Supplements in Pregnancy: What should you take?

Nutrition is a very important factor for women not only during their pregnancies but during their postpartum period as well. The state of nutrition a woman is in during pregnancy and postpartum can have drastic effects on a woman’s health and the growth and development of her child. It is so crucial for pregnant and postpartum women to consume a variety of healthy and nutritional foods in order to meet their increased demands due to the physiological changes their bodies go through while carrying a child. Obtaining the right amount of nutrients from just the foods women eat alone may not be sufficient, therefore nutritional supplements can be of great use during childbearing in women. However, have you ever wondered what effects certain nutritional supplements may have on your body, specifically during childbearing? Let's dive deeper into the different effects different supplements can have on women during pregnancy and postpartum. 

Creatine Supplementation During Pregnancy

Not only is creatine proven to increase muscle mass and performance, prevent muscle withering due to certain diseases or health implications, and improve muscle recovery, it also has great results when it comes to strengthening cellular activity. By increasing your creatine tissue levels through dietary supplementation, creatine can work to preserve the energy levels in your tissues and prevent oxidative stress, in turn preventing tissue injury that can be instigated by oxygen deficiency and circulatory crumbling. The dephosphorylation of creatine not only generates more ATP, but employs free protons and ADP in order to prevent intracellular pH falls and help to stabilize the mitochondrial membrane potential. An article from the BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth based upon the experimental studies of creatine supplementation during pregnancy, has said that creatine supplementation can improve fetal and neonatal morbidity and reduce mortality in high-risk human pregnancies. Because of creatine’s modulatory effects on glutamate and GABA-A receptor systems, which raise the brink for excitotoxicity in the brain, creatine’s effects can work to protect damage to the brain and other organs. Oxygen deficiencies, inflammation, and oxidative stress are common factors that occur during pregnancies and that influence the brain and other very important organ systems, causing these organ systems to be susceptible to damage during birth, particularly preterm birth. Creatine has been said to act as a therapy or companion to traditional treatments in order to prevent disease when preterm labor is likely to occur. 

BCAA Supplementation During Pregnancy

You may already know that BCAAs are the most abundant amino acids found in muscle tissue, and are the most readily absorbed group of amino acids. Our bodies store and utilize over 20 different amino acids. BCAA supplementation can increase glucose regulation in the body leading to muscle tissue building and repair. They can also increase protein synthesis and reduce overall fatigue during workouts. However, are there any risk of taking BCAA supplements for pregnant women you may be wondering? BCAAs are a very crucial energy source for the growing fetus in pregnant women. An article from the BMC once again found in a study that changes in BCAA levels and other metabolite levels detected in the urine of pregnant women were able to be linked to approximately 12% of the variation seen in birth weight of the fetus, independent of other predictors such as smoking, alcohol intake, and the parent’s own weight. This specific article can be found by clicking here. Another study from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health states that the consumption of BCAA’s during pregnancy can cause abnormal fetal placental growth (click here to view this article). BCAA supplementation has also been found to interfere with blood glucose levels during and after surgeries, according to WebMD. Therefore, it has been recommended by trustworthy and timely health and medical news and information sites not to take BCAA supplements during pregnancy due to their unwarranted effects. 

Protein Supplementation During Pregnancy

The mother’s diet during her pregnancy is a huge factor when it comes to adequate fetal growth, and the amount of protein that makes up the mother’s total diet is also a very crucial factor when it comes to fetal growth and development. A study conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Journal found that balanced protein supplementation given to pregnant women with a protein deficiency improved overall fetal growth in the women they studied. They saw an increase in fetal birth weight and height, and a decrease in the percentage of fetals with a low birth weight. However, their study only concluded these results in women whose diets were already lacking an adequate amount of protein. They actually found that supplements given to women during pregnancy who already consume a plentiful amount of protein in their everyday diet alone showed results consistent with an impairment in some fetal growth. If you want to learn more about their research study, checkout the article by clicking right here. It is very important as a pregnant mother to assess your diet first and decide if you may be someone who would benefit from taking a protein supplement. 

Amino Acid Supplementation During Pregnancy

Another study from the MDPI on Nutrients examined the affect of amino acid supplementation on fetal growth during pregnancy. The authors from this article were able to conclude that amino acid supplementation during pregnancy had no adverse effects on fetal growth at low doses. They also found that supplementing amino acids from the arginine family (arginine, citrulline, glutamate, glutamine, asparagine, aspartate, proline, and ornithine) actually improved the birth weight of the fetus during more complicated pregnancies. They also found that amino acid supplements from the arginine family reduced the risk of the baby developing smaller than the usual amount for the number of weeks of pregnancy. Therefore, research studies have proven that amino acid supplementation during pregnancy present no harmful effects on the baby, and may potentially aid in the prevention of fetal growth restriction. If you would like to read more about this research study, click here

Multivitamin Supplementation During Pregnancy

Have you ever wondered what vitamins you should be taking while carrying your baby? Researchers say that multivitamins are a mother’s friend during pregnancy in order to improve the general health of the mother and her fetus. More so, women who are of childbearing age are even recommended to take a multivitamin that contains folic acid, or even just a folic acid supplement alone, in order to prevent neural tube defects. Multivitamins have also been shown to have promising effects on fetal growth, birth weight, and early child development, says an article from the HHS, a government funded and publicly accessed website filled with peer-reviewed scientific research articles. As always, multivitamin use should be taken after understanding your own health preferences and pregnancy risks first because the same vitamins may not be useful for you as they are for someone else. 

The maternal diet is very important during pregnancy. If you want to ensure that you are making the right choices when it comes to nutrition and additional supplementation during your pregnancy, always consult with your doctor/health practitioner first. 

Did you take any supplements during pregnancy? Let us know below. 

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