Nov 03, 2022Pregnancy

Top Nutrients for First & Second Trimester

by Lisa Dreher
Top Nutrients for First & Second Trimester

As a follow-up to Top 5 Nutrients to Boost Fertility: Preconception, we want to highlight the top 4+ essential nutrients for the first and second trimesters, featured in WeNatal. The following nutrients were carefully chosen to provide the building blocks for baby’s growth and development, as well as support increased demand on mom’s body. Taking a prenatal during these first six months can be especially helpful for those who experience nausea and reduced appetite. However, we do include a bonus nutrient at the end to help reduce your chances of pregnancy-related nausea!

Our Top 4+ Nutrients

 

  1. 1. Iron is required to make hemoglobin in red blood cells, which carries oxygen to all of mom’s tissues. Iron needs double during pregnancy to compensate for the increased blood that’s needed to supply oxygen to baby. This makes iron especially important during the first and second trimester as red blood cell needs rapidly increase. 

 

Unfortunately, many women of childbearing age are either low or deficient in iron. If mom starts off with a low supply, this will only be made worse as baby starts to grow, many times leading to iron deficiency anemia. Severe anemia can increase the risk of premature birth, low birthweight, postpartum depression, and even pregnancy loss. For these reasons, we made the decision to add iron to WeNatal for Her to help correct and prevent anemia in mom and baby.

  1. 2. Zinc is one of the most abundant trace elements in the human body and is needed for cell division and growth, immune function, vision development, gene regulation, electrolyte balance, metabolism, and more. Mom transfers increasingly more zinc to baby as the pregnancy progresses, but many women of childbearing age have mild or moderate zinc deficiency. It is estimated that over 80% of women do not get enough zinc in their diet. Deficiency has been linked to compromised fetal development. Supplementation during pregnancy has been associated with a reduction in preterm birth as well as lower risk of uterine infections. 

3. Iodine is needed for the production of thyroid hormone, and the thyroid plays a major role in the metabolism, growth, and development of the human body. This is especially evident in iodine’s role in fetal brain and central nervous system development. Mom’s iodine requirements increase during pregnancy, so getting adequate levels are crucial especially as baby’s brain is rapidly developing during the first two trimesters.

  1. 4. Magnesium supports more than 600 enzymatic reactions throughout the body. These enzymes regulate protein synthesis, muscle/nerve function, blood sugar control, blood pressure, and more. Magnesium deficiency is very common among women of childbearing age and needs increase during pregnancy. Some studies show inadequate magnesium levels have been linked to pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm labor, and poor fetal growth. In fact, research shows that women supplementing with magnesium during pregnancy had decreased likelihood of many complications compared to those who did not supplement. 

Bonus: Molybdenum. Around 70% of pregnant women will experience some degree of nausea with or without vomiting, or ‘morning sickness.’ One potential cause is excess sulfite production, which can become a problem if foods and liquids are difficult to keep down. Research indicates that molybdenum may help alleviate nausea by breaking down sulfite to sulfate which is then excreted from the body or reused. This is why we were sure to add this nutrient! 

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Lisa Dreher

Lisa Dreher

Lisa is a registered dietitian/nutritionist with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Integrative Health. She has been practicing for over a decade and works full time at Dr. Mark Hyman's UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts.

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