How Supplementation Made Two Women’s Pregnancies Easy

Tamara Nantale, 27, surprised a number of guests at her baby shower on October 4 – a few days before she gave birth – because at a time when many pregnant women are tired and low on energy, Nantale was so energetic her energetic levels exceeded those of some of her non-pregnant guests at the baby shower.

One guest, so used to seeing weary pregnant women in their final trimester push and support themselves by the back, asked how Nantale had managed to remain so energetic.

“I think it is the supplements I am using,” she told the curious guest. “When I stopped using them when I was running low on money, I did not feel as well as I did when I was using them.”

Trimester one:

Nantale had healthy cravings in her first trimester avocado, apples, bananas (bogoya) and passion fruit juice were her must-have foods. Despite her healthy cravings, she did not feel wholly healthy.

“I found out I was pregnant in January and soon after, I started experiencing morning sickness. I read, over the internet, nutrients a pregnant woman needs in her first trimester and based on my findings, I decided to buy Vitamin B complex, Tre-en-en and Omega 3 from GNLD. The morning sickness totally stopped when I started using these products,” Nantale says.

She says she also started feeling more energetic after using the food supplements that had cost her Shs 120,000 and lasted the entire first semester. Omega 3 aids in the development of the nervous system and the eyes, Pamela Nawaggi, a clinical embryologist in Kampala, says.

Dr Vincent Karuhanga of Friends Polyclinic has also previously said that unborn babies with access to omega 3 were likely to be intelligent. Tre-en-en, a grain concentrate, “energizes [the] entire body by helping cells function more efficiently [and] promotes efficient nutrient utilization needed for cardiovascular growth and development,” GNLD’s website says.

Nantale’s energy levels were likely boosted by the Tre-en-en. Vitamin B complex is rich in folic acid, Prudence Nduhura, a saleswoman with a supplements company, says. Folic acid is important for the development of the nervous system and the spinal cord of the baby, Nawaggi says.

It is routinely given to pregnant women during the first trimester Nawaggi says that mothers whose intake of folic acid, either through food or supplementation is low, are at risk of giving birth to children with spina bifida.

Trimester two:

“In my first trimester, I had only told my immediate supervisor at work that I was pregnant. In the second trimester, I started telling my other workmates that I was pregnant but they couldn’t believe it. I was so g and wasn’t sleepy like some pregnant women are,” Nantale says.

During this trimester, Nantale was taking Tre-en-en, Omega 3 and Cal-mag (a combination of Calcium and Magnesium).

“I stopped taking the Vitamin B complex because of the costs. The combination of the three supplements I was taking during this trimester cost Shs 80, 000,” Nantale says of the supplements that lasted the entire second trimester.

Calcium, Dr Dan Kaye, a gynaecologist with Mulago hospital, says is “very important and is routinely given to pregnant women”.

He says not only does calcium enable formation of the baby’s bones, it helps prevent backaches in pregnant women.

“If a pregnant woman does not receive calcium, the baby will mobilise it also from the mother’s hips and back, putting her at risk of backache and osteoporosis,” Kaye says.

He adds that calcium helps to balance body phosphate, which in turn helps to balance acid in the body. Magnesium, Kaye says, is not routinely given, but it is “good and won’t do any harm when given during pregnancy”.

It aids in the development of the baby’s skeleton.

Third trimester:

“The third trimester was hard I was emotional and experienced drastic changes. I would for instance, try a skirt on in the night and it would fit but when I would try it on in the morning, it wouldn’t fit,” Nantale says.

In addition to feeling too emotional, Nantale experienced bouts of dizziness.

“I went to the beach with my sisters one weekend and I took a very small amount of beer and the world started spinning. I momentarily blacked out and I thought it was because I had taken beer. However, the following day, I experienced dizziness and left work for a hospital. I was given iron,” Nantale says.

The iron from the hospital, she says, was not as good as that that she bought later from a food supplements company. Iron helps in red blood cell formation, thereby aiding the transportation of oxygen to the unborn baby and around mother’s body.

Pregnant women are prone to anaemia, Nawaggi says, necessitating iron supplementation. Nantale, like a number of women, worked till she was due. Nantale is not the only woman to report having an energetic pregnancy owing to using supplements Tre-en-en, Omega 3 and Vitamin B complex.

Nduhura too is seven months pregnant and says her memory has remained sharp and her energy levels high throughout her pregnancy because of taking the aforementioned supplements.

“Pregnant women can be forgetful but I haven’t been because of using Omega 3,” Nduhura says.

In addition, Nduhura is taking Vitamin C supplements because “I don’t want any flu [cold] and I haven’t got any during my pregnancy,” Nduhura, who started taking Vitamin C supplements in her fourth month, says.

Vitamin C, Nawaggi says, aids iron absorption too.


While the women in this story have attributed their easy pregnancies to using the right food supplements, Nawaggi says there is need to be careful while supplementing during pregnancy.

“Excess magnesium can cause diarrhoea,” Nawaggi says.”If a pregnant woman is taking supplements, they should take those meant for pregnant women as these are [mixed] in the right concentrations.”

Vitamins A and E can be toxic for unborn babies, Nawaggi also warns.

She is also of the view that pregnant women do not need a lot of supplements.

“A pregnant woman does not need to take a whole bunch of supplements. All they need is folic acid for the first three months. They can get the other nutrients through eating the right foods,” Nawaggi says.

Source : The Observer

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