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PREGNANCY NUTRITION – GETTING ENOUGH IRON

Updated on September 15, 2014

Nutritional demands in women are greater than in men. A woman’s body undergoes various changes which increase the demand of nutrition. Women may need more iron and calcium than men since their body undergo menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause phases.

Iron deficiency is the most common in women. Whether it is in menstruation where the body loses 1mg iron daily or during pregnancy. Iron needs in pregnancy increases drastically. In pregnancy it becomes more important to fulfil the body’s demand of iron. It is necessary not only for the good development of the baby but also for the well-being of mother.

UNDERSTANDING WHY IRON IS NECESSARY DURING PREGNANCY

Iron deficiency commonly called as anaemia is the most common nutritional deficiency found in pregnant women. Iron helps in carrying oxygen to the tissues. Your growing baby needs more iron for its development. It is also essential for development of the placenta. Low iron score in your body may also lead to pre-term delivery or an under-weight baby. This is the reason why your healthcare provider gives you prenatal vitamins with iron. In your last trimester the baby starts to store iron in its body for use till it starts taking solid foods. This means your iron needs increases during your last trimester. Make sure that you are taking adequate amount of iron in your diet.

HOW TO ENSURE MAXIMUM ABSORPTION OF IRON BY THE BODY.

Best source of iron comes from animal foods since it is readily absorbed by the body. Iron found in plant foods is not readily absorbed by the body. Hence it is necessary to take certain foods like foods rich in Vitamin C with plant foods. Vitamin c increases the absorption of iron in the body. There are certain foods which should be avoided while taking iron rich plant foods. Intake of calcium foods like milk, dairy products should not be taken simultaneously. Caffeine should also be avoided and foods rich in zinc should also be avoided.

IRON RICH FOODS

Here’s a list of foods rich in iron

  • Beans and pulses- lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, soybeans, etc.
  • Whole grains and fortified cereals
  • Leafy vegetables – spinach, chards, etc.
  • Nuts- almonds, peanuts, cashewnuts, etc.
  • Eggs
  • Raisins
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Oatmeal
  • Tofu
  • Potato

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