Zita West is the pregnancy health guru – midwife, acupuncturist and nutritional advisor, she has welcomed Stella McCartney, Cate Blanchett and Jemma Kidd into her clinic during their pregnancies, and is an esteemed fertility expert. So it makes sense that any products she put her name to would be well worth adding to your pregnancy shopping list. Her Vital Essence range was designed to support and strengthen your body through pregnancy and beyond, with the belief that you can influence your child’s future health in vitro, varying in content through the various trimesters. Zita’s latest book, The Zita West Pregnancy Companion was released in December 2012 and sits alongside her eponymous product line.
What were the main motivators when formulating the supplements?
As a midwife I have always been interested in nutrition, vitamins and minerals and the developing baby. Your baby doesn’t rely on what you have in any one day but your supplies of nutrients in the lead up to pregnancy. It needs the right nutrition to be there, ready for all the organs developing in the first trimester. The pregnancy range, Vital Essence, has been developed to meet the growing needs of your baby through the different trimesters of pregnancy, to help maximise mother and baby’s potential as both needs change trimester by trimester. The baby has different needs in each trimester so although all nutrients are needed all the way through pregnancy, it is crucial to have enough calcium, magnesium and vitamin D in the second trimester for its developing bones, and in the third the baby has rapid development of the foetal brain, so essential fatty acid omega 3 is crucial and also helps prepare the mother for labour. As I’m still working in the industry and seeing clients, I’ve personally been able to put a lot of work into formulating these products, ensuring the needs of the clients I see can be met. Although we should have a balanced diet and meet our nutritional needs from food, the way we live our lives today (stress, bad diet, too little sleep and too much alcohol etc) depletes the body of vital nutrients needed for fertility. The multivitamins and minerals I have created for fertility ensure you are getting the key nutrients needed, creating a hormonal balance and boosting your reserves for pregnancy.
What might the supplements do for hair, skin and nails during pregnancy?
Anecdotally, women have told me over the years that their hair and nails have grown and are definitely healthier, but how much of this is down to pregnancy hormones or the B vitamins and omega 3 I can’t say. I actually take the vitamins myself for general health though! I take Revital Essence every day. It has been formulated for women who have just had a baby, but I find it a great product for general health. I also take Vitafem Boost for its antioxidant effect, and omega 3 for my brain!
Is there any sense in the old wives tale that acne is suggestive of a female baby?
I’ve been a midwife for years and never heard this one! I think some women are more prone to acne in early pregnancy due to changes in hormones and some ‘suit’ it more than others hence the pregnancy glow.