Three trimesters, three different sets of needs: how can we get it right?

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not not reflect the opinions or views of Ovia Health.

Even though we often think of pregnancy as one block of time, from a biological and nutritional perspective we know that what happens in your body and in your baby’s development is drastically different in each trimester.

But then, why are all prenatal supplements designed as a one-size fits all, and how do you know what nutrients to boost, why and when? Fear not, at healthynest our team of doctors and scientists have done all the legwork to make sure you get more of what you need, when you need it.

During the first trimester the most critical brain and physical development occurs. The quality and quantity of the nutrients that you get in at this stage is absolutely essential to properly nourish all the cellular development that is happening rapidly: the major structures of the body form in the first trimester, and the blueprint for a healthy human is shaped in profound, long-lasting ways.

Of all the systems that develop in the first trimester, the making of the human brain from the tip of a 3 millimeter neural tube is a marvel of biological engineering. To arrive at the more than 100 billion neurons that are the normal complement of a newborn baby, the brain must grow at the rate of about 250,000 nerve cells per minute, on average. And the brain’s 100 trillion or so interconnections provide the physical basis for its lifelong speed and sophistication. This is why the most progressive science encourages moms to start taking a comprehensive prenatal supplement ideally 3 months before getting pregnant, because it helps create a reservoir of high-quality nutrients that are the foundation to form healthy tissue and structures at all levels, especially the brain.

For all these systems and functions to form properly, one of the most important nutrients in the first trimester is folic acid, as it’s the cornerstone for the foundation of your baby’s brain and nervous system. In fact, new science shows that taking folic acid at the time of conception can reduce the autism risk by 40%. When it comes to folic acid, it’s important to take the right form of folate, because up to 38% of women carry a gene variation that interferes with our ability to absorb it. If you are in that group, most common prenatal supplements will not be as effective for you. That’s why the healthynest formula has an advanced form of folic acid called methytetrahydrafolic acid, which is the most bio available and biologically active form of folate.

In the second trimester, your baby will finalize the development of all its organs and systems and will begin growing in length and weight. From now on, it’s all about fueling that growth. During these three months, an essential nutrient that most American moms don’t get enough of is iron. Even though it plays a crucial role in bringing oxygen to your baby’s brain, most prenatals and the average American diet don’t provide enough iron at a time when both you and your baby need it the most. This is in fact one of the main reasons why we have developed three different prenatal formulations, adapted to the changing needs of each trimester. Our second trimester formula provides a boost in iron levels, to make sure that you and your baby get all that you need, from high-quality sources that also make it non-constipating.

In the last trimester, all major development is finished and your baby will start to gain weight very quickly: up to half a pound per week by the end of your pregnancy. The bones harden, but the skull remains soft and flexible for delivery. The different regions of the brain continue to form, and neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells) is now happening at an even faster pace.

In this trimester, your nutrition needs a boost of high quality sources of protein and fat, as they are the building blocks of your baby’s healthy brain and muscle development. A nutrient that is key on all pregnancy stages, and especially in this last stretch, is choline. Choline is a powerful building block for optimal fetal brain development and cognition, but unfortunately the majority of pregnant women are not achieving the target intake levels. What’s more important, certain common genetic variants may increase requirements for choline beyond current recommendations. That’s why our healtynest formulation for the last trimester packs a healthy boost of choline, to make sure that you give your little Einstein all he or she needs before coming into the outside world.

At healthynest we are wholeheartedly committed to providing the highest possible quality and quantity of nutrients at the right time. Our prenatal addresses the very first environment for baby, developed to provide the optimal start for your baby based on the newest research. The healthynest prenatal is the most researched and comprehensive supplement available, designed by the Chief Medical Officer of the Neurological Health Foundation. It is the culmination of learnings from 350 research studies and an analysis of 250 prenatals on the market, which found that only a handful have over 80% of what is needed for optimal development of baby.

Our healthynest prenatal provides the key nutrients at a tailored level for optimal health in each trimester. While this used to mean taking a handful of pills each day, we have condensed down the almost 30 plus separate items that were previously not found together into one formulation. Each and every vitamin and mineral has been carefully selected by our team of physicians and scientists taking into account the bioavailability of the form of vitamin, and includes essential nutrients that are missing from most prenatal supplements available today.

We have conceived our prenatal formulation with (almost…) as much love as you did We hope to have given you good reasons to make healthynest your prenatal of choice, and we would love to become part your care and nutrition routine, even beyond supplementation.

More resources here

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  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data (NHANES). Hyattsville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Clinical Guidance Committee Opinion, Prepregnancy Counseling. Developed jointly by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Gynecologic Practice and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in collaboration with committee member Daniel M. Breitkopf, MD and ASRM member Micah Hill, DO. Volume 133, Number 762 – January 2019
  • Maternal periconceptional folic acid intake and risk of autism spectrum disorders and developmental delay in the CHARGE (CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment) case-control study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 96.1 (2012): 80-89. Schmidt, Rebecca J., et al.
  • Association between maternal use of folic acid supplements and risk of autism spectrum disorders in children. JAMA 309.6 (2013): 570-577. Surén, Pål, et al.
  • Abnormal transmethylation / transsulfuration metabolism and DNA hypomethylation among parents of children with autism. James SJ, Melnyk S, Jernigan S, Hubanks A, Rose S, Gaylor DW. J Autism Dev Disord. 2008 Nov; 38 (10):1966-75.
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