Why is iron important for you and your baby?
Iron is a key nutrient to keep you free of sickness during pregnancy as it supports your immune system. It is also an essential component of haemoglobin, the protein in your red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout your body. That makes the consumption of iron especially important during the second trimester when the volume of blood in your body increases by almost 50%.
Without iron, you will feel weak and tired. Iron deficiency during pregnancy can also put your baby at risk for premature birth and low birth weight.
It's also important to continue nourishing your baby with iron after they are born. It will help your infant to learn critical psychomotor skills, such as walking!
How much iron do you need during pregnancy?
You should get at least 35 mg of iron each day, which you can get from your diet. But this nutrient is so vital that the World Health Organization recommends that pregnant women take a daily supplement containing 30 to 60 mg of iron. Always talk to your doctor first before taking supplements.
Where can you and your baby get iron?
There are plenty of good foods to eat for their high iron content:
- Lentil (masoor), horse gram (Kulith), rajma, soybeans>
- Raisins dried, black (black kismis)
- Tamarind, curry leaves, mint leaves (pudina)
- Coriander seeds (dhania seeds), cumin (jeera)
- Meat, such as chicken, particularly liver and mutton
- Fish, especially mackerel (bhangra)
- Dark green or leafy vegetables, such as amaranth (green maath/chauli leaves), cauliflower greens and radish leaves
- Fruits like watermelon and pomegranates
Consuming food or drink high in vitamin C with your meal can help your body to absorb iron from these iron-rich foods better.
- Krishnaswamy K, Sesikeran B. Dietary Guidelines for Indians –A Manual. National Institute of Nutrition;2011.
- Longvan T, Ananthan R, Bhaskarachary K, Venkaiah K. Indian food composition Tables. National Institute of Nutrition;2017.