All Posts tagged pregnancy

Pregnancy – Multivitamin supplements

Women who began using multivitamin supplements around the time of conception had a lower risk of giving birth prematurely, says a new study. Multivitamin use was associated with a 16% reduction in the risk of pre-term birth and a 20% reduction in the risk of preterm labor, according to findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The reported benefits were limited to normal weight women, and no benefits were observed in overweight women, report researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in the U.S. and the University of Aarhus in Denmark. “It may be that multivitamin use around the time of conception could be a safe and simple strategy to improve pregnancy outcomes, similar to folate supplementation,” wrote the researchers. The authors said that their results should be “interpreted with caution” because multivitamin use is linked to other lifestyle factors. “Because of current recommendations, it is unlikely that a randomized trial of peri-conceptional multivitamins is feasible,” they said. “Therefore, methodologically rigorous prospective observational studies may be the only way to investigate if multivitamin supplementation around the time of conception may reduce risk of preterm births or small-for-gestational-age births.” The researchers followed 35,897 women participating in the Danish National Birth Cohort. Multivitamin use was recorded during a 12-week period around the time of conception. Premature birth was defined as birth prior to the 37th week of pregnancy. Results showed that normal weight regular users of multivitamins—defined as using for four to six weeks around the period of conception—had significantly reduced risks of preterm birth and labor. Multivitamin use was also associated with a 17% reduction in the risk of giving birth to underweight babies, relative to the gestation period. “The dominant brand of multivitamin supplements reported in the Danish National Birth Cohort contained 200 mcg of folic acid,” the researchers explained. “Thus, folate may be involved in the multivitamin-small-for-gestational-age births association, but other micronutrients may be important in the association between peri-conceptional multivitamin use and pre-term birth.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 94:906-912, 2011

I recommend the prenatal formula by Metagenics.


Protein Amounts During Pregnancy

I would like to know what amounts of protein are necessary for pregnant women? I have been eating the Paleo Diet since you introduced me to it. This is my first child. I am finding that my protein and fat requirements are significantly higher than what I usually eat.

Is there any research you could direct me to regarding protein requirements for pregnancy based on trimester?

Great question and I am thrilled you are prgnant! The bottom line is that you probably should increase your fat and carbohydrate consumption, and limit protein to about 20-25% of energy, as higher protein intakes than this may prove to be deleterious to mother and fetus for a variety of physiological reasons.

John Speth (an anthropologist) at the University of Michigan wrote a paper on protein aversion in hunter-gatherer women during pregnancy. Listed below is the abstract: (note the 25% protein energy ceiling!!!)

“During seasonal or inter-annual periods of food shortage and restricted total calorie intake, ethnographically and ethnohistorically documented human foragers, when possible, under-utilize foods that are high in protein, such as lean meat, in favour of foods with higher lipid or carbohydrate content. Nutritional studies suggest that one reason for this behaviour stems from the fact that pregnant women, particularly at times when their total calorie intake is marginal, may be constrained in the amount of energy they can safely derive from protein sources to levels below about 25% of total calories. Protein intakes above this threshold may affect pregnancy outcome through decreased mass at birth and increased perinatal morbidity and mortality…”

Pregnant women should include more carbohydrate and fat (i.e. fattier meats) in their diets and limit dietary protein to no more than 20-25% of their total caloric intake.