The Stout truth about Iron in Pregnancy

Iron-deficiency anaemia. It’s not much fun, especially when you are pregnant. Unfortunately it’s also not unsual, and many have it in the third trimester. I was anaemia with in y first pregnancy, the sheer horridness of the iron tablets has sent me scuttling for the green leafy vegetables this pregnancy. What I’ve discovered working with pregnant ladies is how little sensible advice is given on this topic, so here is some from me 😉

Top Foods to eat for Iron content:

  • Red meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Egg yolks
  • Dark green leafy vegetables – spinach, swiss chard, watercress, curly kale.
  • Dried fruit – prunes, raisins, figs, apricots.
  • Breakfast cereals that are enriched with Iron.
  • Beans, lentils, chickpeas and other pulses.
  • Sardines
  • Tofu

Top Tips:

  1. If you eat iron-rich foods along with foods that provide plenty of vitamin C, your body can better absorb the iron.
  2. Phytates : Oxalates in spinach and phytates found in wholegrains, brans and legumes (soy beans, split peas, lentils and dried beans) inhibit the absorption of iron
  3. Tannin: Avoid drinking tea, coffee & cola drinks withmeals as they decrease the amount of iron absorbed.

The Myth: In 1759 Arthur Guinness first began to brew his famous Irish stout, over the years a lot of clever marketing went on and a few myths were created. As much as I’d like to encourage pregnant ladies to have a little stout now and again I’m afraid the iron content really isn’t worth writing home about. A pint of Guinness contains 0.3mg of iron, less than three per cent of daily adult needs. That means, you’d need to drink 15 pints of Guinness to get the same amount of iron as two Weetabix. So ladies, stay away from the Guiness, it will not help with anaemia. Sorry.   guinness is good for you Supplements: If you feel your iron levels are low (common symptoms include tiredness, looking pale and feeling washed out) then ask your midwife or GP to check your iron levels via a blood test. There are iron tablets that can be prescribed or you can increase your intake of iron containing foods, or look for a natural supplement like Spatone. I hope that helps! Pregnancy is a tiring time anyway, so it can be hard to tell if you have low iron levels, but it’s always worth keeping your iron topped up through plenty of iron rich foods just in case.