Ladies, everyone knows nutrition is important (even if we don’t always make the healthiest decisions — never happens, right?). But when you become pregnant, everything changes. Suddenly, your choices don’t just affect your own health — they affect the health of your future family. It can seem like a lot of pressure, but there’s a simple solution.
USANA has developed the BabyCare Prenatal Essentials™* specifically for women who are pregnant, looking to become pregnant, or nursing. The combination of BabyCare Prenatal Mega Antioxidant and BabyCare Prenatal Chelated Mineral provides the right levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to fill in many of the gaps in your daily nutrition. When taken along with BiOmega™, Vitamin D, and Active Calcium™ Chewable, you can feel confident you are getting the best possible nutrition to support the health of you and your developing baby.
To further explain the benefits of superior prenatal supplements and the importance of nutrition for pregnant mothers in general, we are proud to introduce obstetrician, gynecologist, and USANA Associate Michelle Harden, MD. She has a great deal to teach us about the right decisions to make when it comes to prenatal nutrition.
What’s Up, USANA: Why is it so important for women who are pregnant or looking to become pregnant to take nutrition seriously?
Dr. Michelle Harden: It is important to realize that food is medicine. In today’s society, much of what the average woman consumes is not necessarily food, but “food-like.” Fast food and unhealthy convenience foods have contributed to weight and health problems for millions.
Lifestyle changes are the key to lowering your risk of health concerns. Eating whole foods that provide nutrients to fuel our bodies will not only help us stay healthy but will provide an optimal environment for a mother’s fetus.
We now know about the importance of epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of heritable alterations in gene expressions that act independently of changes in DNA sequences. This means that in addition to inheriting genes from our parents, we can inherit their epigenetic “switches” that turn our genes on and off. Epigenetics dictates how our genes are actually utilized.
The nutrition consumed by mothers will likely play a role in the future health of the fetus. The biological response that can be produced by poor nutrition may actually influence the genes of the fetus. So the maternal diet can modulate gene expression in the offspring.
In the end, we may not be only what we eat, but what our grandmothers ate. So, understanding good nutrition is not only vital to mom’s health, but also to the health of her baby.
WUU: Why is it important to continue taking supplements while breastfeeding?
Dr. Harden: From a health perspective, breast milk is the most nutritious food you can give an infant. Consuming a healthy diet, eliminating as many preservatives and additives as possible, and choosing nutritional supplements rich in omega-3s and vitamin D can all support brain development and a baby’s immune system.
WUU: Why do you recommend USANA supplements to expecting mothers? Why are you excited about the new product, BabyCare Prenatal Essentials?
Dr. Harden: USANA products contain bioavailable, high-quality nutrients and are made without unnecessary fillers, dyes, or artificial preservatives. Their products have been developed under the guidance of a scientific team that understands the importance of quality and promotes health.
I highly recommend USANA supplements to my patients and have consistently seen their positive influence within our patient population. I wouldn’t be comfortable recommending any other brand. Now that I have access to the highest quality prenatal supplement available, I will no longer have concerns over my recommendation of a prenatal. How exciting is that?!
WUU: Why is it important for women to receive enough iron, calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3s?
Dr. Harden: Calcium is important not only for bone development but also for smooth muscle function and circulation. During pregnancy a women’s blood volume increases significantly, so iron, as well as calcium, is a very important nutrient for a pregnant woman. Omega-3 essential fatty acids promote fetal brain development and can benefit a woman’s immune system. Vitamin D is important in pregnancy, because insufficiency is common.
So obtaining these nutrients from a healthy diet and a good prenatal supplement can enhance the fetal environment and overall health of the mother.
WUU: What are some common misconceptions about nutrition before, during, or after pregnancy?
Dr. Harden: Currently there is not enough awareness of what we are putting into our bodies. Popular advertisements seem to put the wrong messages into our mind about what is healthy. A common misconception is that a vitamin is just a vitamin — this is absolutely not true. What we need is more education on what we are feeding our bodies. That is why I love USANA. Before recommending USANA vitamins to my patients, I toured the manufacturing facilities, met with the scientists, and talked with Dave Wentz, the CEO of the company. I could not be more confident of the exceptional quality of supplements I am recommending to the mothers of our future generations.
*BabyCare Prenatal Essentials are currently available in the United States and not for resale in Canada.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.