Iron rich food | Neeva Baby

Pregnancy is when you will face a long list of things to do and not to do. One of the special things to consider as an expecting mom is your diet.

The list of the foods you are/aren't permitted to eat is put together by consulting with your doctor/ midwife and based on your bodily needs during pregnancy. 

And it is a mandatory diet to observe to have a healthy pregnancy. 

In fact, you need to make sure your baby gets the prenatal vitamins and minerals it needs.  

This is why consuming some foods is crucial at this time. One such necessary mineral for your baby is iron.

It may surprise you that more than half of pregnant women are iron deficient, and anemia is common among expectant moms.

But why does iron play so crucial a part during pregnancy? What are the foods rich in iron? And how much iron does your body need? We explain all these questions below.


Why is it Important to Watch Your Iron Levels during Pregnancy?

To put it simply, iron is one of the building blocks of hemoglobin, and hemoglobin is a component of red blood cells that helps carry oxygen throughout the body. 

When a woman becomes pregnant, her blood volume is naturally increased by 50% to meet the nutritional and oxygen needs of the fetus. 

In this case, the red and white blood cells, plus platelets and plasma cells, all increase blood volume.

Now, suppose the mother suffers from pregnancy anemia and iron deficiency

In that case, her body does not have the extra iron to synthesize new blood cells, so she cannot provide the growing needs fetus for oxygen and nutrients.

In this case, the doctor diagnoses the anemia and prescribes foods rich in iron for pregnancy or supplements for the mother to consume. 

If the situation persists, the mother and child may be at higher risks, such as pre-term birth or low birth weight. To be placed.

Now, suppose the mother suffers from pregnancy anemia and iron deficiency.

In that case, her body does not have the extra iron to synthesize new blood cells, so she cannot provide the growing needs fetus for oxygen and nutrients.

In this case, the doctor diagnoses the anemia and prescribes iron-rich foods for pregnancy or supplements for the mother to consume.

If the situation persists, the mother and child may be at higher risks, such as pre-term birth or low birth weight.

How Much Does the Mother Need Iron during Pregnancy?

If your body's iron levels are in good condition before pregnancy, there is no need to get worried. Still, you usually need twice as much iron intake as before pregnancy.

As for the amount of iron needed, some sources, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, mention the daily intake of iron in pregnant women at 27 milligrams during pregnancy.

The World Health Organization recommends a higher dose of 30 to 60 milligrams of iron per day for pregnant women. Therefore, it is better to consult your doctor or midwife to know exactly how much iron intake you need. 

If you need to take iron supplements, your doctor will prescribe them.

Remember that taking too much iron is also detrimental and can harm your body and fetus.

Some harms inflicted this way include high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.

It is a good idea to get familiar with the following warning signs of iron overdose:

a. weakness and fatigue

b. diarrhea and sharp abdominal pain

c. vomiting blood

d. fast and shallow breathing 


What Are the Different Kinds of Iron for Pregnant Mothers? Heme-iron VS Non-heme Iron

Before getting to the iron-rich foods suitable for moms-to-be, we need to know about heme-iron and non-heme iron. The first type is found in animal meat or animal protein.

This kind of iron exists in red meat, chicken, fish, seafood, or other animal sources of protein you may get. Heme-iron is absorbed quickly by your body.

The second type of iron, known as non-heme iron, is found in vegetables, legumes, and grains. 

This is good news for vegan or vegetarian moms or those who do not like to eat meat during pregnancy (because, for example, it causes them to feel morning sickness). 

Of course, note that it takes longer for your body to absorb iron, as it needs some time to convert it into a substance it can consume. 


List of Iron Rich Foods in Pregnancy for Mothers

Animal proteins:

Red Meat

One of the best sources of iron is lean beef, as 3 ounces of cooked meat contains 1.5 milligrams of iron. One thing to keep in mind about eating meat is to cook it thoroughly to keep it free of bacterial contamination.

It is good to use a meat thermometer to ensure the temperature reaches 160 ° F (71 ° C) when cooking. 

Also, when eating out and ordering a steak or burger, ask the waiter to serve your beef well-done.


Chicken is also an excellent choice to get heme protein as it is a protein-rich food.

Compared to red meat, to get the same amount of iron from chicken, you should consume almost three times more chicken. Again, make sure that it is fully cooked. The required temperature for cooking chicken is 165 ° F (73.8 ° C).

Chicken liver

Another high-protein food source for pregnant women is chicken liver, which contains 10 milligrams of iron per 4 ounces.



One of the best types of fish that can serve both as a source of iron and omega-3 fatty acids plus protein is salmon. Salmon is healthier than other fish such as tuna because the mercury content in Atlantic salmon is lower than tuna or swordfish. Cook it at 63 ° C to ensure it is free of any harmful agents. 

Oysters and clams are other healthy fish to eat during pregnancy.

The following list is recommended seafood protein sources high in iron: catfish, shrimp, cod, sardines, scallops, trout, pollock, and herring. 


How Can You Increase the Absorption of Iron in Your Body? What Foods Prevent from Absorbing Iron?

Consuming iron alone is an excellent way to raise its level in the body. Still, you can also eat foods or juices like orange juice containing vitamin C and iron. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron.

Food sources rich in C vitamin include tomatoes, red or yellow peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, and citrus. 

It is better for those suffering from recurrent pregnancy heartburn to limit soliciting Vitamin C from citrus. You can go for sourcing the Vitamin C from vegetables instead.

In addition, you need to know the other foods which prevent you from absorbing iron. One of the notorious ones is dairy. The main culprit here is calcium found in dairy products. 

Therefore, an excellent solution to let you keep taking dairy and maintaining the needed iron levels is to postpone the consumption of iron supplements to two hours after consuming dairy.

Although it is best to take iron supplements with a glass of water and on an empty stomach, taking iron supplements may increase symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. For this purpose, you can:

· Take iron pills with a snack 

· Take iron tablets before bed


Final Words

Iron-rich foods or iron supplements are essential for many pregnant mothers since iron deficiency or anemia can lead to serious conditions like premature birth. 

Consult with your doctor or midwife to receive the necessary prescriptions for keeping your iron levels at the proper levels.

Fortunately, you can get the iron needed by following easy steps in your balanced diet. 

Iron-rich foods include red meat, chicken, fish, and vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, seeds, and nuts. You can be sure eating iron-rich foods with such a vast array of options is a fun activity to do during pregnancy. 

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