Vitamin supplementation is unnecessary for the vast majority of people. You wouldn’t know this walking through a drug store, where you’ll usually find an entire aisle packed with supplements. Alternative health providers like naturopaths tend to be strong supporters of supplementation, but this advice seems to be based mainly on the belief that “vitamins are magic” rather than good science. The best research hasn’t established a strong evidence base for taking supplements. We definitely need vitamins in our diet to live. But that’s where we should be getting those vitamins – from our food, instead of from pills. If you eat a reasonable and balanced diet, and have no medical conditions that require special consideration, vitamin supplementation won’t offer meaningful health benefits. In the absence of any deficiency, vitamin supplements seem to be useless at best and harmful at worst.
That doesn’t mean vitamins are always useless or unnecessary. They can also have important science-based roles. Vitamin deficiencies can occur, and sometimes the consequences can be significant. Pregnancy is one example. Pregnant women may not obtain adequate amounts of nutrients like folate in their diet. Deficiencies are linked to major birth abnormalities: neural tube defects (NTDs). It is well-established that folic acid supplementation around the time of conception, and continued through pregnancy, can significantly reduce the risk of NTDs, and may reduce the risk of someother abnormalities as well. There are now widespread recommendations for folic acid supplementation in pregnancy. Because many pregnancies are unplanned, public health strategies have included fortifying food with folic acid, and this approach also seems to reduce birth defects in populations.
Folate is not the only deficiency possible in pregnancy. Pregnant women have higher requirements for calcium and iron. There’s also the need to ensure adequate amounts of vitamins A, the Bs, C, D, E and zinc. While these needs can potentially be met through diet, some guidelines recommend a multivitamin (and not just folic acid) because of the consequences of a deficiency and a lack of any real risks. And supplementation works. The most common maternal multivitamin (at least here in Canada) is Materna, though there are many competitors and lots of generics. Costs can be as low as $4-8 per month. Prenatal vitamins will usually contain 0.4mg to 1mg of folic acid – it’s the most essential ingredient. Most contain slightly higher amounts of calcium and iron than a typical daily multivitamin, along with modest amounts of other micronutrients. This formula helps pregnant women’s diets meet their nutritional requirements, reduces the risk of birth defects, and is a practice aligned with the best evidence. Read Full Article.
I personally chose to not take prenatal supplements. I ate a balanced diet of healthy foods, did my research on the best foods to eat and stayed far far away from refined sugar. I have some tips to share.
Folic Acid tends to be the biggest concern for pregnant women. Foods rich in folate (the natural, bio-available, form of folic acid) can deteriorate when cooked so it's best to choose raw forms. Avocado is a great choice as 1 cup holds up to 90mcg of folate, which accounts for approximately 22% of your daily needs. Not only are avocados one of the best foods with folic acid, but it’s also an excellent source of fatty acids, vitamin K and dietary fiber.
15 Foods High in Folic Acid
The BEST vitamins are food based but food based supplements tend to be very expensive. A brilliant hack it to save the peels from fruits and veggies you normally toss. Like bananas, oranges, lemons, carrots etc.. Choose organic varieties and wash them well before peeling. Toss the peels in a food processor to transform them into a past. You now have an incredibly rich (and practically free) source of vitamins and minerals. Eat on toast with honey, mix in with yogurt, add to smoothies, bake into bread, cookies or muffins, add to salad, cereal, soup...Anything really!
Did you research vitamins while pregnant? Share your findings to help other woman.
The Wall Street Journal Opinion piece.
Regarding the article “A Type of Childbirth Some Women Will Fight For” (Personal Journal, Dec. 9), not only do higher vaginal birth rates after a caesarean (VBAC) mean better overall outcomes for mothers and their newborns, but they signal how focused an institution is on delivering the highest quality of maternity care. Compare VBAC rates with breastfeeding rates and you’ll find an exceptionally high correlation because institutions focused on the highest quality of care will commit to what’s in the best long-term interests of mother and child. Hospitals that ban VBACs due to “liability concerns” shouldn’t be in the business of delivering babies. And mothers should think twice—and then think again—about using those facilities.
Sheri Matteo, CNM
As an obstetrician who champions VBACs, I give trials of labor to a large number of women with previous C-sections with much success. But the elephant in the room is the intuitively obvious fact that there are far too many C-sections done to begin with. Once a woman has the scar on her uterus from a previous C-section, the damage has been done. With the potentially catastrophic sequelae of a ruptured uterus, the physician, patient and hospital are forced to take on huge risks for a clearly better option—vaginal birth. Fewer inductions, less unnecessary medical intervention and less need to worry about unfounded lawsuits would go a long way to restoring childbirth to what it should be—a natural, beautiful experience.
Jessica Jacob, M.D.
Great Neck, N.Y.
I have been in practice 23 years and have been offering VBACs for that long. VBAC safety is the same as many obstetrical emergencies that we deal with often, such as abruptio placentae or cord prolapse. Women fail to allow themselves a trial of a vaginal birth for many reasons. Fear, the convenience of a schedule and having your own doctor, all play a role at the expense of trying, believing in your body or bonding with your baby. A repeat C-section carries more risk of infection, bleeding and hysterectomy in addition to maternal death, which although rare is on the rise with increasing C-sections.
I am perplexed about why women are willing to take far more risks daily—driving distracted, crossing the street at night without a flashlight, biking without a helmet—but don’t trust their own bodies to try for a vaginal delivery after a C-section. Maybe we all just need to slow down and remember that childbirth isn’t about a schedule; it isn’t about convenience. After all, what is convenient about being a parent?
Lizellen La Follette, M.D.
I am a retired OB-GYN physician with over 5,000 deliveries done. Though a 1-in-200 uterine rupture rate may constitute a “small but worrisome risk for some hospitals,” it constitutes a hugely worrisome risk for the attending obstetrician. Though a rare outcome, a dead baby and/or mother, or an unwanted hysterectomy goes over very poorly with the patient to whom it occurs. While it may be true that from an obstetrician’s standpoint there are no special skills in managing a VBAC, it is an extremely stressful situation for the doctor. The protocol in the hospital where I practiced required that the attending physician be physically present in the hospital when his or her VBAC patient was in active labor. This meant that if a patient arrived in active labor at 8:00 a.m. on a weekday morning, her physician might not be able to have office hours for the day, inconveniencing dozens of patients whose appointments would need to be canceled and rescheduled. While I hate to sound greedy, that’s also one day’s lost income for the physician. And from a legal standpoint, I’ll leave that to the attorneys’ imaginations.
John Elfmont, M.D.
Redondo Beach, Calif.
Read VBAC Birth Stories
Comment to share your opinion.
Baby has arrived! ...and so has the rest of the town.
10 tips to survive the onslaught of visitors arriving at your door after baby is born.
Some people simply feel obligated to visit. Set expectation in advance by letting friends know they don't HAVE to come visit right away. I love the tip of getting visitors to bring food or help clean up. How did your friends & family help after baby was born?
There are many reasons why women and their partners choose to hire a doula to support them during pregnancy and childbirth.
For some, a doula will play a crucial role if a woman’s partner is unable to attend the birth – for example, if he or she works in the military or overseas. For others, having a doula is an additional, amazing layer of support and comfort for both the mother and her partner. They love that a doula can provide a ‘care trifecta’, unlike anyone else who will care for her in the birth room. This trifecta allows for the fantastic outcomes that doulas have consistently produced in countless studies from around the world.
Read More Here
We love learning the science behind what breastfeeding mothers already know (through old wive's tales) about the healing powers of breastmilk. We're happy the research is catching up and proving it! Hypnobabies® - Natural Childbirth at its best!
This article looks at the functionality and purpose of wearing a hospital gown for your birthing time. Remember that even if you're planning a hospital birth, you can still choose to wear whatever you wish! If you'd like to try breastfeeding your newborn, a hospital gown is not very functional. Go for something stretchy and comfortable like a casual dress or beach cover-up.
What did you wear?
Word is spreading! Following the recent U.K. guideline updates recommending most women give birth in midwife-led setting, The New York Times has published an opinion piece supporting greater access to #midwifery care for low-risk women in the U.S. "In a time of spiraling medical costs and increasing demand for health care, midwives can offer a cost-effective way of providing good maternity care." http://buff.ly/1DCCNtV
"the best parent you can be is the one that you want to be; and there is no perfect parent, just as there is no perfect kid."
Aha Parenting suggests some great ideas for new holiday traditions with a focus on creating great memories.
Strathcona Midwifery Collective has Winter and Spring groups for expecting and new parents.
Free or by donation!
-Parenting Drop-In: a casual Family Health Drop-in. If you’re pregnant, have an infant or young child, join us for discussion, community gathering, support and snacks! Every Monday 1:00-3:00pm, Free.
-Homebirth Info Nights: Come meet other families and get all your homebirth questions answered. Thursdays 6:30-8:30pm, Dec 11, Jan 15, Feb 12, Mar 19th, Apr 16th, Free
-Breastfeeding Social: Twice a month, come and share your baby feeding joys and woes, get support and share ideas with other new parents! 2nd and 4th Friday of every month from 2:00-4:00pm starting on January 23rd, by donation.
-Queer and Trans* Pregnancy and Parenting Group: A space for queer and trans* folks to gather, discuss topics related to pregnancy and parenting, offer support and build community Saturdays 10:30am-12:30pm, Dec 20th, Jan 17, Feb 14, Mar 14, Apr 18, May 16th, by donation
-Prenatal Class in a Day: join Michelle Maclean and the Divine Child Doula team as they discuss pregnancy, birth and life with a new baby, sharing some much needed info as you prepare for this big life change. Saturday January 17th from 10:00am to 4:00pm, by donation. Please email to sign up
Donations go to make the groups more accessible for participants.
Hosted by The Strathcona Midwifery Collective
439 Dunlevy Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V6A 3Y4
For more info or to RSVP, firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-558-1701