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Pregnancy and Postpartum Support

Also indexed as:Pregnancy, Postnatal, Prenatal
Enjoy a happy, healthy pregnancy. A healthy baby begins with a healthy mom, so start as soon as possible to prepare your body and mind for motherhood. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary "Star-Rating" system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

SupplementAmountWhy
Folic Acid
800 mcg daily, beginning before pregnancy3 stars[3 stars]
Supplementing with folic acid protects against the formation of birth defects, such as spina bifida. It also may lead to fewer infections for mothers and higher birth weight for babies.
Iodine
Refer to label instructions 3 stars[3 stars]
Iodine is an essential nutrient for the development of the fetal thyroid gland which, in turn, is important for brain development.
Biotin
Use a prenatal supplement that includes biotin2 stars[2 stars]
Biotin deficiency may occur in as many as 50% of pregnant women. A prenatal multiple vitamin and mineral formula that contains biotin may help prevent a deficiency.
Calcium
Obtain a total of 1,500 to 2,000 mg daily, including both supplement and food sources2 stars[2 stars]
Calcium needs double during pregnancy. Supplementing with calcium may reduce the risk of preeclampsia and pre-term delivery and improve the bone strength of the fetus.
Fish Oil
2.7 to 6.1 mg daily of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA plus DHA)2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with fish oil (providing the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA) significantly reduced recurrence of premature delivery, according to one analysis.
Fish Oil

(Prenatal Growth)
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
The DHA found in fish oil is essential for the development of the visual system in infants.
Iron
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
Iron requirements increase during pregnancy, making iron deficiency in pregnancy quite common. Supplementation may help prevent a deficiency.
Magnesium

(Leg cramps)
100 mg of magnesium three times per day for four weeks2 stars[2 stars]
Some, though not all, research suggests that supplementing with magnesium may improve pregnancy-induced leg cramps.
SAMe

(Cholestasis)
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) supplementation has been shown to aid in the resolution of blocked bile flow (cholestasis), an occasional complication of pregnancy.82, 83
Vitamin B6

(High Homocysteine)
750 mg daily taken under the supervision of a doctor2 stars[2 stars]
Women who habitually miscarry have been found to have high homocysteine levels. Vitamin B6 may reduce these levels and increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Vitamin C
100 mg daily2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with vitamin C during pregnancy may reduce the risk of premature rupture of membranes (PROM) and may improve lung function in the child.
Zinc
Use a prenatal supplement that includes zinc2 stars[2 stars]
In one study, women who used a zinc-containing nutritional supplement before and after conception had a 36% decreased chance of having a baby with a neural tube defect.
Dandelion
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Dandelion is a tonic herb, believed to strengthen or invigorate organ systems. A rich source of vitamins and minerals, it promotes urine and bile flow and helps with the common digestive complaints of pregnancy.
Goat's Rue
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Goat's rue has a history of use in Europe for supporting breast-feeding. Taking goat's rue tincture may be helpful in increasing milk volume.
Nettle
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Nettle leaf is rich in calcium and iron and is mildly diuretic. It enriches and increases the flow of breast milk and restores the mother's energy following childbirth.
Pycnogenol
30 mg per day 1 star[1 star]
In a controlled study, pregnant women who took Pycnogenol reported some relief of pain in the legs, pelvis, hip, and low back.
Red Raspberry
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Rich in vitamins and minerals, red raspberry is traditionally used to strengthen and invigorate the uterus, increase milk flow, and restore the mother's system after childbirth.
Sage
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Sage has traditionally been used to dry up milk production when a woman no longer wishes to breast-feed.
Vitex
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Vitex is one of the best recognized herbs in Europe for promoting lactation. One trial found that vitex tincture could increase the amount of milk produced by mothers with or without pregnancy complications.

Copyright 2014 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Aisle7.com

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

 
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