
    Thank you for all your practical info! I’ve been a long-time follower of wellness mama and I just found out that I’m pregnant (YAY!) and I’ve been reading through all your pregnancy blogs all day. I’m glad you mentioned about being aware of what’s in detergents and personal care products because I think most people worry more about what they put IN their body then what they put ON it, but both are equally important. I’m generally conscious about the products I use on my skin and house, but even more so now. I’ve been using Zero Xeno products which appear to be the cleanest products I’ve found. Have you heard of their products? Or have any recommendations of products that are safe to use during pregnancy?

  58. Kristy! says

    I didn’t see my post appear, so I’m writing again. .. Lol.
    I think what I said was (ha!) that I first came across you blog through the food babe Facebook page. I am just starting to learn to eat organic and non-GMO and so when I came across your blog, cod liver and and bone broth and vaginal probiotics were all are all new to me!!! And everything that I need to know about what to avoid and not do is overwhelming. I an 4 weeks pregnant with my very first baby and I wanted to ask: for a regular girl like me, who eats out often and eats chicken and veggies, cereal, pizza, etc; is this prenatal good for me?

    http://www.metagenics.com/mp/products/wellness-essentials-pregnancy

    I saw that dr. Oz’s daughter daphne took this during her pregnancy, and I figured if it’s good for dr. Oz’s daughter, it will be good for me.
    Although I did replace the DHA for Nordics prenatal DHA, because theirs has rosemary extract, which I heard was a no no. I’m also wondering if it has to much Vit E, and the nortons also have Vit E????
    But either way, I guess I just need reassurance and because I’ve been reading your blogs I feel like you could help steer me the right way even though I don’t do the cod live and all that good stuff. I hope to get to that point later on or my next pregnancy, hopefully, I just need to research more. But right now I’d love your feed back!!! Thanks a bunch and god bless!!

  59. ramyat says

    Hey there!
    Great post and information. I live in western Europe with not much sunshine. My GP put me on a high dosage serum shot of Vitamin D every 3 months. Each shot is about 100,000 IE of D3. When i stopped taking this serum shot and switched to FCLO exclusively my D levels dropped again. (Nothing to do with the FCLO probably but other factors affecting absorption.) So i went back to using the serum shots. I am planning to get pregnant and I was thinking if I should start the FCLO again. Is it a good idea to do FCLO+ once in 3 months D3 shots? Being a vegetarian, i could really use the many benefits of FCLO. Thanks for your time and ever awesome answers! :)

  60. Anna says

    Hi!
    Thank you for this very informative post! Have you come across the Super Nutrition Simply one Prenatal? I wanted to know if you or anyone here has tried it and was happy.

    Thanks

  61. Gem says

    Hi there, sorry I haven’t had time to read through all comments to see if this one’s been asked, but I’m very early in pregnancy and have noticed my skin getting really oily and lots of blackheads, I’m really worried it’s going to get heaps worse. Just wondering if I can take evening primrose during pregnancy as I’ve read some things that say perhaps not in the early stages?

    Or, if there’s any other safe supplement I can take for skin breakouts specifically.(I am taking all of the other suggested supplements on your list and have a healthy diet).

    Up until pregnancy, I kept skin breakouts at bay with chaste tree, evening primrose etc.
    Appreciate any help!

  62. Carolina says

    Would you be able to recommend a prenatal multivitamin that does not contain Soy? Soy gives me severe constipation unfortunately, sorry for the TMI. Thanks!!!

  63. Bobbi Jo Wickman says

    Hey again. I am taking garden of life olde world icelandic cod liver oil could I just buy butter oil to take with it? Thanks!

  64. Tina T. says

    Hello! I love reading your blog especially because my husband and I are trying to conceive and your knowledge and experience is very helpful! Quick question: I am currently taking the New Chapter Prenatal Multivitamins. Should I be adding a folate supplement to this?

    In the New Chapter Prenatal there is 600 mcg of folate – do you think I should add a 400 mcg folate supplement to this to make sure I am getting adequate amounts?

    Thanks so much and keep on blogging!

  65. lindsey says

    Hi, I’m 6 weeks pregnant, and i’m taking fermented cod liver oil with high vitamin butter oil, after reading that it can cause excess bleeding during birth, i’m a bit worried weither i should continue or not.
    I’d love some advice on this thanks heaps

  66. tiffany says

    Hi there,
    This is all a bit confusing for me so I’m hoping for something simple. I don’t have a lot of money. Right now I’m taking maternal symmetry by vitanica. I don’t get enough calcium. I am thinking of getting GOL Raw calcium supplements. The calcium comes from Algae. Is this safe for baby?

  67. misa says

    Hi

    I would like to ask you if you have any problem to loose weight after pregnancy I breastfeeding but did not loose any weight cause I am still hungry so I am eating all the time I do not want to limit myself cause I think diet will loower my milk supply.

    Many thanks for your answer

    • says

      I didn’t have much trouble, although my weight loss/gain is affected by my autoimmune disease. It is pretty essential to eat well when nursing because you are right, it will affect your supply. I’d suggest eating really nutritionally dense foods and foods high in fiber to help fill you up. Your body is trying to replace all the nice nutrients you are passing on to your sweet baby :)

  68. John says

    My wife has been taken TREVO and has gotten pregnant even though we were practicing the natural safe period. Is TREVO safe for her pregnancy if she continues to take?

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