Did you know that you need 2-3 times more Iron than normal during pregnancy?
Not only do you need Iron to sustain yourself, but your growing baby needs to build up a store that will sustain them until they are 6 months old.
Iron levels are closely monitored by your health professional during pregnancy, but there are things that you can do to help:
- Include iron rich foods in your daily diet, including lean red meat – the redder the better.
- Add vitamin C rich fruit and vegetables to every meal – this will help you absorb the iron. Kiwifruit, tomatoes and capsicums are great sources of vitamin C.
- Avoid drinking tea with your meals as this inhibits Iron absorption.
By 7 months, baby will need more iron than an adult male!
Iron is key in brain development so is an essential daily requirement. Up until this point, milk has met this requirement, as well as the store they built up during your pregnancy. As your baby becomes more active you need to ensure you are supplying them with enough Iron. You may need to persevere with the picky eater as you introduce lean beef and lamb, pureed fruit and vegetables– it can take 15 times before they may accept a new food. A variety of healthy Iron rich foods are best, including:
- Lean beef and lamb
- Legumes i.e Beans – combine with capsicum, broccoli or kumara, all rich in vitamin C which will help with iron absorption.
- Leafy greens
- Porridge and iron-fortified cereals
- Pate is a great source or Iron, although limit this to 2 teaspoons per week.
If you have any concerns about your or your babies iron level, speak with your health professional.