Dianna Martino - Holistic Naturopath & Coach

Holistic Adelaide Naturopath

Nutrients in Pregnancy: Iron

The requirement for iron during pregnancy increases during the second and third trimesters. Severe anaemia is associated with preterm birth, low birth weight and small for gestational age foetus. The level of iron stores prior to conception is a strong predictor of the risk of iron deficiency anaemia during pregnancy, thus if you are not pregnant yet, now is a good time to test your iron levels.

What is Iron used for?

  • Ovulation and uterine blood flow
  • Reproductive system oxygenation and fertility
  • Oxygen transport
  • Formation of neurotransmitters and DNA

Iron deficiency may cause or be associated with:

  • Iron deficiency can inhibit ovulation
  • Periods tend to be more painful in anemic women
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced mental performance
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations on exertion
  • Post-natal depression, emotional instability, stress and lower cognitive performance

Food sources:

  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Apricots
  • Pine nuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chicken and red meat
  • Wheat germ

Supplementation and dosage:

Once you have your blood test results, your healthcare practitioner can help you with appropriate dosage of supplementation if recommended. Bear in mind that your ferritin can be just in the ‘normal’ range so you may not be informed of this or recommended a supplement. A copy of your test results can be helpful to bring to a natural health care practitioner if you are feeling tired and suspect that your iron may be on the low side.

Absorbing Iron:

Consider what you consume alongside your iron food sources and supplements. Phytates in cereals, cow’s milk, cheese, coffee, tea, manganese, cadmium, cobalt, copper, calcium and zinc reduce absorption of iron.