PM Procare: more info


Developing a new life on top of your own daily requirements places a high demand on your dietary intake. Every mother will do as much as they can to give their baby the best start to life, but despite these efforts, the demands are difficult to meet on a daily basis. In addition, it’s not simply eating more, but rather the delicacy of obtaining a well-balanced diet (nutrients from dairy, meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits and grains).

Who has the time to prepare all this on a regular basis? How can you keep track of the nutrients you have eaten and those you are lacking?

Procare is specially designed to assist women in meeting the increased nutritional demands of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Procare contains important nutrients required for fetal and infant development and a healthy pregnancy. While it can’t replace a well-balanced diet, Procare provides a known daily dose of 18 essential nutrients, which may put your mind at ease knowing that nutritional demands can be met, even on those not-so-good days!

So why is it so important to obtain these nutrients regularly? Why have they been selected in the formula of Procare? For the answers of these questions and more information on the ingredients of Procare, please read on!

Folic acid (vitamin B9)

Fast fact: Folic acid supplementation taken at least one month prior to conception significantly reduces the rate of neural tube defects

Dietary requirements of folic acid increase by 50% during pregnancy and 25% during breastfeeding*

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that all women of childbearing age who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily in addition to eating a healthy diet in order to reduce the risk of neural tube defect pregnancies or developing a child afflicted with spina bifida. Procare delivers the WHO recommended dose in just one capsule.

In the very early stages of gestation, the neural tube forms which later develops into the nervous system, spinal cord and brain. This delicate process involves the precise replication and migration of cells. Folic acid is heavily involved in DNA synthesis and the rapid division of cells, which means successful neural tube formation depends on a sufficient supply of folic acid. Women with low folate levels have a greater risk of the neural tube not forming properly, resulting in severe defects. It takes at least a month to increase folic acid stores, so it is important that folic acid supplementation starts prior to conception. Once the neural tube is formed, the role of folic acid is certainly not finished. It is then required for the formation, development and growth of many other structures throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.

DHA & EPA(Omega-3 from fish oil)

Fast fact: Pregnant and breastfeeding women need to consume 3 servings of seafood a week to meet the requirements of omega-3 during these periods.

Dietary requirements of DHA & EPA (omega-3) increase by 28% during pregnancy and 61% during breastfeeding**

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal eye, brain and immune development. Fish oil is a rich source of the important long-chain omega-3 fatty acids; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) whereas plant-based omega-3 oils don’t contain any of these long chain fatty acids. DHA is particularly important for brain and eye development, while EPA is required more for immune development and function. Both also express a role in general cell structure and function which is crucial for overall growth and development in the early stages of life.

Procare contains tuna fish oil which was carefully selected because it is an excellent source of DHA. During pregnancy, the fetal brain and retina want to accumulate as much DHA as they can, for it is required for the creation of neurons/brain cells (neurogenesis), which only occurs at this time period. After birth, during breastfeeding, no more neurons are created but the infant brain and retina require even more DHA to establish connections between the neurons (synaptogenesis). As the newborn brain is exposed to new experiences, it relies on a sufficient supply of DHA to wire the brain correctly. Breast milk can be a good source of DHA on the proviso that the maternal diet contains adequate DHA, which can be increased via supplementation. DHA supplementation during this time has shown to improve cognition, learning, behaviour, concentration, memory, motor coordination and visual acuity. A maternal diet low in DHA however has shown to increase the risk of various developmental problems including learning and behavioural disorders.

EPA plays a very important role in immune development and function via its anti-inflammatory properties and its regulation of the immune response. The strength of our immune system is determined in our early stages of life, which is why EPA supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding has shown to reduce the incidence of atopic diseases, allergies and infections in the baby.

Together, EPA and DHA form major components of cellular membranes and influence how cells function and develop. A good supply of these omega-3 fatty acids has shown to benefit general development by reducing the risk of pre-term birth, increasing gestation length and birth weight.

Seafood offers the only significant dietary source of DHA and EPA. The problem is, the demand for these nutrients increases so much, women must consume at least 3 servings of seafood a week. It is very rare to find someone who meets this standard on a regular basis. Therefore, DHA and EPA supplementation during these important periods is usually required.


Fast Fact: The rate of iodine deficiency has significantly increased due to a drop in soil concentrations and the decline of iodized salt use.

Dietary requirements of iodine increase by 75% during pregnancy and breastfeeding*

Iodine has a specific role in fetal and infant development; it is required for the production of thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones are needed for normal metabolism, growth and in particular, brain development by assisting with the very formation and positioning of brain cells. Maternal iodine intake must increase to meet the demand of elevated hormone production as the fetus cannot synthesize its own thyroid hormones. From the second half of pregnancy and throughout breastfeeding, iodine demands remain high as the baby requires iodine from the mother to synthesize their own thyroid hormones. In the past, low iodine status was rare because it was readily available in vegetables and added to food (iodized salt). However global changes of reduced iodized salt use and low soil concentrations of iodine has seen a dramatic rise in iodine deficiency worldwide and pregnant and breastfeeding women are at the most risk due to the elevated demands during these periods. Because not enough iodine can be obtained from diet alone it is recommended that pregnant/breastfeeding women take iodine supplements to ensure requirements are met every day.

Research has shown that iodine supplementation during these important periods can improve children’s psychomotor development and potential. But more importantly, supplementation can prevent the severe effects caused by iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism in the mother. Maternal iodine deficiency is the number one cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage in the world. Poor iodine levels significantly increase the risk of preterm birth, intellectual and growth disabilities (cretinism) and a wide range of irreversible neurological and physical disorders.

Calcium & Vitamin D

Fast fact: If dietary requirements of calcium are not met, calcium is removed from the maternal bones, which can increase the risk of fractures and osteoporosis later in life.

Fast fact: Vitamin D has many other roles in development besides bone formation

Calcium is essential for the formation of strong teeth and bones and hence is required during pregnancy and breastfeeding for healthy development. As the baby’s nutritional requirements are given priority during pregnancy, calcium deficiency during this period can increase the risk of osteoporosis in mothers in later life. Vitamin D aids calcium absorption in the intestines and regulates calcium distribution in the maternal and fetal body. Vitamin D ensures that calcium is deposited properly to build strong bones. Deficiencies in calcium and/or vitamin D can lead to bone deformities, brittle bones and Rickets disease.

Perhaps what you didn’t know is that vitamin D has many other roles in development in addition to bone formation. This includes regulation of cellular growth and activity as well as regulation of metabolism and the immune system. Recent studies have shown maternal vitamin D deficiency can give rise to complications such as low birth weight, delayed neurocognitive defects, autoimmune diseases, infections and increased risk of the baby developing multiple sclerosis, cancer, type I diabetes and schizophrenia in later life.

In addition to aiding your baby’s development, calcium and vitamin D supplementation may also benefit your health during this time as calcium and vitamin D deficiency are linked to an increased risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, which in turn can compromise your baby’s health too.


Fast fact: Pregnant women require more iron than any other group or stage in life, including men!

Dietary requirements of iron increase by 50% during pregnancy**

Iron is the number one nutrient deficiency in the world and is quite common amongst women. Iron status becomes of particular importance when women become pregnant as the nutritional demands increase to levels greater than what adult men require. The reason why iron is needed so much is to support the increased blood volume required to develop the fetal and placental blood circulation. Iron is required for the production of haemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen around the body and to the developing fetus. More iron means more haemoglobin can be produced which leads to greater oxygen delivery to the fetus. Conversely, if iron status is low it can reduce the amount of oxygen delivered to the fetus which can result in preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction and low birth weight. It also plays a role in brain development thus maternal iron deficiency is also known to result in fetal brain impairment.

Together with folic acid, iron is the most supplemented nutrient during pregnancy due to its role throughout the entire length of pregnancy. However, iron is poorly absorbed in the intestines which is one of the main reasons iron deficiency is so prevalent. To counter this, Procare also contains vitamin C and betacarotene, two nutrients that if taken with iron can significantly increase the amount that is absorbed into the body.


Fast fact: Over 300 reactions in the body involve magnesium

Dietary requirements of magnesium increase by 13% during pregnancy** and 23% during breastfeeding*

Magnesium is a key nutrient that helps build and repair body tissues. It works in combination with calcium and vitamin D to assist in bone formation and muscle development. In addition, magnesium is required for protein and fatty acid formation which supports organogenesis (organ development) and also contributes regulating heart beat and various metabolic pathways. Low magnesium levels during pregnancy and breastfeeding can lead to preeclampsia and fetal/infant growth restrictions. Therefore it is important to maintain an adequate and regular supply of magnesium during pregnancy and during breastfeeding to ensure breast milk has sufficient levels of magnesium to support a growing infant.


Fast fact: Zinc is required for every stage of development; from sperm and egg to zygote, embryo, fetus and infant.

Dietary requirements of zinc increase by up to 104% during pregnancy and 94% during breastfeeding*

Over 300 enzymes in the body rely on zinc to function, many of which are crucial for cellular growth and development. Zinc is therefore required before, during and after pregnancy. Some of its key roles involve cellular division during the early stages of development (zygote and embryo), the accumulation of body tissue mass for organogenesis and the stimulation of bone formation during the fetal stage.

To highlight the importance of zinc during pregnancy and breastfeeding, WHO recommends that women increase their zinc dietary intake which by the last trimester of pregnancy and the first three months of breastfeeding the dietary intake is doubled. While zinc deficiency is fairly common amongst women of child-bearing age, even more women can develop mild to moderate zinc deficiency as they find it difficult to meet the extra demands through diet alone. Not getting enough zinc during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding can lead to preterm birth, low birth weight and growth restrictions.

Betacarotene (Retinol)

Fast fact: Betacarotene is a safer source of retinol than vitamin A during pregnancy

Dietary requirements of retinol increase by 37% during pregnancy and 67% during breastfeeding*

Retinol (vitamin A) is essential for visual development and eye health. More specifically it is needed by the retina for its light absorbing capabilities which are necessary for low-light (night time) and colour vision. A deficiency of retinol is quite common and can severely effect infants and children. It is one of the main causes of blindness, particular in south East Asia and Africa and claims many lives under the age of 5 in developing countries. Night blindness and other vision impairments are common consequences of a maternal diet deficient in retinol. The breastfeeding period is a crucial stage in visual development, thus retinol demands are at their highest point as the infant’s eyes open and function.

Retinol is also required for building a strong immune system and healthy skin and mucus membranes. It exerts antioxidant and gene regulation properties to assist in various metabolic functions. A low retinol intake during pregnancy and breastfeeding can also lead to immune impairment (increased risk of infections) and various skin and hair complications.

Although retinol is important, too much of it (excess amounts) in the body can be toxic, increasing the risk of birth defects. However, these excess amounts can only be achieved when women take vitamin A supplements in large doses (exceed recommendations) or eat liver (a dietary source extremely rich in vitamin A). Vitamin A is a ready-made form of retinol, thus if you ingest too much it can store in the body and become toxic. Betacarotene (found in Procare) is an inactive form of retinol. The body converts betacarotene into retinol depending on how much the body needs. When you have enough retinol, it will stop betacarotene conversion and excrete it out, so retinol cannot accumulate to toxic levels. Thus, betacarotene is a safer alternative to vitamin A supplements during this period.

B-group vitamin (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 & B12)

Fast fact: B vitamins must be replenished daily as they are water soluble and not stored in the body

Dietary requirements of these B-group vitamins increase on average by 27% during pregnancy and 36% during breastfeeding*

Thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6) and cobalamin (B12) form part of the vitamin B complex. Each of these B vitamins has unique and specialized roles that are essential to overall development and cell metabolism. They are cofactors that assist in DNA synthesis, cell division and production. The division of cells is the major component of development; it is how a single-celled zygote (fertilized egg) replicates into billions of cells to become a newborn baby. A good supply of B vitamins is needed to ensure healthy, normal development. This is why dietary demands of B vitamins increase for the entire duration of pregnancy and onwards throughout breastfeeding.

From early pregnancy, B vitamins, in particular B6 and B12 are needed to meet the increased demand of red blood cell production for the expansion of the circulatory system (placental and fetal circulation). An excellent supply of these vitamins aids the transport of oxygen to the developing fetus, whereas deficiencies can result in anemia and reduced oxygen delivery causing growth restriction and other complications. B vitamins are involved in the production and division of all types of cells such as neurons, immune, epithelial, blood, muscle, bone etc. hence why they are vital to all bodily systems. Deficiencies in B vitamins during pregnancy and breastfeeding can increase the risk of neurological damage, immune impairment and other various abnormalities. B vitamins also assist in energy production and unlock energy from foods, which might be helpful if you ever feel a little tired or lethargic whilst pregnant or lactating.

Vitamin C

Fast fact: Cooking and food preparation can reduce the vitamin C content in food by over 50% because it is sensitive to air, water and temperature.

Dietary requirements of vitamin C increase by 22% during pregnancy and 56% during breastfeeding*

Vitamin C is a cofactor for several important metabolic reactions in the body but is perhaps most known for its involvement in strengthening the immune system. This is critical in the early stages after birth when the immune system is developing. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant which protects both mother and baby from free radical damage. It is also required for wound and tissue repair and collagen formation, a protein that gives skin its elasticity and bones their flexibility. Vitamin C is also required for the production of arguably the most important component of in utero development, the placenta. A lack of vitamin C in the maternal diet can compromise collagen production and a healthy immune response.

When taken with iron, vitamin C can significantly increase the absorption of iron, thus is known to reduce the risk of iron deficiency anemia and support oxygen delivery to the fetus.

Vitamin E

Fast fact: Vitamin E is destroyed when foods are deep fried

Dietary requirements of vitamin E increase by 57% during breastfeeding**

Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that protects cell membranes from free radical damage. This is important during critical stages of development. It’s also involved in cell signaling (communication between cells), gene expression and several enzymatic reactions. Whilst it is an essential nutrient required throughout development it is most critical once the infant is born. From birth, the newborn no longer has the in utero protection and must fend for itself against the exposure of the external environment. Organs such as the lungs, eyes and skin which make contact with air for the first time are most at risk of oxidative damage. Infants therefore require vitamin E to protect the exposed cell membranes in these organs. The maternal nutritional demand of vitamin E significantly increases during breastfeeding so that levels in breast milk are elevated enough to protect the infant in addition to its regular bodily functions.


*Increase based on the nutrient requirements of a normal adult woman of same age and weight according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO)

**Increase based on the nutrient requirements of a normal adult woman of the same age and weight according to the recommendations of the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia & New Zealand and the Food Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine (FNBIOM) of the United States. WHO recommendations have not been set out as yet for this nutrient.

To read how PM Procare can benefit you and your baby, please click here

PM Procare


Adults only: 1 capsule daily with or after meals, or as directed by a health professional.


30 softgel capsules / bottle


Do not exceed the stated dose except on medical advice. If you have had a baby with neural tube defect/spina bifida, seek specific medical advice. Vitamins can only be of assistance if the dietary vitamin intake is inadequate. Derived from seafood.