How to get your pregnancy off to the best start

Support your body as it goes about the miraculous job of growing new life.

Why supplement
It’s hard work growing a baby. As OHbaby! naturopath Natasha Berman ( points out, babies in utero are growing at a rapid rate of knots, yet nourished solely by what their mother eats and what already exists in her body. “It is therefore important that we see nutrients as building blocks for the growth and development of healthy babies and healthy adults”, says Natasha.

Eating well is foundational for a healthy pregnancy, but good nutrition is not always enough, hence the need to supplement even the best diet during pregnancy. While ‘eating for two’ holds little water these days, pregnant women should still be seeking double the nutrients. “While an adult may show no specific signs of any given nutrient deficiency, there can be many more detrimental consequences for a developing foetus”, says Natasha.

Food isn’t what it used to be. Natasha points out that modern farming practices have depleted the nutrient levels of our soils and, subsequently, fewer nutrients are transferred to our foods. Fertilisers used to boost production (increasing vegetable size and growth speed) compromise the nutritional value of crops. “Then the food is further assaulted with pesticides, herbicides and sprays, picked in an often unripe state, and transported many miles, further depleting vitamin stores”, says Natasha. Additionally, refining processes further strip nutrients from our food.

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The essentials
New Zealand Ministry of Health recommendations state women planning a pregnancy, or women in the early stages of pregnancy, take folic acid and iodine.

Folic acid is a B vitamin proven to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTD), such as spina bifida and anencephaly. The suggested dose will either be a low dose of 800 mcg per day, or a high dose of 5 mg per day, depending on the perceived risk of having an NTD-affected pregnancy, for at least four weeks before conception and continuing for 12 weeks after conception.

150 mcg of iodine daily is recommended for healthy pregnant and breastfeeding women, from confirmation of pregnancy until the discontinuation of breastfeeding. This tablet should be taken in addition to eating well and choosing iodine-containing foods such as low-fat milk products, eggs, seafood, and commercially prepared bread (which is also fortified with folic acid).


Nutritional supplements are proven to support a developing baby with essential nutrients. Also, they can enhance both female and male fertility as they can improve the health and vitality of the adult taking them.


Fabfol, RRP$27.95 from pharmacies.
Fabfol contains the right balance of folic acid, iodine, iron, and energy boosting B group vitamins. These essential nutrients support you and the healthy development of your growing baby.

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Blackmores Conceive Well Gold, RRP$52.25 from pharmacies.
Many women don't have optimal nutrition before falling pregnant. Conceive Well Gold supplies key nutrients in preparation for conception.


Menevit 90-pack, $98.99, 30-pack, $41.99 from pharmacies.
Menevit is designed to promote male fertility, containing a combination of antioxidants that are thought to support sperm health for couples planning a pregnancy


Elevit with Iodine 100-pack, $98.99, and 30-pack, $39.99 from pharmacies.
Elevit with Iodine is formulated to meet the needs of women who are trying to conceive, are pregnant, or breastfeeding. It also provides baby with folic acid, iodine, and iron – essential for her development.


The strength of iron
27mg per day is the recommended daily intake (RDI) of iron during pregnancy – about 9mg more per day than recommended for non-pregnant women. You may need to take an iron supplement if your iron stores are low.


Spatone 100% Natural Liquid Iron Supplement, 28-day
pack, RRP$34.70 from pharmacies and health stores.

Spatone 100% Natural Liquid Iron Supplement is a gentle daily iron provider, ideal for pregnant and post-natal women. The iron Spatone uses comes from water collected in the mountains of Snowdonia, Northern Wales. Being found naturally in water, it's easily absorbed by your body. And because the dose is so small, the common side-effects so often associated with taking iron (like constipation, stomach irritation, and headaches) are avoided.

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Floradix, RRP$27.99 from supermarkets, pharmacies, and health stores.

Floradix provides nutritional iron made from fruit, vegetable and herbal extracts, plus organic iron gluconate. The combination of iron gluconate, yeast, B vitamins, and vitamin C gives Floradix one of the highest absorption rates for all forms of iron, reducing the quantity of iron required and minimising issues with bowel regularity. Being a liquid, it is more easily absorbed than iron supplements in tablet form. Floradix is particularly suited to pregnant women and nursing mothers.




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