Prenatal Nutrition and the Importance of Purity
Posted by Tori Schmitt, MS, RDN, LD on May 12th 2021
If you’re pregnant (or ever have been pregnant, or have been around someone who was pregnant) you have probably heard someone mention “eating for two”. Now, some applications of that idea are more accurate than others - you don’t actually need to double your calories - the basic premise is true: What you eat while you’re pregnant can impact the health of your baby. That goes for both the nutrients (vitamins and minerals) you consume intentionally, and the substances that might find their way into your diet unknowingly.
What you eat when you are pregnant can impact the health of your baby.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists affirms that “eating well is one of the best things you can do during pregnancy.”1 In fact, research indicates that mom’s nutrition and lifestyle influences the development of baby’s cells, organs, and metabolism while in the womb and through early childhood.2 Not only will good nutrition help support the demands that pregnancy places on a woman’s body, but it can also help support the growth and development of your baby – potentially for many years to come.
Prenatal nutrition means more than just “getting enough” calories, vitamins, and minerals.
Making sure that mom gets enough energy, vitamins, and minerals to support her pregnancy is crucial. That’s why many healthcare providers and professional organizations encourage good nutrition early in pregnancy – and why many recommend a prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement. 1,3-4 A prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement can help cover potential nutrient gaps, especially for critical nutrients like folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, and iodine.5-7
Optimal prenatal nutrition includes a focus on purity – and some prenatal products don't meet that standard!
While getting an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals is indeed an important pillar of prenatal nutrition, so too is the source of those nutrients and their purity. If you’ve seen recent news reports about prenatal supplements and have felt concerned, you are not alone. Heavy metals in prenatal supplements are especially concerning - not only could mom be exposed to the toxin, but so might her baby! And a baby’s detoxification system isn’t fully developed in utero, which means it may experience even higher levels of toxin exposure.8 In 2018, 26 commonly used prenatal vitamin brands were tested and all contained arsenic, lead, and cadmium up to levels that exceeded established standards.9
Why is this an issue? Arsenic exposure in utero has been associated with reduced fetal growth, an increased risk of infections in infants, and even inflammation and atherosclerosis as that infant grows into an adult. 9-12 Lead, on the other hand, is associated with impaired cognitive function in children while cadmium exposure during pregnancy is associated with poor social development.13-14
Luckily, Mom’s Only™ Prenatal Support Nutritional Shake is different!
Mom’s Only™ Prenatal Support Nutritional Shake is a beverage that can be included as part of your healthy eating choices during pregnancy. It offers protein, vitamins, and minerals to help support you in your quest to get adequate nutrition during pregnancy. It also includes nutrients that some other brands do not include, like organic DHA, choline, and lutein.
Mom’s Only™ Prenatal Support Nutritional Shake also received the Purity Award from the Clean Label Project, which means it has been evaluated and praised for avoiding substances including heavy metals, pesticide residues, and plasticizers.
What can you do next to protect the quality of your nutrition during pregnancy?
There are some simple steps you can take to prioritize the quality of your nutrition during pregnancy:
- Evaluate the quality of the foods, beverages, and supplements you choose, especially during pregnancy and remember that purity is an important part of the prenatal nutrition conversation - especially when it comes to heavy metals, pesticides, and plasticizers. To reduce your exposure to substances your body doesn’t need, choose foods and products with organic certifications that are tested for contaminants.
- Talk with your healthcare provider about nutrition before, during and after pregnancy.
- Consider incorporating a high-quality shake like Mom’s Only™ Prenatal Support Nutritional Shake into your diet, alongside the other healthy foods you choose. You can mix the powder with water, milk, or your favorite smoothie ingredients (like this recipe for a Green Breakfast Smoothie).
Also, when considering the purity of what you consume overall, reviewing the use of over-the-counter medications with your healthcare provider is also recommended as some may not be appropriate for use during pregnancy. 15-16
What questions do you have about prenatal nutrition that you would like to see answered next on our blog? Send them to me in an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- FAQs: Nutrition During Pregnancy. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. March 2021. Accessed April 1 2021 from https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/nutrition-during-pregnancy.
- Koletzko B, Godfrey KM, Poston L, et al. Nutrition During Pregnancy, Lactation and Early Childhood and its Implications for Maternal and Long-Term Child Health: The Early Nutrition Project Recommendations. Ann NutrMetab. 2019;74(2):93-106. doi:10.1159/000496471 https://jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(14)00501-2/pdf
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Nutrition and lifestyle for a healthy pregnancy outcome.JAcadNutr Diet. 2014; 114: 1099-1103
- 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Food and nutrient intakes, and health: Current status and trends. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/. Accessed March 18, 2017.
- Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary reference intakes tables and application. http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Activities/Nutrition/SummaryDRIs/DRI-Tables.aspx. Accessed March 18, 2017.
- Berti C, Biesalski HK, Gartner R, et al. Micronutrients in pregnancy: current knowledge and unresolved questions. Clinical Nutrition. 30 (2011): 689-701.
- R. Morello-Frosch, et al. Environmental Chemicals in an Urban Population of Pregnant Women and Their Newborns from San Francisco. Environmental Science and Technology. 2016. 50(22):1264-12472. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b03492.
- Schwalfenberg G, Rodushkin I, Genius S. Heavy metal contamination of prenatal vitamins. Toxicology Reports. 5(2018) 390-396. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.toxrep.2018.02.015.
- Henn BC, Ettinger AS, Hopkins MR, et al. Prenatal arsenic exposure and birth outcomes among a population residing near a mining-Related superfund site.Environ. Health Perspect., 124 (8) (2016), pp. 1308-1315, 10.1289/ehp.1510070
- Bailey K, Fry RC. Long-term health consequences of prenatal arsenic exposure: links to the genome and the epigenome. Rev. Environ. Health, 29 (1–2) (2014), pp. 9-12, 10.1515/reveh-2014-0006
- Rager JE, Yosim A, Fry RC. Prenatal exposure to arsenic and cadmium impacts infectious disease-related genes within the glucocorticoid receptor signal transduction pathway. Int. J. Mol. Sci., 15 (12) (2014), pp. 22374-22391, 10.3390/ijms151222374.
- Miodovnik, P.J. Landrigan. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration risk assessment on lead in women's and children's vitamins is based on outdated assumptions. Environ. Health Perspect., 117 (7) (2009), pp. 1021-1022, 10.1289/ehp.0900573
- Y. Wang, et al.Effects of prenatal exposure to cadmium on neurodevelopment of infants in Shandong/China Environ. Pollut., 211 (2016), pp. 67-73, 10.1016/j.envpol.2015.12.038
- Santoro KL, Yakah W, Singh P, et al. Acetaminophen and Xenobiotic Metabolites in Human Milk and the Development of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia and Retinopathy of Prematurity in a Cohort of Extremely Preterm Infants. J Pediatr. 2022;244:224-229.e3. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2022.01.030
- Griffin IJ. Cautionary Tales: The Use of Human Milk in Infants Born Preterm. J Pediatr. 2022;244:12-14. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2022.02.041