My Pregnancy Pills - Vitamins and Supplements I'm Popping this Time 'Round



I wanted to share a few of the ways I've been taking care of myself physically this pregnancy. It's been tough, it is for most women especially in the first trimester, but doing what we can to care for and honor our bodies to the best of our ability is important for us and our babies. And I thank God for the ways that He's made our bodies strong and smart enough to overcome our limitations and weaknesses. I've actually been fairly good about eating well, despite the crazy nausea of the first few months. Not perfect but I've learned how important it is to pound protein, limit the refined carbs and junk, and gag down real foods versus the stuff that seems satisfying in the moment but then leaves me sicker than before. I've also been around the block a few times and have learned a thing or two about supplements.

First, I really do believe that the best way to get the nutrients we need is through quality food, water, and the sun, despite the amount of bottles listed below. But the reality is that none of our diets are perfect, budget and culture limits grocery selection, current farming and food production compromises nutrition, and where we live can determine what food and the amount of sun we have access to. And sometimes regardless of our best efforts, we still are deficient in necessary vitamins and minerals. Also, original sin affects all that, too. Our bodies sometimes need extra help and it's good to realize and respond to that. Pregnancy is hard enough without symptoms from nutritional deficiencies added on top!

So here are the things that I've found most beneficial for me during my pregnancies.

Note: None of this should obviously replace your own research, be seen as medical advice, or substitute for care from a good, evidence-based provider.


1. Vitamin B12


I've written about this a little before but taking a megadose of Vitamin B12 during pregnancy has been life-changing for me. In my first three full term pregnancies, I would have debilitating dizziness, lightheadedness (especially in the morning or at Mass), dangerous nosebleeds, heart palpitations, and even blackouts. It was just my "normal" and written off as just part of pregnancy. During Luke's pregnancy, my midwife (new to me that pregnancy) helped me figure out that it was related to a B12 deficiency. Apparently this is super common but often overlooked. B12 is necessary for blood production and since blood volume increases 50% when pregnant, a deficiency in B12 can make the heart have to work a bit harder and this will be especially pronounced in women with normally low blood pressure. (At least, that's my layman's understanding!) I've known several women with similar symptoms whose providers begin to freak out a bit at the heart racing issue and want to order all sorts of medications and invasive testing and birth interventions...they try the B12  and it clears it all right up. I now take B12 every morning and the last three pregnancies have been worlds different at least with those symptoms. They show up very very rarely and when they do, it is only a momentary dizziness versus the hours it was before. From what I understand, methyl B12 is far superior to the more common cyanocobalamin B12 so that's what I've been taking. I'm not an expert on the differences, though, so do your research :)

2. Magnesium


Ah, I could sing the praises of magnesium. Along with B12 and iron, I would say it's one of the most common deficiencies in pregnancy. Not enough magnesium can mean headaches, muscle cramps and restless legs (the WORST), bad sleep, "morning" sickness, anxiety and depression, and blood pressure issues. After looking into it, I found that magnesium glycinate specifically would help the best with the muscle and nerve issues that drive me absolutely crazy when pregnant. And that seems to be holding true (fingers crossed). Natural Calm is often highly recommended for pregnancy and I took that last time. It did help but I'm finding that the magnesium glycinate seems to be more effective for me for the restless legs than the Natural Calm. Plus, I much prefer taking two pills to drinking that stuff (it's a flavored powder that gets mixed into water). But I know many women have great success with that, too, and if swallowing pills is gag-worthy for you (definitely me in the first tri) then it might be a good option.

3. Iron


Anemia is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies for pregnant women and has been for me in the past, too. While I do eat a good deal of iron-rich foods and cook every day in cast iron, I've also been taking this Blood Builder supplement. I like that it's food-derived and therefore doesn't cause any intestinal issues like the synthetic iron supplements.

4. Fish Oil

The evidence on the benefits of fish oil for any person's overall health and especially for a developing baby and infant's brain is well established. And since I'm not in an area that has great quality seafood and don't eat a whole lot of it anyway, I know it's a good thing for me to supplement. In the past, I bought the one my old doctor recommended but in recent years I've cheaped out a bit on fish oil or neglected it altogether. My midwife reminded me of its importance and really recommended taking a good quality one as the cheapos can have issues with toxins or even mercury. So I ordered and have been taking this one. There is no fishy taste, it goes down easily, and it's not super pricey.

5. Vitamin D


Vitamin D is one of my best friends during the long long winter months. If you're blessed to live in a place where you can get adequate sunshine all year long, you probably don't need extra vitamin D. A few minutes of your skin absorbing sunlight is the most efficient (and fun!) way to get vitamin D in. But for those of us in colder climates where the sun and warmth hides for months on end, it can be really important to supplement. I take this even when not pregnant as I can get really depressed during the winter months and this makes a HUGE difference. Vitamin D is essential for mental health and mood. AND...it's been shown to be really important for labor and birth! Low vitamin D levels have been shown to lead to preterm birth and more painful labor!  This one is a good one and contains a good amount. 

6. A Good Probiotic


We now know that probiotics are really really important for maintaining not only overall health but are passed on from a mother to baby during birth and breastfeeding. We also now know that a good probiotic can prevent a positive Group Beta Strep test or even reverse it! Experienced moms know that a positive GBS test can mean antibiotics and an IV during labor which is a huge pain and then compromises the GOOD bacteria that is supposed to be passed to baby. Good bacteria in baby means better digestion, less colic and gas, less thrush, and better overall immunity and health. So if a mom can do what she can to promote good bacteria in her body, it's a really great idea.

In the past I've taken the Garden of Life vaginal care supplement but they were recently bought out by Nestle which is a huge bummer since Nestle hasn't been known in the past for ethical business practices or quality production. A lot of people are worried that their quality will be compromised and don't want to support Nestle. Florajen 3 is one of the other ones my midwife recommends but in full disclosure I haven't tried it yet!

7. Vitamin C


Since the immune system weakens during pregnancy and it's the middle of winter and there seems to be more influenza going around, I've been making sure to take extra vitamin C. So far, neither the kids or I haven't gotten very sick. We've also been semi-hermity and extra cautious the past few months so I think that's helped, too. Honestly, not that I'm super expert on vitamins and supplements or anything, but I'm not super picky about vitamin C. (Feel free to school me in the comments if there's a reason I should be.) I've been taking the one from Trader Joe's and think it's fine and is inexpensive. (But here's one from Amazon that looks good.) I probably wouldn't worry too much about taking vitamin C if it weren't winter with so much stuff going around but I really really really don't want to catch something.

So there they are, all my pills! Again, this is what I've found to be most helpful through lots of trial and error and for my own body and symptoms. Feel free to share anything that's been helpful for you during pregnancy in the comments!


(All Amazon links are affiliate links.)

Linking up with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes!

6 comments

  1. I wanted to let you know the vitamin d link is incorrect. Do you take these supplements with a prenatal or instead of a prenatal? My doctor said b6 would help the morning sickness, but it sounds like b vitamins in general help, especially b12. Thank you for list!

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    1. Oh, thank you! Just fixed it. I've tried extra B6 for nausea but never noticed a huge change for me. It is often suggested and prescribed so maybe it works for some women!

      I don't usually take a general prenatal. The last few pregnancies I felt better about just watching my diet and then supplementing things specifically. So many of the prenatals just don't have enough of the things I specifically need. I did try a prenatal liquid vitamin at the beginning of this one because it had enough food-based iron to be used for that but also a lot of the reviews glowed about it really helping with nausea. I didn't find that true for me, unfortunately! But I did like that it was easier to drink that some days than swallow a pill. Once I ran out of that, though, I switched back to the blood builder.

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  2. Your supplement line up is almost identical to mine! Love it! I will mention that most vitamin C supplements are corn derived, which means they are GMO, as virtually all corn in this country is GMO to one extent or another. Might be something to look into if that concerns you. :) I’m loving following along with you this pregnancy, as I’m due in June. Congratulations again on your new little one!

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    1. Oh that's good to know, thank you! I think the one I linked to says that it's non-GMO but I doubt the TJ's one is. Maybe I'll grab the other one when this bottle runs out. And congratulations to you, too!

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  3. I love this list! I should have done all these while pregnant but learned the hard way with a terrible postpartum time.. where I felt terrible physically and mentally until about 3 weeks ago when i started to faithful take all of these as well as a good probiotic! You are setting yourself up for success postpartum!!

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    1. I sure hope so :) I'm glad you're doing better now but so sorry the postpartum time was hard! It's already hard enough without extra health stuff thrown in.

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