MS, RD, LDN, CBS
Janel holds a Master’s in Nutrition Communication from Tufts University. As the recipient of the 2010 Massachusetts Young Dietitian of the Year award, she believes in making healthy eating simple, sustainable, and delicious.
Getting adequate iron is important to your health not only during the first 1,000 days (the first day of your pregnancy through your child’s second birthday) but also throughout life. Incorporating iron-rich whole foods into your diet will serve you well.
We need extra iron during pregnancy to make more blood to supply oxygen to baby. Additionally, baby uses iron to build up stores that he relies on until six months of age.Too little iron can be problematic for baby’s brain development and leave you anemic. Our body relies on dietary intake as we cannot make iron. An adult woman should consume 18mg a day, whereas a pregnant woman’s needs increase to 27mg a day to support fetal growth and create stores in advance of losses during delivery.
Good sources of iron include: red meat, fish, shellfish,
poultry, eggs, legumes, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fortified breakfast
cereals, and fortified whole grains. Your body best absorbs plant sources of
iron, such as spinach, if you consume these foods with a good source of vitamin
Constipation is a common side effect of supplemental iron
(from either your prenatal vitamin or if your doctor has recommended you take
an additional iron supplement). To help ease the constipation supplemental iron
can cause, be sure to eat a high fiber diet (think fruits, veggies, and whole
grains), drink plenty of water, and engage in exercise if given the okay by
meals and snacks from the options listed below can help you meet your
*Pregnant women should eat no more than 6 ounces of high mercury fish per week
For more on this topic, check out the following articles and recipes:
Our Happy Family Organic Superfoods Cookbook for Baby & Toddler is chock-full of yummy, easy-to-prepare meals your whole family will love.