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'Tis the Season for Prenatal Supplements

by Caroline Fontein

When the weather outside gets frightful. And the fire looks so delightful. The mood may just be right for some afternoon (or evening) delight.

But if you’re reading this blog on prenatal supplements, you probably already know this.

There’s a reason why more people celebrate birthdays in August or the start of September than any other time of year.

Whether it’s our body’s biological need to feel warmth or the prevalence of booze and merrymaking during the winter holidays, this is prime baby-making season.

Along with this, there’s even evidence to suggest that the seasonality of sperm patterns could be the explanation for increased fecundability in winter. (Sperm seasonality? Keep reading.)

A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, that examined more than 6,000 semen samples, found that sperm concentration increased during the winter months and decreased from spring toward summer.

This study also found that the physical structure of sperm cells were the healthiest in winter and early spring months. So, maybe it isn’t just the boozy eggnog to blame.

Whatever the reason, this might just be the most wonderful time of year, to get pregnant.

If you're wondering how to select the best prenatal vitamin supplement, here are some things to consider:

Why should I consider taking a prenatal supplement?

First, it’s important to note that prenatal supplements will not get you pregnant (darn).  Instead, they help women obtain the specific nutrient levels that are ideal for a healthy pregnancy.

According to the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion, women’s needs for certain vitamins and minerals increase during pregnancy. Folate and iodine are perfect examples. When taken daily before and during early pregnancy, adequate folate and iodine intakes may help support early fetal development. *

The National Institute of Health recommends that pregnant women get 600 mcg of folate and 220 mcg of iodine per day. This is an increase from the amounts recommended for all females 14 years of age and older, which are 400 mcg of folate and 150 mcg of iodine.

When you factor in morning sickness and everything else that comes with being pregnant, making sure you eat enough of the right foods to support both your and your growing baby’s nutritional needs can be a challenge.

Plus, we know that sometimes not everyone is perfect (we won’t mention that pint of ice cream that mysteriously disappeared).

To help fill those nutritional gaps (like when your vegetable servings come from french fries), you can always take a supplement. Yay!

When should I start taking a prenatal supplement?

You can start taking prenatal vitamins before becoming pregnant, but we recommend that you consult with your healthcare provider/OBGYN to determine if or when a prenatal supplement is right for you.

Doctors recommend taking prenatal vitamins at varying times depending upon each individual’s health and nutrient status.

Why is folate important?

Folate can help support normal early fetal development according to the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion. Your body also uses this B vitamin to help form new blood cells.*

Folate is often called folic acid, but the two are not the same:

  • Folate is the form found in plants (5-MTHF is also considered to be folate).
  • Folic acid is the synthetic form found in most supplements and fortified foods.
  • Folate as methylfolate is the premium, metabolically active form of folate. It's also the form your body prefers because it can be used without needing to first convert it to another form, like what happens with folic acid.

At SmartyPants, our prenatal supplements include 100 percent of the recommended daily value of folate, in the premium form methylfolate, to support normal early fetal development.*

Why is iodine important?

Don’t get salty (or do). Iodine is an essential mineral and critical for numerous metabolic functions. It also supports the nervous system and normal brain development during pregnancy.*

We include 100 percent of the daily value of iodine because some studies suggest that iodine consumption is on the decline in the US.

This may be because of nutrient depletion in our soil, the increased use of sea salt or the decreased use of iodized salt (salt that has been fortified with elemental iodine). Unlike iodized salt, sea salt and the salt in many processed foods are not fortified with iodine.

What kind of prenatal supplements does SmartyPants make?

We thought you’d never ask. We have two prenatal supplements, our certified-organic and vegetarian Organics Prenatal Formula and SmartyPants Prenatal Formula.

Whether you’re looking for prenatal supplement that also contains probiotics or one the includes omega-3s from fish oil, we give you options. Both formulas are packed with vitamins and essential nutrients in premium forms that your body prefers and can easily use.

All of our supplements are non-GMO and made without any synthetic colors, artificial flavors and sweeteners. They’re also free of the eight most common allergens. These include milk, eggs, shellfish, soy, peanuts, wheat, fish allergens, and tree nut allergens.

Along with this, we formulate our supplements based on the latest recommendations from the Health and Medicine Division (formerly the Institute of Medicine) and current dietary patterns. So, they fill typical nutrient gaps in the Western diet and give you more of the nutrients you want, in one easy serving.

Organic Prenatal Formula

Calling all earth mommas! Our Organic Prenatal Formula is certified-organic and vegetarian. It includes omega-3 ALA (essential fatty acids) sourced from vegan flaxseed oil, folate as methylfolate for early fetal development, probiotics (Bacillus subtilis) for digestion, vitamin D as D3 for bones and vitamin B12 as methylcobalamin to support energy production- all in one delicious gummy.*

Product Highlights

  • Early fetal development – Folate in the premium form methylfolate to support early fetal development along with Iodine to support normal brain development during pregnancy and for your thyroid support*
  • Essential fatty acids – Omega-3 ALA from organic flaxseed oil
  • Digestive Health – Probiotics (Bacillus subtilis) with a 99% survivability rate to support digestive health*
  • Bone Health – Vitamin D in the premium form D3 to support strong bones and teeth*
  • Energy Support – Vitamin B12 as the premium form methylcobalamin for energy*
  • Biotin to help maintain healthy hair, skin and nails*
  • Immune Health – Zinc in the premium form zinc citrate to support immune health*

Prenatal Formula

Special delivery! Our classic SmartyPants Prenatal Formula formula contains a robust blend of premium ingredients and essential nutrients including omega-3 (EPA & DHA) essential fatty acids from fish oil, folate as methylfolate for early fetal development and vitamin D as D3 for bone health – all in one yummy gummy.*

Ingredient Highlights

  • Early fetal development – Folate in the premium form methylfolate to support early fetal development along with iodine to support normal brain development during pregnancy and your thyroid*
  • Essential Fatty Acids – Omega-3 (EPA & DHA) sourced from sustainable stocks of wild-caught small fish
  • Bone health – Vitamin D in the premium form D3 to support strong bones and teeth*
  • Energy Support – Vitamin B12 in the premium form methylcobalamin for energy*
  • Antioxidant Support – Vitamin E (from sunflower oil), an antioxidant for the maintenance of good health*

So bring some corn for poppin.’ Make sure the lights are turned way down low. It’s time to embrace the season, and don’t forget the mistletoe.

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Caroline Fontein