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Pregnancy nutrition

pregnant-go-green PREGNANT? GO GREEN

Summary

Spinach is a natural source of iron, which is an essential nutrient during pregnancy. Iron supports your baby’s rapidly developing brain, as well as their growing muscles. It also helps to maintain your own health and wellbeing.

Iron during pregnancy

Right now, your body will be using more iron than usual. As well as supporting your baby’s cognitive development, iron is used to make haemoglobin – the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen around your body and to your baby.

Why it’s important to get enough

Keeping your iron levels topped up can also prevent iron deficiency anaemia. It’s a condition in which your blood doesn’t contain enough red blood cells, which can leave you feeling tired, breathless and even affect your immune system.

What next?

Surprisingly, as long as you had good iron levels before conceiving, your recommended intake is the same as if you weren’t pregnant – without the loss of blood through monthly periods, you retain more of your body’s iron stores.

Keep your iron levels topped up with lots of iron-rich foods in your diet. Choose things like red meat, wholegrains and dark, leafy vegetables such as spinach. You’ll also want to make sure you get enough vitamin C, as it helps the body to absorb non-haem iron.

Weekly expert nutritional advice

If you found this page useful, our weekly emails can give you even more advice. We’re here to help you understand the role nutrition plays in your baby’s development, and our early life nutritional expertise will help you make the right choices for your baby’s future.

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View references

Hide references

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1, 5. British Nutrition Foundation. Nutrition and Development, short and long-term consequences for health. Wiley Blackwell: London, 2013

2. Kidspot, Early life nutrition [Online] http://www.kidspot.com.au/iron-pregnancy-need-know/ [Accessed June 2014]

3. NHS UK, Vitamins and minerals - Iron [Online]. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vitamins-minerals/Pages/Iron.aspx [Accessed June 2014]

4. Patient, Anaemia in pregnancy [Online]. Available at: http://patient.info/doctor/anaemia-in-pregnancy [Accessed June 2014]

Last reviewed: 12th August 2014

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