Lifestyle Product Review: Chela-Preg Prenatal Vitamins
If you are, or have recently been pregnant, you will know Chela-Preg as the little pink multi-vitamins for expectant and breast feeding women. They’re on the same shelf as all the other popular brands, but many people prefer them over the large and flashy three-pill pre-natal vitamins because they’re much easier to swallow. Recently, preggy vitamin shoppers may have noticed three new pretty packages under the Chela-Preg label.
Ascendis Health launched a new and market-first trimester specific prenatal vitamin in July this year and asked a couple of mommies-to-be to try out the product. Of course, I wouldn’t be writing this review if yours truly wasn’t one of them.
Before I started taking them though, I took the third trimester pack to my gynie to get the OK on the product. Here’s the low-down:
Off the bat, she had a very interesting comment, which is one of the three things I like most about the product.
Morning and Evening Tablets
Although it may seem like a schlep to remember taking your prenatal vitamins in the morning and the evening, and two of them at that, there’s a very good reason for this and it’s not that they couldn’t fit all the vitamins and minerals into one tablet.
During pregnancy, your baby needs both calcium and iron. Calcium of course for healthy teeth, bone, muscle and heart development and iron for brain development. Most prenatal vitamins contain both of these. This is great, but not many people know that calcium actually interferes with the absorption of iron. Which is not great at all as iron deficiencies have been linked to anaemia during pregnancy and even autism in babies (not my claim – just passing on speculative information that may or may not be accurate here).
To solve this issue, Chela-Preg splits the calcium and iron into morning and evening tablets. This also allows them to include the Omega 3 in the evening tablet, where it is less likely to cause or worsen pregnancy nausea.
It’s a simple solution which probably makes it one of the only supplements that can actually truthfully claim to be a complete multivitamin. One of the most popular brands also splits the calcium and iron tablets (hence the three pills), but as far as I can remember neglects to tell you not to take them at the same time.
Trimester Specific Formulation
I mentioned in the beginning that their product was a market first in SA. This is because they’re currently the only brand of prenatal vitamin to offer three different formulations to meet the different developmental needs of babies in the three trimesters. This is the second thing I love about the product.
When we fell pregnant, I promised myself I wouldn’t make the process into a thesis research project, but I did manage to pick up on some information regarding nutrient needs.
For example, you need a large amount of folic acid in the beginning of your pregnancy to help avoid neural tube (spinal cord and brain) defects. My gynie recommended an additional tablet containing about 10 times the dosage present in any of the prenatal vitamins.
This posed a bit of a quandary to me, as I didn’t want to continue taking the pure folic acid supplement along with my prenatal vitamins and overdose my baby, but I also didn’t want to get too little of this vital nutrient.
Similarly, you need a high DHA-omega intake during the third trimester to ensure healthy brain development. It’s also best to avoid vitamin E during early pregnancy, but good for you in the latter part of pregnancy.
All of this may not seem like a big deal to most people, and I didn’t lose sleep over it, but it meant there was one more thing to feel uncertain about in this completely new journey.
That’s one way to look at it. Or I could have taken a supplement like Chela-Preg’s trimester specific one and had one less thing to worry about. (I say like because I don’t want to sound like an infomercial, but they’re really currently the only supplement that offers this advantage.)
Here’s a run-down from their website of the important bits in the third trimester pack, which exceeds the recommended daily allowance prescribed by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), WHO (World Health Organisation) and IOM (Institute of Medicine):
Maximal micro-nutrition for rapid growth during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy with 26 micronutrients, essential for an optimally healthy baby throughout life, including:
· Maximal amounts of calcium for strong bones, and DHA-omega 3 for brain growth, and for future health, immunity and intelligence.
· Extra Ferrochel®, a gentle non-constipating chelated iron, for the formation of extra red blood cells to carry more oxygen to meet the growing baby’s high metabolic needs.
· More choline, a nutrient most important in the 3rd trimester for baby’s health and to help prevent diseases later in life.
· Extra zinc, vitamin C and vitamin E to support rapid 3rd trimester cell division and tissue growth, and to reduce the risk of pregnancy complications.
My Experience On Chela-Preg
I’ve only been on the supplement for about 2 weeks (will update you guys again once it’s been a month), so I can’t expect to have reaped all the benefits yet and to be honest, I doubt anything other than sugar and coffee will do much for third trimester tiredness. Sufficed to say I have not experienced any negative effects in this time though.
I did, however, have one instant observation, which was the complete absence of pregnancy constipation. (Let’s not beat around the bush and talk about keeping it regular etc.) I can only assume this is due to the specifically low-constipating and low-nauseating chelated iron, Ferrochel (the trademark ingredient that lends the supplement its name).
Finally, and this could be purely because I have gotten used to it or stopped trying altogether, but I do seem to have better use of my brain of late. That’s a reduction in pregnancy brain, for anyone who doesn’t know. In order to vouch for this, I’ll have to keep monitoring it as I continue using the tablets, however… if I remember.
Please note that this is only my experience of the product and that neither I nor anyone else mentioned in this post (other than Ascendis Health that is) can recommend this product from a medical point of view. Please get the all clear from your doctor before changing your prenatal vitamins!
Ascendis Health has taken a pretty logical approach to prenatal vitamins, yet South African moms and babies have not been able to benefit from it up until now. The third trimester 30-day pack retails for R239 from DisChem and Clicks.
Win a Chela-Preg hamper by posting a picture of your pregnant self and your Chela-Preg Trimester Pack to social media, using the hashtag #YourBabysNeedsChangeSoShouldYourSupplements. If you're not pregnant, pass this info on to a friend :)