“What supplements do I need in pregnancy?” A Professional Nutritionist Guides You How to Smartly Supplement Nutrition During the Three Stages of Pregnancy

 “What supplements do I need in pregnancy?”

A Professional Nutritionist Guides You How to Smartly Supplement Nutrition During the Three Stages of Pregnancy


The health and nutritional intake of expectant mothers are crucial for the growth and development of the baby! At each stage of pregnancy, the baby's development varies, and the essential nutrients to be supplemented are different. However, for many new moms, ensuring proper nutrition during pregnancy can be a major concern. In this article, let a professional nutritionist guide you on the eight key nutrients that need to be supplemented during pregnancy and the supplementation points for the three stages of pregnancy. This information will help expectant mothers understand at a glance and contribute to the health of both the mother and the baby.


What are the best supplement to during pregnancy?

Supplementing Key Nutrients in the Three Stages of Pregnancy to Effectively Promote Baby's Health

The pregnancy process is divided into three stages: early pregnancy, mid-pregnancy, and late pregnancy, based on the changes in the mother's body and the baby's growth and development.

"How to eat during the three stages of pregnancy?" has always been a hot topic among expectant mothers. Nutrition during pregnancy is crucial for the normal development of the fetus and also affects the baby's physical constitution and brain development after birth. The nutritional requirements vary slightly at each stage. Below, a nutritionist has compiled a list of health supplements that expectant mothers should consume during these three stages and during the postpartum breastfeeding period. By supplementing the essential nutrients during pregnancy, mothers can meet the health needs of both themselves and their babies!


First trimester: Conception to 12 weeks

During the early stages of pregnancy, the baby's calorie requirements are not high. However, the brain and nervous system, as well as the heart, undergo rapid development. Therefore, there is no need for a significant increase in calorie intake during this period. Instead, it is important to maintain a balanced diet and ensure an adequate intake of essential nutrients. Excessive weight gain during early pregnancy should be avoided to minimize the risks associated with later stages of childbirth.


1. Folic acid(Vitamin B9)

Folic acid, one of the B-vitamins, is essential for maintaining the normal development of the fetus and forms the foundation of a baby's health. It is also one of the most crucial nutrients to focus on during the early stages of pregnancy.

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare's nutrition survey for pregnant women, there is a widespread deficiency of folate and various vitamins among pregnant women in the country. Folate plays a vital role in normal cell division and DNA synthesis. A deficiency in folate could potentially affect the development of the baby's brain and central nervous system.

Expectant mothers require a slightly higher daily intake compared to the average adult, with a recommended daily intake of about 600 micrograms. For pregnant women who experience morning sickness leading to poor appetite or those who frequently rely on outside food and struggle to meet their daily nutritional needs, it is advisable to choose a comprehensive multivitamin supplement that contains sufficient folate and B-vitamins to compensate for the deficiencies.


2. Iron

Are you experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, excessive sleepiness, or dizziness and headaches during pregnancy? It could be due to "iron-deficiency anemia" caused by a lack of iron!

Iron is crucial for transporting oxygen to the baby, preventing maternal anemia, and supporting overall baby and placental health. The gentler glycinate form ensures better stomach tolerance and improved absorption.*

During pregnancy, the demand for iron increases significantly. As the baby grows, the mother's blood circulation also increases to transport sufficient nutrients to the developing fetus. If there is an iron deficiency in the early stages of pregnancy, the blood may not be able to carry enough oxygen, leading to "iron-deficiency anemia." Consuming an adequate amount of iron during pregnancy not only promotes the normal growth and brain development of the fetus but also prevents expectant mothers from experiencing iron-deficiency anemia and postpartum anemia.

It's important for mothers to note that if they are concerned about experiencing discomfort in the stomach or irregular bowel movements after consuming iron supplements, they can choose iron supplements that are easier to absorb. For example, they can opt for patented amino acid chelated iron, which has a absorption rate exceeding 90%.


3. Vitamin B12

When the mother's body lacks vitamin B12, it can potentially lead to neural tube defects in the fetus. Foods rich in vitamin B12 are primarily from animal sources, with liver, meat, dairy products, and eggs being some of the most abundant sources. For vegetarians, especially vegans, it's essential to pay special attention to vitamin B12 supplementation. It is recommended that pregnant and lactating women following a vegan diet consume foods such as seaweed, red algae, and nutritional yeast fortified with vitamin B12 to ensure an adequate intake of this essential nutrient.


Second trimester: 13 to 27 weeks

During the period between the 4th and 7th months of pregnancy, the fetus undergoes rapid growth. Organs gradually develop, and the baby's weight increases, making this a crucial period for healthy development. In addition to ensuring a balanced diet and maintaining the intake of folic acid and iron, expectant mothers need to increase the consumption of various nutrients such as DHA, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D during mid-pregnancy. These nutrients help promote the healthy development of the baby's bones and overall well-being.


1. Calcium

During the mid-pregnancy stage, the baby begins to extract a significant amount of calcium from the mother's body. If calcium intake is insufficient, the body will draw calcium from the mother's bones and teeth, leading to conditions such as leg cramps at night and poor sleep quality. In severe cases, it can even result in osteoporosis in later years. Therefore, apart from supporting the baby's bone growth and development, consuming an adequate amount of calcium not only helps maintain normal bodily functions but also regulates physiological processes and improves the sleep quality of expectant mothers.


2. Vitamin D

According to research conducted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, 43.5% of women aged 20 to 49 in our country are deficient in vitamin D. The main reasons for vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women in Taiwan are insufficient daily exposure to sunlight, sometimes even none at all, and inadequate consumption of foods rich in vitamin D.

Vitamin D, also known as the "sunshine vitamin," can be synthesized by the body through exposure to sunlight. It can also be obtained through dietary sources. Adequate supplementation of vitamin D during pregnancy not only enhances calcium absorption but also promotes the growth and development of the baby's bones and teeth. Additionally, it can reduce the risk of premature birth (birth before 37 weeks), maternal hypertension, and low birth weight in newborns (weighing less than 2500g).


3. Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA and EPA, play a crucial role in maintaining the health of expectant mothers and babies. These fatty acids are helpful in enhancing cognitive function, promoting smooth circulation, and boosting metabolism. They are essential nutrients for the growth and development of the baby.

Fish oil is rich in DHA and EPA, making it a suitable supplement for mothers who consume meat. For vegetarian mothers, there is no need to worry. Those following a vegetarian diet can choose to supplement with algae oil or Inca Inchi oil, which are plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.


Here's a reminder from the nutritionist for expectant mothers:

EPA has the ability to inhibit platelet aggregation. It is recommended to pause EPA supplementation until the 32nd week of pregnancy. If you wish to continue taking it, it's advisable to consult an obstetrician-gynecologist first!



Third trimester: 28 to 40 weeks

From the seventh month of pregnancy until the baby is born, the fetus continues to grow, and mothers need to ensure they are getting sufficient nutrition. In addition to continuing the supplementation of folic acid, DHA, iron, calcium, and vitamin D, it is recommended that mothers increase their intake of probiotics during the later stages of pregnancy. Ensuring a balanced diet and proper supplementation will help mothers smoothly navigate through the entire pregnancy period.


1. Collagen

Collagen plays a role in supporting the structure of the skin, maintaining skin elasticity, tightening the skin, and aiding in normal bone development. During pregnancy, a significant amount of collagen is lost from the body to provide enough nutrition for the baby. This loss can lead to dull and less elastic skin. Additionally, the expansion of the belly during pregnancy, coupled with insufficient collagen, can result in the formation of stretch marks. Collagen also acts as a lubricant between the bones, and its deficiency can make movement less flexible and joints prone to stiffness. Therefore, expectant mothers need to supplement with suitable collagen specifically designed for pregnant women to ensure adequate intake.


In addition to simple collagen supplementation, it is recommended to choose collagen supplements that contain berry extracts, which can be particularly helpful for intimate care! For expectant mothers facing such concerns, it's advisable to select collagen supplements that suit their individual needs and conditions.


2. Probiotics

As the weeks of pregnancy progress, expectant mothers may experience irregular bowel movements and find it challenging to maintain their physical health. Supplementing with probiotics in moderation can be helpful in promoting smooth bowel movements.

The primary consideration when choosing probiotics is their sugar content! Commercially available probiotics may contain excessive sugar, so expectant mothers need to be cautious. Before purchasing probiotics, it's important to check the sugar content in the ingredient list to avoid consuming excessive sugar. In addition to store-bought products, probiotics can also be obtained from foods such as yogurt and fermented milk. However, it's essential to be mindful! Consuming foods high in oil, salt, or spice can reduce the absorption of probiotics. It's best for mothers to avoid such foods as much as possible!


Choose Prenatal Supplements Wisely to Provide Mama with the Most Comprehensive Nutrition During Pregnancy

Many expectant mothers may find it challenging to obtain sufficient nutrients through their daily diet due to pregnancy discomfort and loss of appetite. During this time, it is advisable for mothers to consider using suitable supplements designed for pregnant women, such as folic acid, iron, B vitamins, DHA, and other supplements. These supplements can complement dietary strategies and provide comprehensive nutrition during pregnancy, aiding in the baby's development.


The market is flooded with a variety of supplements for expectant mothers, making it quite overwhelming to choose the right ones. Below are some principles for selecting prenatal supplements to help mothers achieve a more balanced diet:


1. Consultation with Healthcare Provider:

Always consult with a healthcare provider, preferably an obstetrician or a registered dietitian, before choosing any supplements. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific needs and health condition.


2. Essential Nutrients:

Look for supplements that contain essential nutrients for pregnancy, such as folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, DHA (omega-3 fatty acid), and other B vitamins. These nutrients are crucial for the baby's development and the mother's health.


3. No Harmful Additives:

Check the ingredient list to ensure that the supplements do not contain any harmful additives, preservatives, artificial colors, or flavors. Opt for natural and clean formulations.


4. Easy Absorption:

Choose supplements with forms of nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body. For example, choose methylated forms of folate (like L-methylfolate) for better absorption.


5. Third-Party Testing:

Look for supplements from reputable brands that undergo third-party testing for quality and purity. This ensures that the supplements meet high standards of quality and safety.


6. Avoid Overdosing:

Be cautious about taking multiple supplements that provide the same nutrients, as overdosing on certain vitamins and minerals can be harmful. Pay attention to the total intake from all sources, including your diet.


7. Tailored to Dietary Needs:

If you follow a specific diet (such as vegetarian or vegan), choose supplements that cater to your dietary preferences. There are prenatal supplements designed specifically for vegetarians and vegans.


8. Tolerability:

Consider the form of the supplement. For example, if you have difficulty swallowing pills, look for supplements in the form of chewable tablets, gummies, or liquid.


9. Regular Monitoring:

Even with supplements, it's important to monitor your overall diet. Supplements should complement a balanced diet, not replace it entirely.


Always remember that individual needs can vary, so what works for one person might not work for another. Consulting a healthcare professional is crucial to determine the right supplements tailored to your specific requirements and health status.


Hope expectant mothers who have read this article have gained a better understanding of suitable prenatal supplements for different stages of pregnancy. During the period of pregnancy, every dietary and supplement choice for expectant mothers is crucial. If you want to learn more about how to choose supplements that are rich in nutrients, you can refer to the prenatal supplements guide prepared by the nutritionist. This will help expectant mothers understand how to balance nutrient intake, support the baby's growth and development, and simultaneously prioritize maternal well-being and health.


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