You need iron in pregnancy because it’s needed to make haemoglobin – the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body, and to your baby.
1.Your blood volume increases by almost 50% in pregnancy
As your blood volume increases, so does the need for extra iron. The best way to do this is by eating iron-rich foods, such as red meats or dark green leafy vegetables. (See Foundations of a healthy diet: part two).
2. Low levels of iron in pregnancy can lead to problems in pregnancy, birth and beyond
These risks are low in the UK as your iron levels are closely monitored in pregnancy. However, the risks include:
- More likely to pick up infections
- Feeling physically weak
- Pre-term labour
- postpartum haemorrhage
- Postnatal depression
- Low birth weight babies
3.Your baby will take all it needs from you – which may leave you deficient
Babies will always take the iron they need from their mothers, which will leave you deficient if you aren’t getting enough through your diet. This can lead to tiredness and fatigue – not what you need with a newborn!!