Supporting your Immune System during Pregnancy
As we head into flu season and continue to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, I wanted to share some suggestions for pregnant moms wanting to boost their immune systems. There are so many ways we can proactively support our bodies in order to provide better resistance to germs and illness, and possibly prevent severe sickness. Many women find their immune systems face greater stress during pregnancy, so it’s extra important to try to support your body as it grows a baby while exposed to germs!
Before mentioning specific supplements, it’s important to remember that there are some key factors that also play into your overall health. These factors include:
- Sufficient, regular sleep: you need ENOUGH sleep to support your body’s needs, and these needs are often increased during pregnancy. Make a habit of going to bed early enough to get the hours of sleep you need! If you’re having trouble sleeping, let your midwife know (I have some suggestions for pregnancy-induced insomnia, so don’t hesitate to reach out!).
- Reduce Stress Levels: stress wears your body down, and makes it harder for your immune system work properly.
- Eat a healthful, whole-foods diet with lots of variety. If you need information on what a good pregnancy diet looks like, I highly recommend Lily Nichols’ book Real Food For Pregnancy (check out her blog for helpful info, as well: Lily Nichols, RDN)
- Stay hydrated: this helps to keep your body flushed and supported.
- Add fermented foods to your diet, such as raw sauerkraut, kefir, etc.
- Get 15-20 min of direct sunshine daily whenever possible!
- Exercise regularly, especially in the fresh air: a 30 min walk outdoors daily is excellent for ALL pregnant moms!
Consider the following supplements daily (check with your prenatal vitamin to determine your needed dosage to reach the recommended levels below):
- High Quality Probiotic: it’s no secret that our culture’s frequent antibiotic usage and lack of cultured and fermented foods are contributing to inadequate and/or imbalanced intestinal flora and correlating issues. A good probiotic with multiple different strains can help your body to work the way it should! One that specifically targets Candida overgrowth can be especially helpful in supporting the immune system. Klair Labs and Jarrow are two brands I recommend, but there are many options out there!
- Vitamin C (preferably with bioflavonoids) 2000mg daily: this can be split up throughout the day.
- Vitamin D3 4,000IU daily: for best absorption take with a meal containing fat.
- Zinc lozenges 5-10mg daily: preferably in the form of acetate.
- Elderberry 1-2TBL daily
When needing extra support (feeling run down, extra or direct exposure to illness, etc.) you may want to add the following to your regimen for 7-10 days:
- Gargle with Salt Water 2-3x/day for 15-30 seconds.
- Echinacea: 300-500mg dried herb (capsule or tablet) 3x/day or 2.5-5mL of tincture up to 3x/day
- Astralagus, Garlic, Ginger & Green Tea
- Bone Broth (find instructions for making high-quality bone broth at Broth is Beautiful: Weston A. Price Foundation)
The following are some combination immune boosting blends that are wonderful to have on hand for extra immune support (they contain combinations of the above suggestions):
- Green Shield by Sprigs
- Viva Naturals Immune Support
- Wishgarden Cold Seasons for Pregnancy
- Wishgarden Immune Support for Pregnancy
A few years ago I posted some additional tips and suggestions on preparing for cold season, and you can find that post here: Preparing for Cold Season: Pregnancy-safe Suggestions
For those wanting to learn more and get further tips, check out the following links:
Mama Natural: Boosting Your Immune System
Aviva Romm: Natural Prevention for Covid 19 in Pregnancy