Prenatal Supplements

As explained in the book, supporting infant brain development starts with making sure you are getting the right nutrients during pregnancy.

A good-quality prenatal multivitamin and a nutritous diet will go a long way toward that goal, but there are likely still a few key nutrients that you will have to supplement separately.

Read on for my top recommendations for choosing a prenatal and the additional supplements you may need during pregnancy to support brain development.

  Remember to check with your doctor before adding any new supplements.

What to Look for in a Prenatal

  • Choose a prenatal containing methylfolate rather than synthetic folic acid, ideally 800 to 1000 micrograms.
  • Check that your prenatal contains at least 150 micrograms of iodine. If it does not, use iodized salt and eat fish or dairy regularly.
  • Recommended brands: Mama Bird AM/PMThorne Basic Prenatal, UK: Naturelo

Additional Supplements to Support Brain Development During Pregnancy

1. Choline

  • Unless you eat eggs on a daily basis, supplement with 300-500 mg per day, whether as part of your prenatal or as a standalone supplement.
  • Prenatal containing sufficient choline: Mama Bird AM/PM, OR, if
  • OR: separate choline supplement: Solgar Choline

2. Vitamin D

  • The optimal vitamin D level for preventing preterm birth is likely at least 40 ng/ml.
  • Many women will need to supplement with 5000 IU per day to reach that level.
  • Look for a soft gel or liquid version containing vitamin D3.
  • Good brands to consider: Doctor’s Best, Seeking Health
  • Seeking Health Optimal D3 Liquid seems to be among the most effective brands for addressing vitamin D deficiency.  It has 2000 IU per drop. One option is to start with 3 drops per day for two weeks (i.e. 6000 IU), then reduce to 2 drops per day (i.e. 4000 IU).

3. Fish oil/ Omega-3 Fatty Acids

4. Iron

  • Most women will get enough iron from their diet and prenatal multivitamin, so there is no need to take a separate iron supplement unless blood tests suggest a deficiency. (Getting tested for anemia in the third trimester is important!)
  • If you are anemic and your doctor recommends taking additional iron, look for iron bisglycinate, a form with fewer digestive side effects.
  • Recommended brands: Solgar Gentle Iron , Thorne Iron Bisglycinate

5. Probiotics

  • As will be discussed in Chapter 17, adding a probiotic during pregnancy is optional, but may help to reduce inflammation and support a healthy microbiome for your baby.  For that purpose, one good choice is L. rhamnosus GG, found in Culturelle.
  • In the third trimester, certain strains are helpful to reduce the odds of testing positive for Group B streptococcus and therefore requiring antibiotics at delivery. These strains are: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14, found in Jarrow FemdophilusRephresh ProB and Metagenics Ultra Flora Women’s.

For more updates on the book’s official release, sign up for email updates,  or join my pregnancy facebook group.

Join My Email List