During pregnancy, many hormones change, with estrogen and progesterone being produced in huge amounts to help the baby develop until the placenta is formed. And the hormone prolacin is essential for breastfeeding.
In the first trimester, vitamin B9 (folic acid) is essential for the rapid growth of the baby, as proper development of the spine and the fallopian tubes requires the presence of folic acid. Vitamin B6 is effective in combating nausea.
Vitamin recommendations vary during pregnancy:
- Vitamin A: 770 mcg (+10%)
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid): 600 mcg (+50%)
- Vitamin C: 85 mg (+15%)
- Vitamin D: 600 IU (unchanged)
- Vitamin E: 15 mg (unchanged)
- Vitamin K: 90 mcg (+20%)
This is why it is important that during pregnancy, on medical advice, women use the correct vitamin supplement formulation.
A common extra ingredient is prenatal vitamin formulas is choline or DHA, both of which are very important for the proper neurodevelopment of the baby. DHA is found in high concentrations in the nerve cell wall and plays a role in the connection between two nerve cells. And choline is a precursor of a brain signalling molecule (neurotransmitter) known as acetylcholine.
After the birth of a baby, breastfeeding is crucial for proper development, and it is important that the baby has an adequate amount of milk. Prolactin is the hormone that triggers milk selection. This can be helped by milk thistle extract, which studies have shown can stimulate the release of the hormone prolactin.