I’ve always been a fairly healthy person and always try to eat a relatively healthy, balanced diet. Since falling pregnant though, I’ve become a lot more aware of what I’m putting in my body and making sure that my little bean is getting enough vital nutrients to help them grow and develop. I’m still all about moderation and wouldn’t be giving up my chocolate or rusks anytime soon, but when it comes to meals, I give more thought to the ingredients on my plate. The fact that everything I eat goes straight to my baby quite simply blows my mind! Despite all of this, pregnancy is the most nutritionally demanding time in a women’s life and it is difficult to ensure that you are getting the required amounts of iron, omega 3 and folic acid that are so crucial for your baby’s development. Being a vegetarian makes it even more of a challenge for me to get all the nutrients from the foods I’m eating and so including a good prenatal vitamin is a vital part of my daily routine. Unlike regular vitamins, prenatal vitamins are specially formulated to support both mom and baby with a blend of Folic Acid, Calcium, Iron, omega 3, and vitamins A, B, C and D. Some of the benefits of taking these essentials:
Folic Acid: This is an important supplement to take pre-pregnancy as well as during pregnancy (especially important in the first trimester) as it has a beneficial impact on fertility and reproduction and it helps to reduce the risk of babies developing serious brain and spinal cord problems such as spina bifida.
Calcium: This one is not only important for baby, but important for you too. It helps with the physical development and blood clotting abilities of your baby and as it is a mineral that can be stored in your body, it helps keeps your bones and teeth strong during pregnancy. Your baby will take all the nutrients that they need from you so it is important to take enough for your body to store for you too.
Omega 3: An important fatty acid to take to help improve the brain and cognitive development of your baby as well as support their central nervous system. It’s one that’s important to take during pregnancy and while breastfeeding as you will pass this on to your baby through your breast milk. As this is an ingredient that is often sourced from animals, check your pack for a vegan-friendly option.
Iron: Iron is a building block for your baby’s cells and helps support the transportation of oxygen and nutrients to baby. Your blood volume increases by 50% when pregnant so it is vital that you take enough iron to support the building of your hemoglobin and reduce the risk of anaemia.
So now you have the low-down on why these nutrients are so important (and I’ve really just given you the highlights), it’s important to note that not all prenatal vitamins are created equal and the doses of all the nutrients will vary depending on brand. After I was sent a pack of the new Chela-Preg Prenatal Vitamins, I decided to give them a try as they are specially formulated for each trimester of your pregnancy – the first to launch this innovative concept in South Africa. During each trimester, different parts of your baby are developing and therefore their needs change. For example, in the first trimester, a higher dosage of Folic Acid is important and in the second trimester, more DHA-omega 3 is recommended and finally, in the third trimester, more calcium, choline and zinc to support the rapid cell division and tissue growth rate of your baby. Chela-Preg have developed three different packs of vitamins designed to meet these very specific requirements of your baby during each trimester. I’m into my second trimester now and so my pack consists 26 micronutrients that are essential for tissue and organ differentiation and development as well as the following:
Extra DHA-omega 3’s to support the baby’s brain and nervous system development.
Additional calcium for skeletal development.
Vitamin E, extra vitamin C, choline and zinc for organ and tissue growth.
More Ferrochel®, a gentle non-constipating chelated iron, for the formation of additional red blood cells to carry more oxygen to meet baby’s growing metabolic needs.
Each pretty little box comes with two bottles containing a morning and evening dosage of vitamins. Your morning tablet contains calcium, magnesium and minerals and evenings tablets (you take two) contains your iron, DHA-omega 3 and vitamin dose. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post but my morning vitamins often make me feel quite queasy so I’d recommend you take it with food or after your breakfast and definitely not on an empty stomach! I do like these evening capsules as they are much smaller and coated which makes them a lot easier to swallow. As with all supplements, there can be side effects and a well-known one for prenatal vitamins is constipation (this is often from the increased iron) but I luckily haven’t suffered from this at all despite having to take additional iron tablets. My advise when it comes to choosing a pre-natal supplement (I’d say the same for your iron supplements), is spend a little extra and go for a higher end brand like Chela-Preg as they are gentler on your stomach and have fewer side-effects. Another benefit from taking a good prenatal vitamin is that your energy levels should increase because your body is getting all the nutrients it needs – and yes, I know pregnancy in general is rather tiring but can you imagine if you not getting enough of what your body needs??
** Updated Giveaway Details **
Chela-Preg and I want to spoil a special mommy-to-be! There is a Chela-Preg Pre-natal Hamper up for grabs, which contains a one month’s supply of vitamins for all three trimesters as well as a little baby blanket – if you not a mommy-to-be, be sure to share this with a friend who’d like to win 🙂 We’ve made it super easy to enter! All you have to do is share this post on social media (Twitter, Facebook or Instagram) and use the hashtag #YourBabysNeedsChangeSoShouldYourSupplements. Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!