Congratulations on your pregnancy! There are so many things you need now: maternity clothes, a car seat, diapers, new wallpaper for the nursery, a billion cute little onesies... Well, maybe some of those are wants and not needs. But there’s one thing you definitely need now more than ever, and it may not have crossed your mind while you’re all baby on the brain: iron!
Why do you need more iron when pregnant?
Pregnant women need a lot of iron. When you’re pregnant, your blood volume increases dramatically — anywhere from 20 to 100 percent compared to pre-pregnancy levels.<1> That means you need to make more hemoglobin. If you don’t remember seventh grade biology, hemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen all around your body — and to your little one. And to make hemoglobin, you need iron.
Why is low iron bad during pregnancy?
Iron deficiency is no joke. If you fall low on iron while you’re pregnant, you may develop anemia and experience fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, and cold hands and feet. You’re at greater risk of iron deficiency if you have closely spaced pregnancies, or if you’re expecting twins, or if you’re barfing a lot due to morning sickness. Whatever your situation, if you’re preggers, you need more iron.
Bonus: Getting enough iron during pregnancy increases your chances of having a full-term delivery, giving birth to a baby at a healthy weight, and being in a good mood in the months after birth (well, as good a mood as you can be when you’re being woken up by a wailing infant every two hours).<2>
How much iron do you need during pregnancy?
27 mg a day. That’s compared to 18 mg for women who aren’t pregnant.<3> And many ladies have trouble getting enough iron before they see two lines on the pregnancy test. Foods just aren’t as rich in iron as we think. Have a look at how much iron you get from some of the best food sources of the mineral:<4>
- 1 cup serving lentils: 6.6 mg
- 5 ounce serving of liver: 6.5 mg
- ½ cup serving of tofu: 3.4 mg
- 1 ounce serving of dark chocolate: 3.4 mg
- 5 ounce serving of clams: up to 3 mg
- 1 cup cooked quinoa: 2.8 mg iron
- 5 ounce serving of ground beef: 2.7 mg
- 5 ounce serving of spinach: 2.7 mg
- 1 ounce serving pumpkin seeds: 2.5 mg of iron
Should you take iron when pregnant?
Even if you’re a big fan of lentils and liver, you probably don’t want to eat two servings of each a day for nine months. (And even then, you’d fall a little short.) That’s why supplementing with iron is a good idea. But many iron supplements aren’t easy to absorb, and others can upset your stomach or leave you constipated. Just what you need right now, huh?
Iron supplements from Flora
- Iron + Herb™ (Iron+) is a low-dose, easy-to-absorb, non-constipating, liquid iron formula featuring ferrous gluconate. This is the form of iron that edged out the competition in a head-to-head test. Researchers studied four kinds of iron to see which one was best absorbed and had the fewest side effects; ferrous gluconate was the winner.<5> Iron + Herb™ also contain B vitamins and vitamin C to enhance iron absorption even further and comes in a tasty fruit and vegetable juice base.
- Ferritin+ vegan capsules contain high-potency 100% plant-based ferritin iron made with organic peas. Ferritin iron has a natural protein coat that slows its release in the body and allows iron to be absorbed with minimal digestive side effects. Plant-based ferritin iron has been clinically shown to effectively raise iron levels.
Now that you have your iron needs covered, can we suggest giraffes for the nursery? The jungle theme is totally in right now.
<1> Sanghavi M, Rutherford JD. Cardiovascular physiology of pregnancy. Circulation. 2014 Sep;130(12):1003-1008. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.009029. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.009029#:~:text=Blood%20volume%20increases%20significantly%20within,%2C%20usually%20close%20to%2045%25
<2> Iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy: prevention tips. Mayo Clinic. 2019 Oct 25. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/anemia-during-pregnancy/art-20114455
<3> Iron. Fact Sheet for Professionals. National Institutes of Health. 2021 Mar 30. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/
<4> Spritzler F., Bell AM. 11 healthy foods that are very high in iron. Healthline. 2020 Jan 27. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-healthy-iron-rich-foods
<5> Casparis D, et al. Effectiveness and tolerability of oral liquid ferrous gluconate in iron-deficiency anemia in pregnancy and in the immediate post-partum period: comparison with other liquid or solid formulations containing bivalent or trivalent iron. Minerva Ginecol. 1996 Nov;48(11):511-8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9005381/