Dr. Szmuc explains which supplements a woman should take during pregnancy and discusses if women should avoid herbal supplements during pregnancy.
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Good and Bad Food Supplements for Pregnant Women The supplements that one should take in pregnancy include the prenatal vitamin. Now the prenatal vitamin gives you what you need if you are not eating an adequate diet. In addition, the folic acid in prenatal vitamin is important especially in the first trimester where your baby’s spinal cord is developing. That’s critical. It’s been shown that the folic acid in the prenatal will decrease the incidents of these birth defects of the spinal cord. In addition, we ask patients if they are trying to get pregnant, to use the prenatal vitamins for the folic acid supplement that it contains. In addition to the prenatal, calcium supplementation is important. A normal prenatal vitamin has about 200 milligrams of calcium whereby a pregnant lady needs about 1000 milligrams a day. You can get calcium in milk, cheese and eggs. However, many patients that I see do not drink milk or do much cheese or eggs. So I ask them to count how many mg a day of calcium they are actually getting and if they need more the cheapest and easiest way to get it is through TUMS, over-the-counter. So if your stomach is upset also TUMS has two-fold benefit for you. In addition, there’s a lot of new interest in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. Recently there has been some study showing that if you take DHA in the third trimester, your baby’s neural or brain development is enhanced. There’s no specific recommendation right now to do that or not do it because DHA is found in milk, cheese and eggs also, but it doesn’t hurt if you take a supplement of DHA somewhere about 200 milligrams a day. Herbs are an area that has not been studied in any great detail. So there’s no recommendation to take herbs or not take them because if you did take them, we don’t know the adverse effect. So, we advise you not to take herbs in pregnancy.