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MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information
(Placental Abruption)

For "Informational Use Only".
For more detailed information, contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.

  • Placenta Abruption Description
  • Frequent Signs & Symptoms of Placental Abruption
  • Causes of Placenta Abruption
  • Placenta Abruption Risk Factors
  • Preventive Measures
  • Expected Outcome
  • Potential Placenta Abruption Complications
  • Conventional Medical Treatmennt
  • Medication
  • Activity Recommendations & Restrictions
  • Diet & Nutrition
  • Notify Your Midwife or Health Care Provider
  • Recommended Dietary Supplement Products

  • placenta abruption compared, Normal vs Abruption


    Abruptio placentae (Placental Abruption) is the partial separation of the placenta (also called the afterbirth) from the wall of the uterus in the last 3 months of pregnancy. The placenta carries all nourishment and oxygen to the unborn child. If the placenta partially separates prematurely, the child's life will be endangered and the mother is at risk of life-threatening hemorrhage. Treatment depends on the severity of the separation, the condition of the fetus, and the duration of the pregnancy.

    placenta abruption classifications

    There are three classifications of placenta abruption: External Abruption (Bleeding is evident when blood is seen flowing from the vagina), Relatively Concealed Abruption (There may be blood spotting or no bleeding seen), and Concealed Abruption (Blood backed up behind the placenta and no blood is seen flowing from the vagina). All classifications are severe and can result in fetal demise and danger to the mother. Full abruption is when the entire placenta has separated from the uterus and fetal demise is almost certain unless an immediate cesarean is performed. A partial abruption is when an edge of the placenta has separated, such is seen in a placenta previa (the placenta covers the opening of the cervix either partially or fully) when cervical dilation begins and the placenta is dislodged.

    Also known as Premature separation of placenta; Ablatio placentae; Abruptio placentae; Placental abruption.

    placenta: placental abruption


    Small separation of the placenta:
    • Vaginal bleeding.
    • Mild pain or discomfort. Abdominal pain. Back pain.
    • Unborn child remains healthy.
    Large separation of the placenta:
    • Heavy vaginal bleeding.
    • Severe pain in the lower abdomen or back.
    • Hard, tender abdomen.
    • Shock (rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, and dizziness).
    • Fetal distress; heartbeat of the unborn child may be inaudible.
    • Coagulopathy (disseminated intravascular coagulopathy [DIC]) - certain elements of the placenta are released into the mother's circulation causing blood clotting defects. Symptoms include nosebleed, blood in the urine, oozing from puncture sites, bleeding into the skin, round red spots on the skin.


    It is frequently difficult to determine the exact causes of placental abruption. Direct causes that result in placental abruption are quite rare, but include injury to the abdomen from an auto accident or fall, sudden loss in uterine volume (can occur with rapid loss of amniotic fluid or the delivery of a first twin), or an abnormally short umbilical cord.

    placental abruption anatomy


  • High blood pressure. Approximately 50-percent of placental abruption cases severe enough to cause fetal death are associated with high blood pressure hypertension)
  • Women who smoke cigarettes.
  • Women over age 35.
  • Women who have had several pregnancies and deliveries.
  • A previous pregnancy with placental separation. After one prior episode there is a 10 to 17-percent recurrence; after two previous episodes the chance of recurrence exceeds 20 percent.
  • A direct blow causing trauma to the uterus.
  • Chronic disease, such as diabetes mellitus.
  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs (particularly cocaine). Drinking more than 14 alcoholic drinks per week during pregnancy.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Low lying placenta (placenta previa) that partially or totally covers the cervical opening. The placenta may be partially or totally dislodged or detached when the cervix begins to dilate in late pregnancy.

  • placenta previa

    The incidence of placental abruption including any amount of placental separation prior to delivery, is about 1 out of 150 deliveries. The severe form, which results in fetal death, occurs in about 1 out of 500 to 750 deliveries.


  • Get early and continuous prenatal care.

  • Early recognition and proper management of conditions in the mother such as diabetes and high blood pressure also decrease the risk of placental abruption.

  • If pregnant, do not engage in activity more vigorous than what you were accustomed to before pregnancy.

  • Avoid risk factors when possible. Maintain a positive lifestyle free of smoking, alcohol and recreational drug use (e.g., cocaine use).

  • Proper and adequate nutrition prior to becoming pregnant and during pregnancy will help to prevent or reduce the risk of many negative outcomes of pregnancy.

  • Since the cause is unknown, there is no assured way to prevent the problem.


    When the separation is less severe and with immediate medical care, the outlook for mother and fetus is good.

    The mother does not usually die from this condition. Maternal death rates in various parts of the world range from 0.5 to 5-percent. Early diagnosis of the condition and adequate treatment should decrease the maternal death rate even further. Fetal death rates range from 20 to 35 percent. Upon hospital admission, no fetal heart tone is detectable in about 15-percent of cases.

    Fetal distress appears early in the condition in approximately 50-percent of cases. The infants who live have a 40 to 50 percent chance of complications, which range from mild to severe. Concealed vaginal bleeding in pregnancy, excessive loss of blood resulting in shock, absence of labor, a closed cervix, and delayed diagnosis and treatment may increase the risk of maternal or fetal death.


  • Shock or life-threatening bleeding in the mother.
  • Death of unborn child and mother.
  • Brain damage to the unborn child.
  • Of the site of placental attachment starts to hemorrhage after the delivery and loss of blood cannot be controlled by other means, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may become necessary.
  • 10 to 17 percent of patients have abruptio placentae in a future pregnancy.


  • Placental abruption is an emergency, but there is usually time to obtain advice by telephone and arrange safe transportation to the hospital. Panic is not helpful. If the placenta separation is slight, you may be able to return home for bed rest and close observation after examination.

  • Hospitalization required (except for mild cases). The mother will be carefully monitored for symptoms of shock and signs of fetal distress, which include abnormal heart rates.

  • placental abruption - emergency cesarean section

  • Surgery to deliver the unborn child by cesarean section, or vaginal delivery (sometimes). If the fetus is very immature and there is only a small separation, the mother may be kept in the hospital for close observation and released after several days if the condition does not get worse. If the fetus is mature, vaginal delivery may be chosen if there is minimal distress to the mother and child. Otherwise, a cesarean section may be the preferred choice.

  • placental abruption diagnosis by ultrasound


  • Pelvic exam

  • CBC, may not decreased hematocrit or hemoglobin and platelets.

  • Prothrombin time test.

  • Partial thromboplastin time test.

  • Abdominal ultrasound.


  • Oxytocin, a drug to induce labor, may be used if immediate delivery is necessary.
  • Intravenous (IV) fluids may be necessary for fluid replacement.
  • Blood transfusion may be necessary to replace amount of blood loss.


  • If you are able to remain at home, rest in bed until bleeding and other symptoms cease.
  • Do not resume normal activities until specific instructions to do so are given to you.
  • Avoid sexual relations until otherwise instructed.
    MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Bedrest Checklist
    MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Bedrest, Coping With
    MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Bedrest Exercise
    MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Bedrest Family Tips


  • If you are resting at home, continue with your regular prenatal dietary program. See MoonDragon's Nutrition Index for helpful dietary information for proper nutrition during pregnancy.

  • If hospitalized, a liquid-only diet may be prescribed until it is determined that surgery is not likely. Solid food may cause risk if emergency surgery becomes necessary.

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index
    Nutritional guidelines, food guide, dietary menus and suggestions, recipes, and nutritional therapy.


    Nearly all pregnant women can benefit from nutritional and Multivitamin supplementation one year before and all during pregnancy, and throughout labor, delivery, and breast-feeding. The effects of poor nutrition during pregnancy can be seen in the increase of birth defects during times of famine. But a standard Western diet (high in fats, salt, sugar, and low in complex carbohydrates) also lacks necessary essential vitamins and minerals needed during pregnancy and breast-feeding, leading to a "compromise in an offspring's health." The appropriate diet is well-balanced and varied, and includes fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans and fish, with a limit on refined sugars, processed foods, and saturated fats. Organically grown produce, meats, and poultry are preferable, or at least carefully washed produce to remove agricultural chemicals.

    In an observational study involving 76 healthy pregnant women, 78-percent had "one or more glaring nutritional deficiency." Another study showed an "overall apparent protective effect of multivitamin use for prevention of certain pregnancy-related illnesses and birth defects. Of special importance are Folate (Folic Acid) and Calcium intake, since the requirement for both of these substances (one a vitamin, the other a mineral) doubles during pregnancy.

    The fetus, the neonate, and the pregnant woman have an increased requirement for Folic Acid and Vitamin B-12, and are more likely to suffer from a deficiency of these vitamins. Nutrients such as Folic Acid, Vitamin B-6 and Vitamin B-12 all have been correlated with prevention of the more common negative pregnancy outcomes, such as spontaneous abortion, placental abruption, pre-term delivery, low infant birth weight, and neural tube defects (e.g. spina bifida and anencephaly). Supplementation with Calcium, the only mineral whose requirement doubles during pregnancy, has been positively correlated with prevention of pregnancy hypertension and preeclampsia, preterm delivery, and low birth weight, as well as puerperal psychosis (postpartum depression). Magnesium supplementation has also been shown in studies to reduce the complications of pregnancy and improve the health of the infant.


  • FOLIC ACID (VITAMIN B-9): Folate is the only vitamin, whose requirement doubles in pregnancy. Deficiencies of Folic Acid have been linked in studies to low birth weight infants and neural tube defects. According to one controlled study, women at high risk (having previously given birth to babies with neural tube defects) given folate supplementation, showed a 72-percent protective effect compared to the placebo group. In one study, a group of pregnant women given folate supplementation gave birth to infants with increased birth weight and Apgar scores, and had a decreased incidence of fetal growth retardation and maternal infections. Other studies also showed significant prevention with supplementation. Because of firmly-established connections between deficiencies of Folic Acid and low birth weight infants and neural tube defects, the US Public Health Service recommends that all women of childbearing age take daily Folic Acid supplementation to reduce their risk of congenital birth defects.

  • Dietary Folic Acid is a mixture of folates in the form of polyglutamates, which are readily destroyed by cooking. Recommended daily allowance is 600 mcg per day during pregnancy. Breastfeeding mothers RDA is 500 mcg per day. Higher levels of dietary folate intake has been shown in some cases to decrease the incidence of neural tube defects, but women hereditarily predisposed to such defects may need to take in more Folic Acid through supplements in order to reach optimal levels. Folic acid can be found in green leafy vegetables, nuts and whole grains, liver,Watercress, Parsley, and Dandelion. With artificial supplementation, care must be taken, because large doses of Folic Acid have been associated with a decrease in Zinc absorption, a mineral required for proper fetal growth and immunity, as well as maternal infection and abnormally slow fetal heart rate.

    MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamin B-9 (Folic Acid / Folate) Information

  • NIACIN (NICOTINIC ACID - VITAMIN B-3): Niacin supplementation in the first trimester has been positively correlated in studies with higher birth weight, longer length, and newborn head circumference (all signs of healthier infants). Recommended daily allowance for Vitamin B-3 is 17 mg per day. RDA for breastfeeding mothers is 20 mg per day. Good food sources of niacin are Wheat Germ, Fish, and Garlic. Herbal sources are Burdock root and seed, Dandelion, Alfalfa, and Parsley.

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamin B-3 (Niacin / Niacinamide) Information

  • THIAMINE (VITAMIN B-1): Direct correlation has been shown between supplementation of thiamine early in pregnancy and higher infant birth weight and size, and thiamine depletion is common during pregnancy; supplementation is recommended. Recommended daily allowance is 1.5 mg per day. For nursing mothers the RDA is 1.6 mg per day. Food sources are Green Peas, Bell Peppers, and Sunflower seeds. Herbal sources include Dandelion, Alfalfa, Red Clover, Fenugreek, Red Raspberry leaf, and Kelp Seaweed.

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine / Thiamin) Information

  • RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B-2): Studies show that riboflavin depletion is common during pregnancy (up to 40-percent less at term than non-pregnant women and men), so riboflavin supplementation is recommended to prevent metabolic disturbances. Recommended daily allowance of Riboflavin is 1.6 mg per day. For breasteeding mothers it is 1.8 mg per day. Good sources of riboflavin are Watercress and Brown Rice. Herbal sources include Rose Hips, Parsley, Saffron, Dandelion, Dulse and Kelp, and Fenugreek.

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin) Information

  • VITAMIN B-6 (PYRIDOXINE): Vitamin B-6 is "marginally deficient" in about 50 percent of pregnant women. Recommended daily allowance of Vitamin B-6 is 2.2 mg per day, in breastfeeding mothers it is 2.1 mg per day. Supplementation has been linked to relief of nausea and morning sickness, especially in extreme cases that include vomiting. In one experimental study, 75-percent of women taking Vitamin B-6 experienced complete relief from symptoms of morning sickness. Higher doses were used for treatment of first trimester morning sickness (25 to 200 mg 3 times daily), but are not recommended before delivery, as higher doses may shut off breast milk in nursing mothers, or cause the baby withdrawal seizures if commercial formula is given that does not include enough pyridoxine (B-6). However, when given during labor, Vitamin B-6 may prevent many postnatal adaptation problems by increasing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. Local application of Vitamin B-6 as a lozenge provided protection from dental cavities, which are more common during pregnancy. Supplementation may also prevent toxemia of pregnancy (preeclampsia). Food sources are Wheat Germ, Egg Yolks, Peas and Carrots. Pyridoxine is found in all whole grains.

  • > MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine) Information

  • VITAMIN B-12: The coenzyme form of Vitamin B-12 is a very complex molecule containing Cobalt, designated in humans as cobalamin, which is required for proper homocysteine metabolism. At least 12 different inherited inborn errors of metabolism related to cobalamin are known; low plasma Vitamin B-12 levels have been shown to be an independent risk factor for neural tube defect in one study. Recommended daily allowance of Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin) is 2.2 mcg per day. Nursing mothers should have 2.6 mcg per day. Supplementation is recommended and may also help in prevention of anemia. Food sources are Cauliflower and Broccoli. Herbal sources are Alfalfa, Comfrey, Miso, Kelp seaweed, and Catnip.

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin) Information

  • VITAMIN A: More than 6,000 IU Vitamin A daily is not recommended. Do not exceed 10,000 IU daily from all supplement sources. Beta Carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, is 10,000 IU daily. Daily doses of 40,000 units or more of Vitamin A during pregnancy may be toxic, while doses lower than 10,000 units appear to be safe. A study of 22,000 pregnant women, those who consumed more than 15,000 units of vitamin A per day from food and supplements, or 10,000 units as a supplement, showed a significant increase in birth defects associated with cranialneural-crest tissue (several-fold higher incidents of birth defects). Most of these women consumed the vitamin A before the seventh week of pregnancy. Rat studies show a possible link to Folic Acid metabolism. Elevated levels of Vitamin A in the blood have also been correlated with low birth weights.

  • Preterm infants have been shown to be deficient in Vitamin A, which may predispose them to development of chronic lung disease. Healthy pregnant women who developed pre-eclampsia were shown to be deficient in Vitamin A (but not Beta-Carotene). Pre-eclampsia is a potentially dangerous condition characterized by high blood pressure, swelling, and /or protein spilling into the urine. Supplementation with no more than 6,000 units of Vitamin A<,/a> is recommended. Do not exceed 10,000 IU daily during pregnancy. Beta-Carotene, which has the same positive effects as vitamin A, has not been associated with toxicity or teratogenicity in humans or animals. Plant sources of the non-toxic "provitamin A" Beta Carotene are organic fruits and vegetables, especially yellow and orange ones; for example, one sweet potato or one cup of Carrot juice contains 25,000 IU of beta carotene. Herbal Sources include Alfalfa, Cayenne, Comfrey, Dandelion, Elderberries, Lamb's Quarters, Kelp Seaweed.

    MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamin A Information

  • VITAMIN C: Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, a major protein found in connective tissue, cartilage, and bone, and is "chronically underdosed." It is essential to the nerves, healthy gums and teeth, and prevents infection. Recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C is 70 mg per day. For breastfeeding mothers it is 95 mg per day. Although one study showed that women who took 5000 mg of vitamin C daily during pregnancy delivered healthy infants who developed scurvy, this "rebound scurvy" is very rare, and the infant recovers quickly without treatment. Supplementation with Vitamin C may be as effective as Calcium for leg cramps during pregnancy. Food sources of vitamin C are fruits (particularly Citrus), Green Chilies, Tomatoes, Honey, Cabbage, Cucumbers, Prunes (Dried Plums). Herbal sources include Elderberries, Rose Hips, Parsley, Dandelion Greens, Nettles, Alfalfa, and Cayenne.

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamin C Information

  • VITAMIN D: The absorption of vitamin D (as well as Calcium, which vitamin D helps metabolize) is enhanced during pregnancy, and since vitamin D tends toward toxicity, supplementation should be "judicious," to prevent excessive amounts of it from spilling into the urine. The recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D is 10 mcg per day. Fish Oil and sunshine are good sources of natural vitamin D, which benefits the development of good teeth and bones. Herbal sources of vitamin D are Alfalfa and Nettles and, of course, sunshine!

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamin D Information

  • VITAMIN E: Vitamin E status declines during pregnancy creating deficiencies, and fetal vitamin E levels are usually low. Recommended daily allowance for Vitamin E is 10 mg per day. For breastfeeding mothers, it is 12 mg per day. Lower plasma levels in the mother may be associated with increased risk of pre-eclampsia, as well as premature and low birth weight infants. Supplementation has been shown to be effective in preventing habitual or chronic abortion. Good food sources are Parsley, Brown Rice, and Wheat Germ. Herbal sources include Alfalfa, Rosehips, Red Raspberry leaf, Dandelion, Kelp seaweeds, and Watercress (although watercress should be avoided in the first trimester).

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamin E Information

  • VITAMIN K: Necessary for bone metabolism and to maintain healthy bones. Recommended daily allowance for Vitamin K is 65 mcg per day. Vitamin K (required by law in most states) is given to newborns in the hospital by injection in the foot immediately after birth, or a shot is given during labor, to prevent hemolytic disease in the newborn, characterized by anemia, jaundice, enlargement of the liver and spleen, and generalized edema. Naturopathic doctors recommend checking the pregnant mother's diet for vitamin K deficiency (to see if she is getting enough of the vitamin through her intake of squash and dark leafy vegetables), and adding oral supplementation of vitamin K in the last month of pregnancy, if needed, rather than automatically giving the shots, which have been shown in some studies to link with childhood cancer. Vitamin K helps support proper coagulation and blood clotting. The liver uses Vitamin K to synthesize blood-clotting proteins. Without Vitamin K, the level of the blood-clotting proteins drop, and clotting time is prolonged. Vitamin K cream is used to treat brusing and spider veins (capillaries viewed on the skin surface) helping them to fade. People using anticoagulant or blood thinning medications should consult with their health care provider before taking Vitamin K supplements.

  • Vitamin K (along with Vitamin C) is effective in preventing the nausea and vomiting of early pregnancy, and may reduce the risk of intraventricular hemorrhage in premature infants. Some food sources are Parsley and Brown Rice. Nettle or Alfalfa leaf infusion or tea taken throughout the pregnancy will increase available vitamin K and hemoglobin in the blood; also helpful is Kelp.

    MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamin K Information

  • CALCIUM: Calcium is the only mineral whose requirement doubles during pregnancy. Low dietary intake is associated with pre-eclampsia, a potentially dangerous (but preventable) condition characterized by high blood pressure (hypertension), swelling, and/or protein spilling into the urine. Supplementation with calcium may reduce the risk of preterm delivery, often associated with pre-eclampsia, and may also prevent the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Calcium supplementation can also help to ease leg cramps during pregnancy. Excessive levels of calcium in the body, however, can result in spillage into the urine and the increased possibility of kidney stones. Supplementation with calcium must be done with efficient forms of the mineral, such as Calcium Citrate or Citrate/Malate, which are the more absorbable forms. And attention must be paid to the relationship between Calcium and other minerals, such as Magnesium and Zinc.

  • Red Raspberry leaf infusion contains calcium in its most absorbable form; also Nettle infusions, fresh Parsley, and Watercress. Other food sources of calcium include Milk (Dairy) products, (although consumption of these can lead to an allergic condition in the baby), Dark Green Leafy Vegetables, Asparagus, and Pumpkin Seeds. Avoid bone meal or oyster shell calcium tablets, which have been found to be high in lead, mercury, cadmium, and other toxic metals.

    Recommended daily allowance for Calcium is 1,000 mg per day if age 19 to 50, 1,300 mg per day if under age 18; may be able to use lower doses if using calcium citrate/malate. For breastfeeding, daily dosage is the same for pregnancy.

    MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Calcium Information

  • CHROMIUM, COBALT (obtained from Vitamin B-12), & COPPER: These three trace minerals were positively associated in studies with higher infant birth weights, and supplementation is therefore recommended. Recommended daily allowance for Chromium is 120 mcg per day. For Cobalt, presumably as part of Vitamin B-12, 2 mcg per day recommended daily allowance. The recommended daily allowance for copper is 2 mg per day.

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Chromium Information
    MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Copper Information
    MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamin B-12 Information
    MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Multimineral Complex Information

  • IRON: Some researchers have concluded that iron supplementation is essential during pregnancy in order to maintain adequate maternal iron stores. Recommended daily allowance is 30 mg per day. Breastfeeding mothers 15 mg per day. But iron supplementation can exacerbate zinc depletion by blocking absorption of that mineral, so any supplementation should be warranted by tests that show a deficiency in the mother's hemoglobin, so routine iron supplementation during pregnancy is not clearly indicated. If a woman gets sufficient iron in the first trimester of pregnancy, then studies show a definite positive association with infant birthweight and size (but not in the second and third trimesters. Good food sources are Almonds, Honey, Beets (including Greens), Molasses, Brewers Yeast and high quality protein foods like egg yolks and organ meats (liver, kidney, heart). Herbs high in iron are Nettles, Dandelion, Yellow Dock and Alfalfa, as well as Kelp.
    MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Iron Information

  • MAGNESIUM: Magnesium deficiencies are associated with preeclampsia, and preterm labor. Supplementation must be in the first trimester to positively affect birthweight and size. Recommended daily allowance of magnesium is 300 mg per day. For breastfeeding mothers, it is 355 mg per day. Researchers think that magnesium may act by opposing calcium-dependent arterial vasoconstriction, and also prevent cell damage and death, making magnesium sulfate the "drug of choice" in the treatment of pre-eclampsia. In general, supplementation may reduce the complications of pregnancy and improve the health of the infant. In studies, magnesium-treated women had a 29.5-percent reduction in the risk of hospitalization, as well as a 37-percent reduction in per capita hospital days. Food sources are Honey, Almonds, Barley, Dried Fruits, and Potatoes. Herbs are Dandelion, Alfalfa, and Watercress (avoid in first trimester), as well as Kelp and Dulse (Seaweed). Magnesium and Calcium should be taken with 1 part magnesium to 2 parts Calcium (e.g., 250 mg / 500 mg)

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Magnesium Information

  • POTASSIUM: Potassium levels may be deficient in pregnancy, with lowest concentrations in women with eclampsia. Supplementation is recommended. Food sources are Bananas, Potatoes (especially peels), Olives, Bran, and Green Leafy Vegetables. Herbs are Nettles, Dandelion, Alfalfa, and Chamomile.

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Potassium Information

  • ZINC: Zinc is required for proper fetal growth and immunity. Recommended daily allowance is 15 mg per day. Plasma zinc levels decline about 30 percent during pregnancy, and low zinc intake is associated with spontaneous abortion and premature delivery, as well as complications and labor abnormalities. Low zinc was also associated with the specific complication of fetal distress, and may be associated with ONS abnormalities in infants, including neural tube defects, as well as low birthweight infants and toxemia of pregnancy. Supplementation, especially if zinc levels are low, is recommended to reduce the risk of fetal and maternal complications. In one study, complications during labor (vaginal bleeding, fetal acidosis, uterine inertia) were improved. Another study showed a lower incidence of pregnancy-induced hypertension (which is associated with pre-eclampsia and preterm labor). Some food sources of zinc are Oysters, Beets, Broccoli, Wheat Germ, Wheat Bran, Fish, Lentils, and Watercress (not in the first trimester).

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Zinc Information

  • BIOFLAVONOIDS: When women who chronically abort were placed on citrus bioflavonoids daily as soon as a period was missed, many stopped aborting. One study demonstrated that previously Rh immunized mothers treated with bioflavonoids during their pregnancy delivered babies who were less erythroblastotic than expected. (See Vitamin C Supplements for some additional recommended products.)

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Bioflavonoids Information
    MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamin C Information

  • ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (EFAs): Essential fatty acids have a unique role during pregnancy because of the rapid development of new cell growth, new tissues, and new organ systems in a developing fetus. Fetal development is associated with a high EFA requirement, and this supply is dependent on the amount and availability of EFAs from the mother.

  • Prostaglandins are also involved in the development and clinical expression of pre-eclampsia. These prostaglandins are modulators of vascular smooth muscle tone and platelet aggregation (blood platelets sticking together). Pre-eclampsia is characterized by increased vasoconstriction, frequently associated with increased platelet aggregation, reduced uteroplacental blood flow, and premature delivery. In a placebo-controlled clinical trial, a group of pregnant women receiving a combination of Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) and Fish Oil had a significantly lower incidence of edema. Evening Primrose Oil has also been shown effective in preventing pregnancy-induced hypertension (associated with pre-eclampsia and preterm labor).

    There is some evidence that EPO, taken both orally and vaginally can be used to promote cervical ripening. Clinically, EPO supplementation during pregnancy has been found by practitioners of natural childbirth to be an efficacious method to stimulate cervical ripening during labor, and PGE1 is known to stimulate cervical ripening and hasten the progression of labor. Although practitioners using this supplement report no adverse effects, a retrospective trial comparing the oil to no supplement did not note a difference between groups and there was a suggestion that there was an increased incidence of premature rupture of membranes, labor augmentation, and assisted vaginal delivery in the Evening Primrose group.

    The main food sources of essential fatty acids are raw seeds and nuts or fish. Whole and ground Flaxseeds or the purified Flaxseed Oil are excellent sources of the two essential oils, linoleic acid and linolenic acid. Borage Oil and Black Current Oil can be taken in capsule form as nutritional supplements.

    Maternal levels of omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, decrease during pregnancy. EFAs are components of breast milk and maternal levels may be reduced further in nursing women. For the fetus, a deficiency of EFAs, particularly EPA and DHA, may lead to a poorly developed central nervous system. EFA deficiency may also lead to intrauterine growth retardation leading to a lower whole body weight and slower growth of the brain. Supplementation with a daily complex of essential fatty acids and fish oils during pregnancy provides vital nutrients that supply the necessary EFAs for the increased nutritional and metabolic demand throughout the nine months of gestation.

    Several trials have been conducted to study the effects of fish oil supplementation on the duration of pregnancy. In one such study, fish oil was investigated for its effects on pregnancy duration, birthweight, intrauterine growth restriction and pregnancy induced hypertension: 2.7 g/day of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation was compared to an olive oil and/or no supplement. The fish oil supplemented pregnancies lasted 4 days longer and birthweight was 107 gm greater. Fish oil also appeared to be related to a reduction in the risk of preterm delivery in those women who had a previous preterm delivery. There was no effect of fish oil on intrauterine growth restriction or pregnancy induced hypertension.

    Although research clearly shows that moderate EFA supplementation is beneficial and safe for pregnant women, caution should be exercised when consuming large doses. Also, there may be some caution about increased fish intake due to the mercury content. Fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish and tuna have higher mercury content than other fish. Salmon Fish Oil is a good and safe source of necessary EFAs obtained from fish.

    MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Essential Fatty Acids Information

  • COENZYME Q-10 (CoQ10): Coenzyme Q10 is a fat soluble quinone occurring in the mitochondria of every cell, whose primary biochemical action is as a cofactor in the electron transport chain on which most cellular functions rely, making it "essential for the health of virtually all human tissues and organs." Plasma levels of this enzyme rise during normal pregnancy, reaching highs of 50 percent above normal by the 36th week. Decreased levels have been linked in studies to spontaneous abortion and threatened abortion, particularly before 12 weeks.

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: CoEnzyme Q-10 (CoQ10) Information

  • <METHIONINE / SAM-e: Methionine is a component of many proteins, serving as a source of available sulfur for synthesizing both cysteine and taurine, crucial to cellular metabolism. Supplementation with methionine in mice reduced neural tube defects by 47 percent, and also positively affected birthweight and size. SAM-e (S-Adenosyl-Methionine) is a supplement formed in the body by an enzymatic reaction between adenosine-triphosphate (ATP) and methionine. SAM-e (S-Adenosyl-Methionine) was discovered in 1952 in Italy and has been researched and manufactured there. SAM-e works closely with folic acid and vitamin B-12.

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Methionine / L-Methionine / SAM-e Information

  • PHOSPHATIDYL CHOLINE (PC): PC is a primary component of lecithin, sometimes referred to as pure lecithin, from which dietary choline is derived. Dietary choline, after absorption by the intestinal mucosa, is metabolized in the liver to choline, a critical nutrient for brain and nerve development and function. In mammals, amniotic fluid has a ten-fold greater concentration of choline than that in maternal blood and at birth, all mammals studied have plasma choline concentrations much higher than those found in adults. When rats were supplemented with choline, the spatial memory of their offspring was permanently enhanced, they showed more accurate performance on both working and reference memory components of tasks. From these studies, researchers believe that choline is critical for optimal brain development, and therefore supplementation is suggested. Lecithin consists of Choline, Inositol, Linoleic Acid, and as a fat emulsifier in relieving arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, brain function, proper nerve function, and maintains proper electrical energy and nutrients transfer across the cell membranes. Lecithin, a derivative of the soy bean, is needed by the brain to function properly, and helps to break down fatty cholesterol deposits in the body. Lecithin contains phosphorus and stimulates the metabolism. Lecithin is also found in fertile eggs, soy products and, in small amounts, in all vegetables which have been vine ripened.

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Choline Information

  • TAURINE: Taurine is an amino acid found widely distributed in foods of animal origin (but not milk or milk products). Taurine is biosynthesized from methionine or from cysteine during the metabolic process, and disturbances in enzymatic reactions that take place in this process can lead to mental retardation. Vegetarian mothers who consume no meat products during their pregnancy, and therefore have a low-taurine diet, as well as others on a protein, methionine, or B-6 deficient diet might be at particular risk. Although dietary deficiency of Taurine has not been demonstrated to impact fetal development in humans, researchers recommend that vegetarian women who intend to have children optimize dietary levels of protein and B-6, since there is no Taurine present in plants and vegetables. Meat-eaters are advised to eat only organic or "free range" animals, in order to avoid the high concentrations of hormones and pesticides found in animal products raised in farm "factories."

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Taurine / L-Taurine Information


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    Source: Pregnancy and the Use of Nutritional Supplements - Women's Health Update
    Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, Jan, 2002 by Tori Hudson
    Bibliography for "Pregnancy and the Use of Nutritional Supplements - Women's Health Update"
    Tori Hudson "Pregnancy and the Use of Nutritional Supplements - Women's Health Update". Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. Jan 2002. 14 Jul. 2007.


    If you have bleeding (anything more than slight spotting) during pregnancy, please have it checked out immediately by your health care provider or midwife. This is an emergency! Call 9-1-1 and get to the emergency room if you are pregnant and symptoms of placental abruption develop. This may rapidly become an emergency condition that threatens both the mother and the baby.


    MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Miscarriage (Spontaneous Abortion)
    MoonDragon's Guidelines: Retained Placenta
    MoonDragon's Parenting: Placenta Disposal Rituals & Recipes
    MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Placenta Abruption
    MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Placenta Anatomy & Physiology
    MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Pregnancy Information & Survival Tips
    MoonDragon's Pregnancy Index
    MoonDragon's Womens Pregnancy Health Information Index
    MoonDragon's Pediatric Information Index
    MoonDragon's Parenting Information Index
    MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index


    Nutrients, herbs, supplement products for pregnant women to maintain a healthy pregnancy and lower risks of complications associated with nutritional deficiencies. Consult with your midwife or health care provider before taking nutritionals supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.


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    Almond, Sweet Oil
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  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Amino Acids Index
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  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Introduction


  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: 4 Basic Nutrients
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  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Guidelines For Selecting & Preparing Foods
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