The importance of iron during and post-pregnancy

The importance of iron during and post-pregnancy

Expecting and worried about your iron levels, or feeling low this winter? Nutritional therapist Sally Wisbey has the answers


Why is iron so important pre- and post-pregnancy?

Iron is needed for your baby’s formation of red blood cells, haemoglobin and the formation of tissue, so iron is vital in pregnancy.

When you’re pregnant you can easily become anaemic, as obviously your baby is absorbing quite a lot of your iron to develop its body. It’s really important for women to make sure they have enough iron through diet and supplements like Spatone.

Even after pregnancy, if you’re breastfeeding it’s still important because the baby is still getting all of its nutrients from you. A newborn’s nutritional foundation comes from its mother, so whatever you may be lacking in, your baby could be lacking in. It’s important that you do get enough nutrients, especially omega 3 and probiotics for good digestive health, because everything that’s going on in you will go to the baby.

How to spot an iron deficiency

The typical symptoms of an iron deficiency include fatigue, pale skin and feeling run down, and even poor memory.

If you’re feeling these symptoms, do consult your GP and get blood tests done, because an iron deficiency can also mirror Vitamin D, Vitamin B or magnesium deficiencies. Lots of women think of iron as the first ‘port of call’, which it could well be, but it’s also good to check that you’re not lacking in anything else.

After pregnancy it could be a number of those things – also check your Vitamin D levels. We don’t get much sun here in the UK (Vitamin D comes from the sun) and especially with a newborn you’re probably going to be stuck inside, so you’re probably not getting enough vitamin D.

Obviously pregnancy and having a baby exhausts you, so chances are that you could just be low in everything or it could just be lack of sleep. Try increasing your intake of fruit and veg, iron-rich foods, and lots of natural foods, and get your bloods done, which you’re entitled to from the GP or midwife. Get levels tested to try to find the underlying cause, so you know why are you’re tired.

How do you ensure you’re getting enough?

Diet-wise you can up your iron intake by getting more green leafy vegetables into your diet, through nuts and seeds, or smoothies.

You can fit a lot of fruit and vegetables into one smoothie. I meet a lot of mums who say they haven’t got time for anything but toast. While I always prescribe food before supplements, if you haven’t got time, work with them if it’s going to help you feel better.

Natural liquid iron supplement Spatone is available from Boots, Holland & Barrett and Tesco, and online. Sally Wisbey is a nutritional therapist regulated and registered with the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapies.


Related Articles

Ice cravings could mean iron deficiency
You and your body
Ice cravings could mean iron deficiency
Ice cravings could mean iron deficiency Weird cravings during pregnancy could...
Are you getting the necessary nutrients?
Eating & Exercise
Are you getting the necessary nutrients?
Are you getting the necessary nutrients? Do you know which essential nutrients...
Feel good food habits
Eating & Exercise
Feel good food habits
Feel good food habits It turns out that eating healthily is all about learning...
Vitamin D supplements could help winter babies' bones
Baby & Toddler Health
Vitamin D supplements could help winter babies' bones
Vitamin D supplements could help winter babies' bones Taking vitamin D during...


Weaning your baby: The best first foods

Which foods are appropriate for your baby at each stage of his or her development?
prepare-yourself-for-giving-birthLabour and Birth

How to prepare yourself for giving birth

So what do you need to know to get you ready for labour?

Clemmie Hooper and her mum squad on pregnancy and birth

Midwife and Author Clemmie Hooper and her mum sqaud on how pregnancy and birth was for them.

WIN £100 vouchers to spend online at Merci Maman!

Merci Maman necklaces, bracelets, rings and accessories are now being gifted to loved ones all over the world.

Win a Butlin's Just For Tots break with BABY Born!

BABY born has teamed up with Butlin’s to give one lucky family the chance to win a Butlin’s Just For...

Win £50 Morrisons voucher and Heavenly Tasty Organics Hamper

Heavenly Tasty Organics are giving you the chance to win £50 Morrisons voucher and a hamper filled with their award...