every vitamin I take during pregnancy and why

A few weeks ago I was refilling my weekly pill organizers and I thought to myself, I wonder if other people would find this interesting? So I quickly documented which vitamins I take on a daily basis along with why I chose each one and shared it on Instagram stories. I got a ton of questions in response – which was amazing! I get so excited when I can really connect with you guys about a topic and I know this one in particular can seem pretty daunting. I’ll preface what I’m about to say like some of my previous health and wellness posts – I am not a doctor {but I am really good at googling things} so please take what I say with a grain of salt. I will tell you that all of the vitamins I take during pregnancy are approved by my midwife and readily available on Amazon, so I’m not going too far off the grid here. It’s pretty standard stuff and hopefully it’s helpful to you. As always I’d love for you to ask questions in the comments below!

Pre-Pregnancy/Trying to Conceive

If you’ve ever thought about starting to try to have a baby you’ve probably heard or read that you should start taking a prenatal vitamin a few months before you conceive. This way when the time comes and your body is expected to support a pregnancy it will be ready with everything your baby needs to have the healthiest start possible. When Ken and I started trying to conceive for the first time I grabbed whatever bottle of prenatal’s were on sale at CVS and promptly started popping them. A few weeks later when I took a pregnancy test and it was positive I was shocked. Surely it couldn’t be that easy, right? Well unfortunately for us, I was right. While I technically did get pregnant on our first try I went on to miscarry that baby a few weeks later. Obviously we were devastated. To be honest I don’t think either of us has ever been that upset. It was a really difficult time but after reading up on how common miscarriage is we were ready to try again. So we did. We tried again that next month after my miscarriage bleeding stopped. And we got pregnant. Again! Except a few days later I started bleeding and just knew that this wasn’t going to be our take home baby. Most doctors recommend waiting until you’ve had three miscarriages before you pursue any testing to see if there’s an underlying cause. However I am super impatient and that seemed absurd to me. I couldn’t bare the thought of losing another baby so I marched into my OBGYN’s office and demanded testing. To be honest I’m not even sure what blood work they ordered but when the results came back there was actually something considered to be abnormal. It turns out, I have a condition called MTHFR {if you’re really into this stuff I’m homozygous for the C677T mutation} which is a clotting disorder. At a very high level, it’s suspected that when someone with this condition conceives if they’re not on the proper supplements their blood clots and cannot get to the baby fast enough, often causing miscarriage. Additionally, my body doesn’t process folic acid {which is the synthetic form of folate} like it’s intended to. So those prenatal’s that were on sale at CVS were actually not the best choice for me. The good news is, this condition is highly treatable in most patients and with only a few small tweaks that are very easy to incorporate into your daily routine. The reason why I mention it here at all is because this mutation is actually quite common so if you’ve had trouble successfully trying to conceive it might be a good first place for you to look into.

Here is a list of the vitamins I took while trying to conceive:

  • Thorne Prental. This is the only prenatal vitamin I’ve taken for the last year. While I’ve had a ton of morning sickness this pregnancy I was taking it for about seven months prior to conceiving without an issue of it upsetting my stomach. It contains folate which is important – this is the active form of folic acid and I’d really encourage you to only take a prenatal vitamin that contains folate instead of folic acid.
  • Seeking Health Active B12 Lozenge With L-5-MTHF. This is an additional way to ensure I’m getting enough folate plus B12 which can help prevent birth defects.
  • Evening Primrose Oil. After a month or two of not getting pregnant I started to look into additional supplements I could take to help move things along. Evening Primrose Oil can help produce higher quality cervical fluid. Fertile cervical fluid helps sperm remain alive and mobile for several days inside the uterus and fallopian tube, enabling conception to take place, even if ovulation occurs days after intercourse. Sorta gross, right? Basically, the better your cervical fluid is the longer the sperm will live and the better your chances of conceiving. It’s important to note that I would take this until I got a positive ovulation test. After that happened I would stop taking the EPO until the first day of my period up until ovulation again {so approximately every two weeks}.
  • Fish Oil. After I got a positive ovulation test I’d switch from the EPO to fish oil. Fish oil  helps to promote ovulation and improve the quality of the uterus by increasing the blood flow to the reproductive organs. It has also been shown to help prevent blood from clotting so it can be beneficial to women in whom recurrent miscarriages have been linked to a clotting problem {raises hand}. I would take the fish oil until I started my period and then switch back to the EPO.
  • Baby Aspirin. It’s actually controversial as to whether you should take baby aspirin to increase your chances of conceiving or to wait until conception occurs and you have a positive pregnancy test to start taking it. Most of the research I’ve done indicates that almost all reproductive specialists put their patients on baby aspirin as a matter of course. It helps to thicken the uterine lining by improving blood flow {which helps implantation} and thins the blood which reduces any clotting related issues.
  • Iron. Since I knew Iron was important to supporting a pregnancy I started taking it while trying to conceive.

During Pregnancy

When we did conceive I didn’t change much to my vitamin regimen, just a few simple tweaks.

  • I continue to take the Thorne PrentalSeeking Health Active B12 Lozenge With L-5-MTHF, Baby Aspirin, and Iron.
  • Prenatal DHA. Instead of taking the Evening Primrose Oil or Fish Oil I switched to DHA to make sure I was getting a comprehensive fish oil supplement to support fetal development. I really like this version because it doesn’t have any fishy aftertaste and the pills are quite small.
  • Vitamin D. At the advice of my midwife after some early blood work revealed a deficiency I’ve been taking a vitamin D supplement. Mine is a prescription and a higher potency so I only take it weekly as opposed to daily. There has been some information released recently linking vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and autism so this seems like a no brainier, especially if you live in a place where vitamin D deficiency is common {like Michigan}.
  • Cranberry Concentrate. During the first few weeks of this pregnancy I got a UTI {which I’m prone to anyway} and treated it with a course of antibiotics. Since UTI’s can be quite dangerous during pregnancy {they can cause early labor, which actually happened to my mom when she was pregnant with me and I was born at 33 weeks} my midwife suggested taking a cranberry supplement to improve urinary tract health. It might just be a coincidence but I have not had a UTI since.
  • Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. As I mentioned in my post about preparing your body for labor, around 25 weeks I start drinking RRL tea. RRL has been used forever to help strengthen and tone the uterus. Additionally, the Third Trimester Blend that I like helps reduce leg cramps that are common later in pregnancy {and might hurt more than labor, ouch!}.

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