Spirulina, the cyanobacteria often mistakenly referred to as "algae", is a nutritional treasure trove. For years, it has been consumed for its many benefits, including an exceptional supply of iron, protein, vitamins and essential minerals.
But what about spirulina consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding? Is it safe? What are the potential benefits for mother and baby-to-be? Why eat spirulina during pregnancy? I propose to answer your questions based on scientific research and my experience as a former midwife.
Why eat spirulina during pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a time of life when a woman's nutritional needs are multiplied. In fact, the body works more intensively to ensure the healthy development of the fetus. It is therefore essential to avoid stress and fatigue, and to ensure an optimal, rich and varied diet, to avoid deficiencies that could harm the health of both mother and child.
In this context, spirulina, rich in essential nutrients (proteins, vitamins, trace elements, iron, pigments, enzymes), can be particularly beneficial in ensuring healthy fetal development.
As you'll see, spirulina's composition has many benefits for a healthy pregnancy.
An exceptional source of iron for pregnant women
Iron deficiency, commonly known as "anaemia", is a common physiological problem in pregnant women. Pregnancy increases the body's need for iron to build up the tissues of the fetus and increase the mother's blood mass. Iron deficiency can appear around the 6th month and lead to fatigue, low morale and difficulties during childbirth.
Spirulina is one of the richest sources of iron available. It can thus help prevent iron deficiency in pregnant women, without the side effects often associated with synthetic iron supplements.
Sufficient daily consumption of spirulina helps boost iron reserves. Caution: it is essential not to wait until you are deficient before starting supplementation. Iron reserves take time to recover. Ideally, you should start taking spirulina as soon as you become aware of your pregnancy, starting very gradually.
Essential vitamins and minerals
Spirulina is also an excellent source of B vitamins, vitamin A, calcium and zinc. These vitamins and minerals are essential for the baby’s development and the mother’s health. For example, vitamin B9, or folic acid, plays a crucial role in the development of the fetal nervous system.
Spirulina is also rich in high-quality protein, containing all the essential amino acids.
Proteins have several major functions during pregnancy:
- contribute to the maintenance of the mother’s fat-free body weight,
- participate in the establishment of the feto-placental complex,
- allow reserves to be built up during the first quarter,
- also provide essential amino acids not synthesized by our bodies.
Protein requirements are also increased during pregnancy.
Spirulina during breast-feeding
Breastfeeding is a demanding period in terms of nutrition. Mothers must provide their babies with all the nutrients they need for growth and development, while maintaining their own health and vitality.
Spirulina's high vitamin, mineral and protein content can help support the mother's nutritional needs and enrich the quality of breast milk. It can also support the mother's milk supply and recovery after childbirth.
Is spirulina safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
Spirulina is generally considered safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, provided the production and drying process is beyond reproach. However, as with any dietary supplement, it is advisable to seek your doctor's advice before starting spirulina supplementation.
Some spirulina can be contaminated by heavy metals or other pollutants if grown in a polluted environment.
How should spirulina be consumed during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
Spirulina can be consumed in several forms: powder, tablets or twigs. It can be incorporated into the daily diet, for example in smoothies, fruit or vegetable juices, yoghurts, or on salads or dishes.
The recommended dose of spirulina may vary according to each woman's individual needs. In general, a dose of 50 mg per kg of body weight is recommended, i.e. 3 to 5 grams a day. During pregnancy, the dose can be doubled, up to 10 grams. The most important thing is to start very, very gradually during pregnancy, and to drink plenty of water to limit the detox effect.
Conclusion: the benefits of spirulina during pregnancy and breastfeeding
Spirulina can be a valuable dietary supplement during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Its richness in iron, vitamins and proteins can help meet the increased nutritional needs of this period, while supporting the mother's health and the baby's development. However, as with any dietary supplement, it is important to choose a good quality spirulina and consult a health professional before starting supplementation.