First Trimester (weeks 1-12)

After the BFP – what I look for in an early pregnancy supplement

Jessie Day  |   16 Apr 2023


Words by Jessie Day, in collab with Nutri Advanced 

You’ve put the test down, texted your partner (or, in my case, best friend) and – naturally – started googling like mad.

For me, fresh from a bumpy ride to the BFP (big fat positive) pregnancy test, one of my very first thoughts was to do what I could, at home, to switch up my nutrition and eating habits for early pregnancy. And the direct route to optimising was, I was sure, an early pregnancy supplement.

What I quickly came to appreciate was that the best pregnancy supplements tend to cover all bases. Pre-conception, pregnancy and the fourth trimester, plus breastfeeding. Depending on your unique health profile, situation and a qualified nutritionist’s guidance, you may choose to add in something specific to your diet or supplement game. But as a baseline, your pregnancy supplement can provide everything you and your baby need, before, during and after.

You just need to drill that label, and look for certain key micronutrients, in the most bioavailable (easily absorbed) form, and at the right strength per dosage.

My pregnancy supplement of choice? Nutri Advanced Multi Essentials for Pregnancy. And here’s why.

Before you scroll, make a note – our readers get an incredible 20% off the entire range at Nutri Advanced with code TRB20. Just pop it into the box at checkout.

It’s all in the jar (or box/bottle/sachet) 

Basically, that ingredients label is super-important. Much more important than the big, bold highlights on the front, for example, because the ingredients should break down dosage, potency and how absorbable your micronutrients are.

A supermarket sweep may seem cheaper and just as good, but in reality, very few can compete with a product that’s formulated to give you and your baby a therapeutic dose. You may be parting with less cash at check-out, but often you’ll need to take more tablets to get the same impact. And/or, your body will need to work much harder to make use of them.

Broad-spectrum is important too – we’ll cover the superstar individual micronutrients to look out for later on – and don’t get me started on a pregnancy multi tablet that ‘includes Omega-3’. I can almost guarantee it will provide a fraction of what you need, and, in most cases, from an inferior source.

Note – if you’re looking for an Omega-3 created with the same gold standard ethos of bioavailability, potency and sourcing, flick to the Eskimo®-3 Fish Oil range – available in capsule or liquid form. Our community gets 20% off these too, with the code TRB20 at checkout.

Think bioavailability, and therapeutic dosage 

That means bioavailable forms of each micronutrient, and at a potency that delivers in, where possible, just one tablet each day. Not only does this help you out with any swallow-aversions during bouts of morning sickness, it ensures better bang for your buck, when purchasing.

For me, across pregnancy, Nutri Advanced deliver everything I need and look for in my supplement intake. And trust me, I’m picky. As a mega fan, I was thrilled to catch up with Rachel Bartholomew, Nutritionist at Nutri Advanced, to explain the science and dynamic impact inside my Multi Essentials for Pregnancy jar.

Rachel’s guidance here is my go-to of what to look for in an early pregnancy supplement, which also serves you before, during and after pregnancy, and into your fourth trimester.

Let’s do this.

Nutri Advanced-early pregnancy supplement

Rachel says – 

Early pregnancy is a time of dramatic change and development. By the end of the first trimester the foetus is fully formed, and this includes all the vital organs. It’s crucial, therefore, to support this rapid phase of development with optimal nutrition.

The nutrients to look for 

From folate to magnesium, here are the baseline nutrient superstars I get all my mamas-to-be to look for, when choosing a pregnancy supplement.

Folate (as 5-MTHF)

Right at the top of this list, and for very good reason, is folate. And, I get pretty picky here.

Pregnant women have a much higher requirement for folate, and supplementation is recommended specifically to help prevent rare neural tube defects (NTDs) such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Folate is needed throughout pregnancy, but has a particularly important role at conception and during the first 28 days – often before you’ve even confirmed your pregnancy.

So, it’s best to start supplementation as early as possible, when (trying to conceive) TTC.  Attention to detail matters, not just on timing your folate supplementation, but also in terms of the form you take.

Most pregnancy supplements contain the synthetic form, known as folic acid, which needs to be converted in the body into an active form of folate before it can be used. Some people, however, struggle to make this conversion. For this reason, I recommend supplementing directly with the active form of folate (5-MTHF / 5-methyltetrahydrofolate) to ensure you’re getting maximum benefits.

Scan the jar, and you’ll find 400mcg of this active form of folate in Multi Essentials for Pregnancy. This supplement also contains active forms of vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxal-5-phosphate) – the B Vitamins are so important during pregnancy, so this is my go-to for a fantastic baseline.

Iodine

Often under-recognised as a micronutrient during pregnancy, iodine is essential and absolutely critical to support proper functioning of the thyroid, and normal development of baby’s brain and nervous system, especially during the first trimester.

Requirements for iodine increase significantly during pregnancy, and Multi Essentials for Pregnancy contains 290 mcg – the recommended amount for pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Nutri Advanced-vitamins during pregnancy

Choline

Similarly under-appreciated, demand for choline is especially high during pregnancy and maintaining optimal dietary intake throughout is critical. Choline is an essential nutrient for cell division and for the production of cell membranes – vital processes during pregnancy, and especially during the first trimester.

This is an important one to look for in your pregnancy supplement.

Magnesium (as citrate)

Many pregnancy supplements contain magnesium, but often in fairly low levels and sadly, in cheaper forms that aren’t easy for the body to use. We actually need pretty high levels of magnesium, especially during pregnancy when demands are even higher, yet it can be a real challenge to get enough from diet alone, especially if you’re affected by nausea during early pregnancy.

Multi Essentials for Pregnancy contains a meaningful 50 mg magnesium per tablet, in the highly bioavailable form of magnesium citrate which is much better tolerated and absorbed than cheaper forms, such as magnesium oxide.

Potency non-negotiables

To get real benefits and value from your pregnancy supplement, whatever stage you’re at, these are my top three features to look for.

Meaningful amounts, in forms the body can actually use 

I say this as a practitioner – you get what you pay for when it comes to supplements. And sadly, all pregnancy multis are not created equal.

Attention to detail is crucial when it comes to supporting your growing baby during pregnancy. That’s why the level and form of every single nutrient in Multi Essentials for Pregnancy has been carefully selected to create a professional grade supplement that you can trust.

One-a-day, convenient tablets 

There’s so much to think about during early pregnancy. Plus, getting your supplements to stay down can be a struggle if you’re suffering from nausea. So as well as being comprehensive and highly effective, your pregnancy multi needs to be convenient too. Multi Essentials for Pregnancy provides a comprehensive range of nutrients in a one-a-day tablet.

No unnecessary excipients or fillers

Multi Essentials for Pregnancy doesn’t contain any unnecessary excipients or fillers. The only ingredients that are in the tablet are the ones that have to be there to ensure safety and efficacy of the supplement.

Remember your Omega-3s

I can’t close without a proper note on Omega-3, to sit alongside your pregnancy multi. It’s crucial, and so many of us struggle to get enough of these important fats from diet alone.

The first trimester is such a rapid phase of development for your growing baby – including for the brain – and this is where Omega-3 fats such as DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) are really important. In fact, DHA is the most prevalent fat in the brain.

The foetal brain starts to develop at around five weeks of pregnancy (isn’t that amazing?), so often right around the time your pregnancy test turns positive. Development continues throughout pregnancy and peaks during the third trimester.

Nutri Advanced-omega3-best pregnancy supplements

Research also supports the intake of DHA during pregnancy, to prevent preterm birth and support your mood. Pregnant women are advised to limit intake of oily fish (the best dietary source of Omega-3s) due to concerns over contaminants, so supplementation is often recommended. It’s crucial, however, to choose an Omega-3 supplement that has been thoroughly purified to remove contaminants such as the Eskimo®-3 Fish Oil range.

Any pregnancy vitamins to avoid? 

It’s crucial to check every supplement you take whilst TTC and during pregnancy as there are many that aren’t suitable.  If you’re at all unsure, it’s always best to check.  Nutri Advanced offer a free and confidential 10-minute product advice call with a member of the Nutrition Team who can advise you on which supplements are safe to take during pregnancy.

Rounding it up

Nutri Advanced Multi Essentials for Pregnancy has been expertly formulated as a comprehensive supplement to support women whilst TTC, throughout pregnancy and all the way to post-birth and breastfeeding.

We’re thrilled that Nutri Advanced are able to offer our community 20% off their entire range with the code TRB20. Just pop it into the box at checkout.

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