Good nutrition is essential for both you and your baby during pregnancy. You need to eat well to ensure that you stay healthy and have plenty of energy. Your baby also needs lots of nutrients in order to keep growing and developing, as you will see if you check our pregnancy week by week guides.
Why is Iron Important During Pregnancy?
Iron is one of the most important nutrients for pregnant women. We all need iron because it plays an essential role in the red blood cells that carry oxygen around our bodies. Every red blood cell contains iron and the average adult has approximately 25 trillion of these cells circulating in their bloodstream.
When we are pregnant, we need even more iron because we need to supply both ourselves and the baby with oxygen. We have nearly 50% more blood in our bodies when we’re pregnant, so we need a lot more iron than normal.
If you don’t have enough iron, then there won’t be enough red blood cells. This can cause a condition called anaemia, which can cause symptoms such as fatigue, pale skin and faintness. Severe anaemia could increase the risk of issues such as low birth rate, but it can usually be treated simply by increasing the amount of iron in your diet or taking extra supplements.
How Much Iron Do You Need When You’re Pregnant?
Most women should be able to get enough iron from a healthy diet during pregnancy, along with antenatal supplements when necessary. The recommended amount of iron during pregnancy is 27mg a day, compared to the usual 18mg required by women. Your antenatal care provider will check your iron levels when you have a blood test, so they’ll be able to tell you if you need a little more.
How to Get Enough Iron When You’re Pregnant?
Lots of foods contain iron. You should make sure that you are eating plenty of them in order to get enough iron:
- Wholegrain or wholemeal bread
- Cereals that are fortified with iron and other nutrients
- Leafy green vegetables
- Dried fruit
- Pulses such as peas and beans
- Oily fish
- Red meat
It’s also important to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin C as it will help your body to absorb the iron. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C.
Eating a balanced diet is the best way to ensure you’re getting the right nutrients during pregnancy, but you can also take supplements to ensure that you and your baby aren’t missing out on anything. It’s important to choose a nutritional supplement that is designed for pregnant women. Other multivitamins will contain too much vitamin A, which can be harmful for your baby during pregnancy.
Taking a daily supplement will ensure that you’re getting plenty of all the essential nutrients, including iron, but it is important not to rely on these pills. You need to eat a healthy diet too, so make sure that you’re taking the time to think about your nutrition during your pregnancy week by week