Are Superfoods During Pregnancy Safe? Here’s Exactly What I Took and Why.
Note: This article is NOT intended as medical advice. Always consult your doctor with questions and concerns regarding your pregnancy diet and health conditions.
There are few times in life that emphasize the paramount importance of nutrition more than pregnancy. After all, a mom-to-be is both growing a human(!) while supporting her own body in its highly taxing new role.
Yet despite the overwhelming list of nutrients a pregnant woman should consume (as well as a laundry list of foods to avoid), there is surprisingly little information on what, exactly, a pregnancy diet should look like. That’s because, while there are official guidelines as to nutrient recommendations, how to get these nutrients into your diet is not well addressed. And so, for the nutrition-savvy among us, one would assume that superfoods—the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet—would be the most simple and effective way to achieve a good balance.
But soon after becoming pregnant, I quickly discovered it’s not that simple. While some superfoods are incredibly beneficial during pregnancy, others may have unintended consequences during the critical stages of a baby’s growth (including breast-feeding). So, after discussing all my superfood questions and plans with my doctor, here’s exactly what I decided to include … and what to omit.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: THE MOST IMPORTANT "SUPERFOOD" OF ALL
While getting nutrients from real foods is usually preferable, pregnancy is not a time to leave oneself vulnerable to deficiencies that can be linked to compromised growth and birth defects. That’s why the most important “superfood” to consume is actually not a superfood at all, but rather a quality prenatal vitamin that helps ensure all baseline nutrient needs are met. It’s important to remember: A prenatal vitamin does not replace the need for a healthy diet, but a healthy diet also does not replace the need for a prenatal vitamin.
That being said, there’s a lot of prenatal vitamins out there ... with a lot of opinions to go with them! Throughout my pregnancy, I took Pregnavie, and plan on continuing it for the next year as I had such great results with it. I love that the formula is fully plant-based and non-GMO, and was especially happy that it contained calcium (which I needed due to a medication I was taking) but not iron (which compromises calcium absorption, and is also very easy to overdo in pregnancy while potentially causing deleterious results). I also loved that Pregnavie is just ONE pill, instead of three like many brands, and it even contains ginger to help quell nausea flare-ups. Does it work? In my case, yes: I’m happy to share that all of my bloodwork came back looking great, even at the end of pregnancy, including hemoglobin (which indicates healthy iron stores), as well as vitamin D and vitamin B12 levels (especially pride-inducing considering my mostly plant-based diet).