The importance of iron during pregnancy

Iron is very important during pregnancy for both you and your developing baby. Iron plays a crucial role in transporting oxygen all around the body and also plays an important role in protecting overall health.

Dietary iron exists in two forms haem iron and non haem iron. Haem iron is more readily absorbed by the body and is sourced from red meat such as beef, lamb and pork. Non-haem iron is less well absorbed from the body and is sourced from eggs, leafy green vegetables and pulses. Consuming a food rich in Vitamin C such as tomatoes, peppers or citrus fruits will help improve the absorption of non-haem iron sources.

It is recommended that pregnant women consume approx. 15mg of iron from their meals every day. Here are a few examples of the amount of iron in commonly eaten foods:

 

Foods rich in HAEM IRON

Serving Size (g)

Iron content (mg)

Red Meat

Average portion* of lean beef

120 3.2

Average portion* of lean lamb cutlets

120

2.8

Poultry

Average* chicken breast

120

1.3

Fish

Average portion* of cod

120

0.5

1 small tin of sardines

70

1.6

 

Foods rich in NON-HAEM IRON

Serving Size (g)

Iron content (mg)

1 cup** fortified breakfast cereal

30

2.4-4.2
1 small can of baked beans

140

1.9

1 cup** boiled spinach

90

1.4

1 boiled egg

50

1

1 slice of wholemeal bread

36

0.9

 

*Palm of hand

**200ml disposable cup

4

First 1000 Days Team

Our expert team of dietitians and nutritionists have created lots of articles, tips, advice and recipes all about the importance of good nutrition to help you give your baby the healthiest possible start in life.

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