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When you start thinking about having a baby there are some things that come to mind – cutting back on alcohol and caffeine and maybe taking a folic acid supplement – but you may also need to keep an eye on your iron levels. 1

Why is iron especially important for me now?

If you are thinking of falling pregnant, the amount of iron in your body is vital.

A successful pregnancy requires plenty of iron – for the growth of the placenta, a healthy baby and to protect you against blood loss during delivery. 1

Around 40 % of women begin their pregnancy without enough iron. 1  Having iron deficiency (ID) before you get pregnant can affect how much your baby grows, meaning they are more likely to have a decreased birth weight. 2 In addition, IDA at the start of your pregnancy can increase the chance that you have your baby early. 1

There are a lot of things happening in your body before you may know you are pregnant. The placenta begins to grow, and your baby’s organs are almost developed by 8 weeks. 3 It is therefore essential that you have a healthy diet from the moment you start trying to get pregnant.


  1. Breymann C. Iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy. Expert Rev Obstet Gynecol 2013;8(6):587-596.
  2. Ronnenberg AG, Wood RJ, Wang X, Xing H, Chen C, Chen D, et al. Preconception Hemoglobin and Ferritin Concentrations Are Associated with Pregnancy Outcome in a Prospective Cohort of Chinese Women. J Nutr 2004;134(10):2586-2591.
  3. Viteri FE. Iron endowment at birth: maternal iron status and other influences. Nutr Rev 2011;69(Suppl 1):S3-S16.
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