The Role of Dietary Supplements during Pregnancy

by Nektaria Karakosta

Dietary supplements taken before and during pregnancy, as well as during breast-feeding, promote fetal growth and development, lead to better pregnancy outcomes, improve the mother’s health and well-being, prevent postpartum depression and improve the quality of breast milk. Ms. Eleftheria Siskoglou, dietician-nutritionist, advises us on the beneficial properties of some of these supplements:


Folic acid: Folic acid is absolutely necessary for proper fetal development and for DNA synthesis. Natural sources of folic acid are leafy green vegetables, cereals, pasta, legumes, nuts and others. Solgar’s Folacin (Folic Acid) 400/800μg is recommended for pregnant women because it contributes to the development of fetal tissues. It is also useful in cases of anaemia due to folate deficiency.


Iron and calcium: Starting from the second trimester of pregnancy, and continuing on throughout breast-feeding, gynaecologists recommend calcium and iron supplements. “Calcium is necessary for the baby’s bones and teeth, and it also helps with hormone secretion and normal heart function. Natural sources for calcium are milk, yogurt, yellow cheeses, soy products, dried figs, small fish with bones that can be swallowed, etc. In order for calcium to be better absorbed, the body needs vitamin D; for this to be synthesized, we need to stay in the sun for 20 minutes each day”, notes Ms. Siskoglou. Solgar’s natural dietary supplement Calcium 600mg with Vitamin D3 is made from oyster shells, which are considered to be a rapidly absorbed source, and it also contains vitamin D3 for better calcium absorption and utilisation in the body.

As far as iron is concerned, the volume of red blood cells in a pregnant woman’s body increases by 30% during pregnancy, which means that her iron needs are also increased. “Iron deficiency anaemia is very common in pregnant women. Natural sources of iron are beef, chicken, fish, oranges, green leafy vegetables, rice etc. For better absorption of dietary iron, these sources should be combined with vitamin C (e.g. beef with rice and green salad)”, notes our expert.

Most women cannot resolve their iron deficiency anaemia through diet alone, and need some iron supplement. However, they are often worried or troubled by the bloating and severe constipation that standard products cause. This problem is solved by Solgar’s unique Gentle Iron product which is easily absorbed, has high bioavailability, does not cause constipation or gastric discomfort (bloating) and does not need vitamin C for good absorption.


Omega-3 fatty acids: Experts are now paying particular attention to the value of omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA), not just during pregnancy but even before that. Ensuring an adequate dietary supply of omega-3 fatty acids for pregnant and breast-feeding women has been positively associated with improved vision, intelligence, concentration, reflexes and immune system function in their children. However, consumption of the necessary amounts of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy is not easy because pregnant women must avoid large fish. For that reason, omega-3 dietary supplements are recommended. ||




Eleftheria Siskoglou

Dietician - Nutritionist

70, Pylarinou str., Corinth, Greece

mobile +30 695 185 5522