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    Month 4 Gender Reveal and Best Prenatal Vitamins and Supplements

    We’re officially 4 months pregnant, and going into month 5! I’m happy to be well beyond the morning sickness and fatigue. 

    And guess what… we found out that it’s a GIRL!

    We are both happy to be able to say things like, “I think you woke her up!” or, “She’s going to love you so much!” 

    Ross really wanted a boy to throw a football with and to ride roller coasters with, but I assured him that he can do those things with a girl too. He’s happy. I want both a girl and a boy eventually, so I’m happy either way.

    Now that we know she’s a she, I’m having a lot of fun adding baby girl clothes to my registry. 

    I’m going to stick with organic, or second-hand clothes as much as possible, to avoid chemicals. I’m really liking Burt’s Bees Organic Baby Clothes, they seem to be the biggest provider of affordable organic baby clothes on Amazon’s baby registry. And one of our friends brought over a whole pile of baby and toddler clothes last week, which was a major dose of reality! I love this one…

     

    Anyways, let’s get onto some details about nutrition for pregnancy…

    This is also a great resource for women who are not fertile and want to become fertile, or those who are preparing their bodies for pregnancy. The sooner you start getting your body full of these essential nutrients, the sooner your body will be able to have a healthy baby!

     

    Pregnancy Nutrition

    Because of my history with Chronic Lyme and Rheumatoid Arthritis, I wanted to be really careful to get enough nutrients for this baby and for myself.

    I know that it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the information on vitamins and supplements, so I thought I’d provide some perspective in this area by sharing what I’m doing.

    I already eat a well-rounded nutrient-dense diet of proteins, fats and carbs, including:

    • Bone broth
    • Sprouted beans and grains
    • Fermented foods (like coconut kefir)
    • Veggies and fruits
    • Grass-fed meats
    • Wild-caught fish
    • Pasture-raised chicken

    So, all I wanted to change was to add a little more fat and protein, more dark greens, and some extra vitamins and supplements. 

    I’m not going to give you exact RDA’s when it comes to supplementation. Everyone eats differently, so where you get your RDA’s is going to differ from me. If you’re looking for pregnancy recommended daily amounts, I would turn to the Weston A Price Foundation’s pregnancy nutrition information for more info. The FDA is, in my opinion, too low in their RDA’s. WAPF is a better resource to turn to for pregnancy nutrition because it looks into historically successful and nutrient-dense diets for mothers.

    Here is a brief overview of the pregnancy supplementation that I’m doing… This should be in addition to a well rounded nutrient-dense diet, not a substitution!

    Prenatal Vitamins

    I began taking prenatal vitamins within the first week of finding out. I already knew which brand I was going to take because my sister and sister-in-law had both asked my thoughts on a good brand of vitamins for their pregnancies. I had reviewed the ingredient labels of all the popular natural brands and decided on Garden of Life – Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal.

    Gag Reflex!

    I took this one for the first four months. It was difficult, to be honest. I gagged on the pills a few times because they float in your mouth, and they had the essence of cardboard on them. I’ve heard this is a similar problem with many other pregnant women.

    So…

    I just switched to the Garden of Life – mykind Organics – Prenatal Gummies. At first it was for a bit of a silly reason: one of my strongest cravings so far has been fruit gummies! And these are really delicious gummies.

    (By the way, I do have the whole pickle craving thing going on. And no, I don’t eat them with ice cream! Although once I did have some Coconut Bliss and then craved for a pickle right after!)

    Anyways, now I like this gummy version of the Garden of Life Prenatals better because I don’t have to force myself to take them, they’re less expensive, and the vitamins and minerals are even more naturally sourced from real foods. Problem is, now I want to eat way more than the recommended daily dose… Yum!

    Second Choice Brands:

    There were obvious second runners, like New Chapter and MegaFood. However, I found some ingredients in those that were not ideal for me, and I found ingredients in Garden of Life that went above and beyond the basics, which I wanted to include in my supplementation.

    Folate vs. Folic Acid

    Whatever brand you choose, make sure your’s has folate, instead of folic acid. This is becoming fairly standard, especially among the natural and organic vitamin brands. Folate is the natural form, while folic acid is the synthetic form. Nutrition Experts and Researchers are finding that some people cannot absorb the folic acid form, which can lead to numerous health complications and may not be best for the health of the mother and baby. 

    Secondly, make sure your brand is Certified Organic. Many of these vitamins use concentrated fruit and vegetable purees and powders, which means that if they aren’t organic, they contain pesticide concentrates as well! Since we know pesticides can lead to immune dysfunction, hormone dysregulation, neurodegeneration and kidney and liver failure, we want to avoid those.

    Probiotics

    Right now I’m taking Hyperbiotics PRO-Moms, one capsule daily. I want to make sure my microbiome is as healthy as I can get it before the birth. Because this was a surprise pregnancy, I didn’t have a chance to do another parasite cleanse and Lyme cleanse before conception, or work on building up more of my healthy microbiome.

    So, I have to do the best I can with what’s safe and available. One way is to make sure I take the highest quality probiotic I can find.  I like Hyperbiotics because I know they use microbes that are native to our human body, and they also use a new, safe and natural method within the tablet that allows the microbes to survive the stomach acid and arrive in the small intestine.  There was a definite change in texture and frequency of my bowels for a few days, then it normalized again.

    I’m also eating lots of fermented foods like sauerkraut, coconut kefir and caffeine-free herbal kombucha. I am about to order some ferments from Real Food Devotee.

    Vaginal “Implants” and Skin-To-Skin

    I’ll also be doing a few shallow vaginal implants with kefir water and yogurt well before the birth date. This will make sure to inoculate the birth canal after several years of various birth control methods, which cause an imbalance in the birth canal. I will also use some kefir and yogurt on my skin to replenish the microbiome there.

    Another funny thing I like to do is get as much skin-to-skin contact with my mom as I can. I know that this sounds a little strange… What I mean is that I’ll give my mom lots of hugs and kisses, and when we’re sitting watching TV, I’ll snuggle up to her with a tank top on, so our arms touch. It’s become a habit to do this more often with her, ever since I learned that we pass our microbiome to our children through skin-to-skin contact. Since my mom is so healthy, I try to get some of her’s as often as possible!

    Cod Liver Oil

    This is an essential supplement for pregnancy because it contains Vitamin A, Vitamin D, DHA, EPA all in one place.

    I take Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil (Lemon Flavored) 2 teaspoons per day. I like this brand because I tested strong with it on muscle testing, and my intuition tells me it’s good for me. However, if I had the budget I would opt for Rosita’s Raw Cod Liver Oil. It would be the superior quality brand to take.

    Please do not be fooled when you see “Vitamin A” listed as a vitamin on plant foods. That is actually Beta Carotene, which needs to be converted into Vitamin A by your body. Conversion rates are inefficient and you will end up getting far less Vitamin A than is actually listed on the ingredient label.

    Dessicated Liver

    Liver is a food that everyone who has chronic illness could benefit from. Liver used to be a staple food for humans, before we forgot that our food choices keep us healthy. Liver is one of nature’s most concentrated sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin C Vitamin D, minerals, amino acids and healthy fats. These are all nutrients we need more of.

    I’ve been taking liver on and off for years. I take this brand now, and I take 3 pills per day. Make sure the one you get is “undefatted” and from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals. You don’t want to mis out on the good fats.

    Dessicated Adrenal

    I also believe that adrenal is an essential nutrient for most of us with chronic illness. I’ve been taking it for years to help me recover from my body’s cortisol and adrenaline dependency on prednisone. I’ve also been taking it now for pregnancy, at about 3 capsules per day of this brand. You can learn more about the importance of organ meats from Sarah Ballantyne, aka “The Paleo Mom” here.

     

     

    Magnesium

    I did have some moderate nausea, or morning sickness, in the first trimester. I never threw up from morning sickness though. 

    I had read this article on morning sickness and magnesium deficiency a few years ago, so I read it again. I started oral magnesium citrate right away because that was all I had. To be honest, I went overboard and it ended up cleansing my bowels!

    Since then I’m still taking it, but not for morning sickness anymore. That ship has sailed and it didn’t really help me for that anyways. I’m taking it now because it is a great mineral to get more of when pregnant, and it also helps keep things moving along. My intestines are pushed into all different places now, and I feel really “off” some days, if you know what I mean. The magnesium really helps keep me normal everyday.

     

    Vitamin C

    Vitamin C is one of those vitamins that you can never get too much of. Our bodies use it up so quickly to detoxify and repair tissue in this modern age.

    Your body also uses it in conjunction with amino acids to build collagen and tissue, which is exactly what I need right now. I’m building another little being, after all!

    I’m alternating two kinds right now: Healthforce Nutritionals and Nature’s Way. There are many different kinds available, and you may have found one that you like better, or think works better. That is fine. These are what work for me right now. 

     

    Collagen Protein

    I’ve always been deficient in collagen because of the Rheumatoid Arthritis since age 11. I have been supplementing with grass-fed collage in my smoothies a few times per week, but I never get the full serving size because I don’t like the texture.

    So now that I’m pregnant, I need to be taking the full serving size, every day. I’m getting it in by dividing the serving size between a delicious Chocolate Milk and my Blueberry Shake (another recent and insatiable craving). 

     

    Bee Pollen

    Bee pollen is something I’ve always taken because it does really good things to my body’s energy levels. This isn’t a common suggestion for pregnancy, but I wanted to include it so that you got the full picture of everything I’m eating.

    I add bee pollen because of the variety of B Vitamins, enzymes and amino acids that it contains. I really enjoy the flavor when I sprinkle it on top of my smoothies, as you’ll see in my instagram feed!

     

    Spirulina

    This is actually one supplement that I’m not taking consistently right now, but I know that I need to be.

    I’m taking a supergreen powder right now instead, which is not a bad substitute at all. But I want to take Spirulina for the B12, antioxidants, and amino acid profile. I have been taking Spirulina on and off in the past, with a lot of improvements from it. I could feel it giving me energy within a few hours, especially back when I was very ill. 

     

    Healthy Perspective

    It is an effort to get these in everyday, so I don’t worry if I miss a day here or there. It’s not going to harm you or the baby to miss some days of vitamins and supplements.

    I do keep them all in one place next to our water filter, so I can take them in the morning while my cup of tea is boiling. That helps me keep track.

    But in general, I do the best that I can, and then go on and live my life!

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    I hope this overview helped you decide on how to approach your prenatal supplements and diet. Please feel free to ask me questions in the comments below. And please share your thoughts on supplementation as well!

    Keep taking back your health,
    Robin

     

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