Top 5 Nutrients For A Healthy Pregnancy

Top 5 Nutrients For A Healthy Pregnancy

Alexis Reid

Eating well during pregnancy can help set the blueprint for a healthy mom and baby. I am going to go over my top 5 nutrient superstars for a healthy pregnancy

1) Folic Acid

Most women have heard of the benefits of taking folic acid during pregnancy, and this is a good thing! Folic acid is well known to help reduce neural tube defects and can also reduce the risk of cardiac, limb and cleft palate deformities. It is very important during the first trimester of pregnancy and it is ideal for women to take it for 3-6 months prior to conception.

 The dose range pregnant women need is between 600-1000 mcg

I have no affiliation with any supplement companies, however I will provide examples of appropriate supplements as I know it can be very overwhelming to go looking for them totally on your own

 A prenatal vitamin that provides adequate amounts of vital nutrients is Cytomatrix Prenatal 

It is important to also try as much as possible to get nutrients from food as well

Food Sources of Folate

-Spinach and Leafy Greens


-Beans and Lentils

-Sunflower Seeds



2) Fish Oil

The benefits of fish oil during pregnancy have been well documented. Fish oil helps with the baby’s brain development, can reduce the risk of postpartum anxiety and depression, and helps reduce the risk of both preeclampsia and premature birth.

DHA is the part of the Omega 3 fatty acids that is the most beneficial during pregnancy, and should be taken at a dose of 1000 mcg/day 

Ascenta NutraSea DHA is an example product

There is a valid concern about exposure to heavy metals from eating fish during pregnancy. Current guidelines suggest that pregnant women can eat fish up to 2 times/week safely.

It is important to be aware of the heavy metal content of the fish you are eating, and aim to eat fish with the lowest amounts of heavy metals. Tuna should be avoided or very significantly reduced during pregnancy.

 Here is a link to the National Resources Defense Council chart for fish with the highest and lowest mercury levels


3) Probiotics

Probiotics are “good bacteria” that can help regulate the immune system and promote digestive health. The importance of gut health is the next frontier in medicine. When a baby is born vaginally part of the benefit is attributed to the baby getting bathed in the mothers’ vaginal bacteria, which helps them to establish their own flora in their digestive tract.

Taking a good probiotic during pregnancy can help optimize the mom’s bacterial balance and reduces the risk of yeast and urinary tract infections.

Broad spectrum probiotics (ones that contain many different strains of bacteria) are the best choice

 Example: Natural Factors Ultimate Multi Probiotic

 How to get good bacteria from food





4) Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another nutrient that we are learning more and more about every day. Mom not having adequate levels of Vitamin D is associated with lower birth weights. Vitamin D is important for healthy immune system. It has been shown to reduce the risk of asthma. For mom, it can help reduce the risk of postpartum anxiety and depression.

 For those in northern climates, we are only able to make our own Vitamin D from May to October due to the angle of the sun. In the summer months it is important to get 15 min of sun exposure/day with some exposed skin (arms/legs). Vitamin D can be supplemented at a dose of 1000 IU/day


 5) Protein

Pregnant women need approximately 75 g of protein/day. Protein helps reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, and morning sickness. It can also be helpful for sleep and baby’s brain development. Getting protein at breakfast is very important as it helps to set the blueprint for stable blood sugar all day.

 Food Sources of Protein

-Chia Seeds/Hemp Seeds




Be sure to carefully read any protein powder supplements you may be taking as many contain ingredients that should not be consumed during pregnancy. As always, if you are unsure about anything, make sure to ask your health care provider.


I hope you found this blog post to be informative!

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below 

Talk Soon, 

Dr Alexis

Dr Alexis practices at Living Science in Stittsville. Call 613.836-7901 to schedule your appointment.

Naturopathic Medicine is covered by most extended health insurance benefits.

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