One of the major changes in our pre-mester, as we’ve been calling it, is the collection of vitamin bottles on the bench. I’ve never been the most devoted pill-taker, but I’ve managed to swallow these down every morning in order to put my body in the best possible state for our future little one. I started off taking a dedicated prenatal vitamin but my goodness, those pills are EXPENSIVE. After clueing my doctor in on our family plans, this is the regimen that we’ve come up with.
- Vitamin D3 – 1 tablet a day. It’s becoming increasingly common in New Zealand to be deficient in Vitamin D. Living under the hole in the ozone layer, we’re told from a very young age to slather ourselves in sunscreen. Great for avoiding skin cancer, not so great for the rest of our health as it turns out. A recent study at the Yale University School of Medicine revealed that only 7% of 67 infertile women studied had normal Vitamin D levels and not a single woman with an ovulatory disorder had normal levels. Nearly 40% of women with ovulatory dysfunction had a clinical deficiency of Vitamin D (The Fertility Doc). It would certainly explain the growing prevalence of PCOS in women in New Zealand. I’ve been diagnosed with chronically low levels of Vitamin D before, and have taken Vitamin D through each winter for the last four years. I’m taking it into the summer this time, to ensure that I’m supporting my ovarian function as best as possible.
- Iodine – 1 tablet (150mg) a day. This one surprised me, as it was not one I had commonly heard of people taking, but it is subsidised by the NZ government, literally costing us a dollar a month. Carolyn Cairncross, Nutritionist at the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation states that: Iodine is essential in our diet to ensure the thyroid gland functions normally. The thyroid is an important part of our body as it is responsible for growth, brain development and the rate at which we burn energy.It is the thyroid’s role in brain and nervous system development that is especially important for babies. Any woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding requires more iodine to make sure they have enough for both themselves and their baby. As it is unlikely that they will receive enough iodine from diet alone, a daily supplement of 150 micrograms is recommended from when a woman is considering pregnancy, while pregnant and for the whole time she is breastfeeding.
- Folic Acid – 1 tablet a day. This one wasn’t a huge surprise. I think that there is strong support from many governments around the world for subsidisation of folic acid given the benefits it shows in preventing neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. We’re really lucky in New Zealand that this is also funded; $3 for three months. What did surprise me is the research showing a possible link between green tea consumption and a lack of absorbtion of folic acid into the system. I make sure that I take my folic acid in the morning, and drink no more than two cups of green tea, making sure that this is later in the afternoon.
- Women’s Multi – 1 tablet a day. While this is probably the least necessary of the lot, I figure it is ensuring that all my remaining vitamin/mineral levels are in tip-top condition moving forward. I eat a balanced diet, so this one I’m a little on the fence about continuing. I need to do more investigation about appropriate intake of vitamins and minerals in New Zealand before I make a decision. It’s the most expensive vitamin of the lot, as it isn’t subsidised.
Starting vitamins has made me realise how important it is to research everything thoroughly heading into this new chapter of our lives. We aren’t born inherently knowing everything, and even your medical professionals can only provide you with their point of view. You need to educate yourself on what your system requires (your Vitamin D might be just fine!) and then work out a way to get that good stuff in you!
Do you take any vitamin or mineral supplements? What’s your reasoning behind taking them? Do any of you think that you get everything you need through a balanced diet?