Pregnancy can be a tricky time to work on both new and pre-existing health concerns. So much care needs to be taken to minimise any risk of harm to the developing bub that it can be hard to know what your options are for managing issues like skin conditions. This is true for pharmaceutical interventions and holistic medicine alike, however safety queries around medication can be easier to access clear guidelines for. Not to mention that pregnancy for some is a time when skin issues can flare. I wanted to share some of the most important nutrients for pregnancy and how they can also very safely support your skins radiance and health.
Firstly my Favourites 3 Supplements for Pregnancy Acne
Zinc (25mg-50mg daily with food)
This multifunctional mineral has an anti-androgenic action that’s safe in pregnancy and very helpful for acne. Also improves skin surface parameters in acne healing. Zinc is great for depression and anxiety prevention and improves immunity for mothers and babies, increasing defensive immunity while decreasing allergy risk. Low zinc levels increase the incidence of both maternal and newborn health complications. If you are suffering from morning sickness taking lower divided doses can be easier, doses of zinc over 40mg can cause nausea in sensitive individuals and it should always be taken with food to prevent this.
High EPA omega-3 from high quality, very pure fish oil is great in pregnancy acne as well as pregnancy skin issues in general as it’s anti-inflammatory and all skin issue are inflammatory in nature. The Omega-3 decreases blemish formation by improving the health and quality of sebum, also nourishing the skin in inflammatory skin issues such as rosacea, dermatitis etc. Bubs nervous system and brain also require plenty of the DHA component of Omega-3 and if bub is lacking they will take yours. The size of a mothers brain can shrink during pregnancy due to deficiency, yep that’s scary, if you are thinking about post natal depression risks and baby brain fog you are right on the money. High quality fish oil is always the best available source but if you prefer vegan or veg you can get Algae oil DHA or Flaxseed oil as a lower dose alternatives.
Myo-inositol is useful for regulating high androgens in pregnancy so therefore helps with hormonal acne, 4g in a day is best for this result. In addition to it’s androgen lowering ability this B vitamin prevents and helps with gestational diabetes. If you have PCOS or blood sugar issues, are overweight or have a family history of diabetes, it’s best to be on a preventative dose. Gestational diabetes is up to 25% occurrence rate in recent years, 2-4g in a day is safe and effective for this function.
Additional Pregnancy Musts
Vitamin D (1-2000IU a day, in deficiency more is required)
You do make vitamin D from sun exposure, however in colder months or if you aren’t generally on to hang out in the sun unexposed you should consider the possibility of deficiency, you can ask your GP to test your levels or use a lower dose if you are unsure. This amazing vitamin is really a forgotten hormone, it ‘s so imperative and broad functioning in pregnancy and early life health. Bubs brain, immune defensive system and allergy prevention, as well as yours all rely on good vitamin D levels. Immune modulation through healthy vitamin D status may also decrease inflammatory skin flares such as dermatitis and eczema. This amazing nutrient reduces risks of pregnancy complications of preeclampsia, low birth weight and increased C-section. Low vitamin D levels also increase your risk of gestational diabetes so it’s a good one to add in, if you have the risk factors I mentioned for Inositol. Pro-hormone effects of vitamin D means it regulates other sex hormones for fertility/pregnancy health and increases SHBG a protein that binds up extra testosterone which is useful if your acne or hirsutism prone and over producing Testosterone.
Bubs IQ is much improved by healthy Iodine status, due to its function in brain and nervous system development. Healthy Iodine levels aid in healthy progesterone levels, progesterone is a gentle, natural anti-androgen, so we want plenty in acne but also in pregnancy to decrease early miscarriage risk. We can’t talk about Iodine without mentioning its supportive role in thyroid function, lack of iodine increases the risk of maternal thyroid issues while Iodine can support post partum hair loss. Furthermore research has shown that low thyroid function due to iodine deficiency may predispose women to post natal depression.
So many women have low iron in pregnancy, especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. It’s good to ensure you have a good reserve level (ferritin) at the start of pregnancy, so you’re not playing catch up the whole way through. Iron supplements can exacerbate constipation, as does pregnancy in general so it can be a tricky one to manage. Aside from fatigue low iron exacerbates anxiety of both mental and physical signs. Anxiety isn’t good for your body on so many levels, but of particular note is its exacerbation of skin issues across the bored.
I’ve mentioned post natal depression above so would just like to elaborate that I believe it to be a complex issue, that can’t be reduced to just nutritional deficiencies, however having a solid nutritional base can only be supportive in a really positive sense. The above is not an exhaustive list, keep in mind your pregnancy body still needs other nutrients, eating a balanced diet and of course getting your folate is all of paramount importance. Most good quality natal multivitamins will include enough of most of the above nutrients to get you just over the line in preventing deficiency. If your wanting to thrive through pregnancy or have specific concerns you can add in a therapeutic dosage formula’s in addition to your pregnancy multi. If you feel unsure of dosing, this can be brought up with a nutritionist, naturopath or your GP, if you aren’t working with anyone else. Inositol and Omega-3 both would need to be taken as separate formulas as high doses are required. There are many great pregnancy multivitamins on the market so explore beyond Elevit.