During pregnancy, your iron requirements increase to 27mg/day from 18mg/day due to a 50% increase in blood to supply you and your baby with nutrients and oxygen. Haem iron from animal sources is readily absorbed in the body than non-haem iron, which comes from plant sources. This may be why some vegetarians struggle to meet their iron requirements. However, Vitamin C found in green, leafy vegetables, potatoes and tomatoes can help you to absorb non-haem iron.
Iron consumption is a major concern in pregnant women as only 20% meet the required iron stores (300-500mg) before entering pregnancy. This may lead to iron deficiency anaemia which can result in preterm labour, low birth weight and growth problems. Therefore, it is vital to ensure you have adequate iron levels before and during your pregnancy. However, high iron levels during pregnancy can also be problematic, so if you do have a history of low iron levels, suffer from severe nausea or vomiting in pregnancy, or follow a vegetarian diet, be sure to have your iron levels checked.