How to Pick The Right Prenatal With Julie Sawaya of Needed – The Fed and Fearless Podcast Episode 126

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It’s likely that you have nutritional deficiencies even if you’re very intentional and informed about your diet. This is especially the case for expecting mothers. Today’s guest is here to explain some lesser-known, but very important, considerations about prenatal nutrition.



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About Julie Sawaya

Julie Sawaya is a co-founder of Needed along with Ryan Woodbury, a perinatal nutrition company focused on optimal nourishment before, during, and after pregnancy. As fellow nutrition nerds and mamas-to-be, they were shocked to realize that they were super deficient in key prenatal nutrients. They dug into the research and realized they were far from alone. 

Most prenatal vitamins are designed to meet the bare minimum needs, leaving mama deficient after giving so much to grow a healthy baby. So, Julia and Ryan started Needed to meet their needs and that of every woman before, during, and after pregnancy.

Locating Quality Prenatal Supplements

Julie describes how she vets the many ingredients for her supplements. It has taken years of research and partnership with perinatal nutritionists. This has often meant going beyond existing research and guidelines to create a unique product. 

Julie recommends looking for supplements that have nutrient forms that your body can best utilize. That often means ones with the most active form of the ingredient. To find these, Julie looks for forms of nutrients as they exist in nature to support the mechanisms by which the body processes them. If you find these in the dosages that best support your needs (which are pretty high for prenatal women), you’ll know you have a good supplement.


Taking Care of Yourself to Support Your Pregnancy

Beyond supplementation, Julie sees her mission as empowering women with information. There’s a lot on your mind as you prepare for and go through pregnancy. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to contend with all that’s going on in your and your baby’s body.

She also stresses the importance of self-care. Ultimately, prenatal vitamins are for your health as much as they are for the baby. That’s why taking vitamins, even before conception, will help ensure that you start out with the nutrient reserves you’ll both need from the beginning.

Even after the pregnancy, you’ll want to keep taking those nutrients. Julie explains why continuing supplementation for a while after the baby is born will help rebuild much-needed stores of nutrients.

How has nutrition played a role in your pregnancy journey?  Leave a comment below! 


Got a question you’d love to hear me answer on the show? Leave me a voice message here!



  • What led Julie to form a prenatal supplement brand [5:00]
  • How Julie determines the best formulations for her supplements [10:20]
  • What to look for when searching for the best prenatal supplement for you [15:10]
  • The important distinction between folic acid and methyl folate [22:15]
  • Education and self-care as empowerment for expecting mothers [28:00]
  • The importance of taking prenatals after pregnancy [32:15]
  • How supplements for men can help support conception [43:30]



“It really doesn’t matter if you’re eating as balanced as you can; it’s just a function of our modern food system that food alone is not cutting it and that prenatal vitamins are designed to fill in the minimum gaps, not to set women up for optimal health.” [7:58]

“Looking to nature, as well as to science, as well as to in-practice experience, is really important.” [25:35]

“What you do during pregnancy doesn’t have to be your new normal but, it can be something to focus on.” [39:40]



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Review Fed and Fearless on Apple Podcasts! Send a screenshot of your review to hello@lauraschoenfeldrd.com or send me a DM on Instagram, and I’ll send you my Overcoming Undereating eBook. If you post your favorite episode in your Insta stories and tag me @LauraSchoenfeldRD, I’ll also send you my 14-Day Calorie Challenge Recipe Guide!

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I'm a women's health expert and a registered dietitian (RD) with a passion for helping goal-oriented people fuel their purpose.

I help nutrition entrepreneurs grow their income and their impact by packaging their brilliance into transformative coaching and consulting programs, and get crystal clear on their marketing strategy.

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