(Photo: Nutrition World)

While I am not yet a mom, I advocate for mothers-to-be when it comes to vitamin and mineral health.

With so much misinformation about supplementation during pregnancy on the internet, it can be cumbersome to find high-quality prenatal vitamins—we stock prenatal products based on decades of data—in addition to learning more about common vitamin and mineral deficiencies during pregnancy. That’s why I’m here to help.

My research indicates two major deficiencies in all women that become especially important to focus on during pregnancy.

Vitamin D promotes healthy bones and calcium regulation. Up to four in five people nationally can struggle with vitamin D deficiency due to low sun exposure. Trying to obtain enough vitamin D from eating certain foods and taking a regular prenatal vitamin may not get the job done without added supplementation. If you are curious about your vitamin D level, ask your doctor to run a vitamin D deficiency test or order an online blood test. If your results show a deficiency, talk to your doctor about adding proper supplementation to your diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids promote child development, especially regarding the nervous and immune systems. Without Omega-3s, emotional, brain and immune system disorders may result. Adding wild-caught Alaskan salmon, chia seeds, egg yolks, walnuts and hemp seeds to your diet may help. I also suggest cutting back on Omega-6 fatty acids, which means eating less processed foods. If these changes in diet are difficult to maintain, talk to your doctor about possibly adding Omega-3s in liquid or pill form.

Of course, knowing you need to take supplements is only part of the solution. Deciding to act on that information is where you will find results. I don’t suggest completing this search for supplements alone. Nutrition World is staffed by team members who spend their time researching and educating consumers on what to consider when purchasing supplements. We encourage women to stay away from inferior products often found in most drug stores and invest in quality products. As such, we can safely recommend a specific prenatal multivitamin, vitamin D product, fish oil and line of DSHEA-compliant liquid herbs by Wishgarden that our store now carries. This line was started by a group of midwives nearly 30 years ago to aid pregnant women with issues specific to allergies, sleep, indigestion, cold and flu season and headaches. Many over-the-counter medications are unsafe for pregnancy, making lines like Wishgarden a safe haven.  

My guidance would be for women to begin taking certain products—vitamin D, prenatal and fish oil—before pregnancy and throughout pregnancy. It is equally important to continue these nutrients, plus a few others, while breastfeeding. For more information about a healthy, natural pregnancy, click here.

The role of motherhood is one of the most beautiful, toughest and time-consuming jobs in the world. Our goal is simply to help empower women with information so they can feel their best in mind, body and spirit. One way we are moving toward this goal is by hosting a Health & Wellness from Bump to Baby event on May 20th from 2-4 pm in our Wellness Corner.

There, a panel of ladies will talk to current moms, expectant moms and women curious to learn more about a local cloth diaper service (Wee Care Diapers), natural childbirth and photography (Birth and Mom), Baby Massage (Dot to Dot Massage), a mother-baby skincare line (Earth Mama Angel Baby), an experienced midwife (Debbie Church) and the pregnancy safe herbal line (Wishgarden) mentioned above.

This information-rich event only costs $5 per person. To sign up and reserve your spot, click here.

Cady Jones is co-owner of Nutrition World, which opened in 1979 with the priority of offering Chattanooga’s best selection of health products that meet high standards for quality.