Iron is a crucial mineral for health in pregnancy, and for new mothers and babies.
The effects of iron deficiency in pregnancy and lactation range from mild (irritability and fatigue), to moderate (postpartum depression), to severe (higher risk of disease and death). Keeping your iron levels up during pregnancy also helps prepare you for the blood loss during labour. So let’s get to work fixing your iron levels to improve your health during pregnancy and nursing.
Iron Needs for Pregnant and Nursing Women
Pregnancy: 27 mg/d
Lactation: 9 mg/d*
Women (19-50 years): 18 mg/d
*During lactation, iron requirements drop because breastfeeding initially puts menstruation on hold. Once menstruation resumes, iron needs become higher with the combined needs of lactation and menstruation.
Why Use the Lucky Iron Fish?
Consider The Lucky Iron Fish to boost your iron levels when iron-rich foods are not enough. The Lucky Iron Fish releases about 5-10 mg of iron into your cooking water. Because of this small dose of iron, using the Lucky Iron Fish avoids side effects like nausea and constipation.
The Lucky Iron Fish/Leaf releases gentle amounts of easily absorbable iron and is therefore safe to use for most individuals including pregnant and nursing mothers. Please note that the daily recommended iron intake during pregnancy is 27mg of iron, so it is recommended to use the Lucky Iron Fish in addition to other methods of iron supplementation or fortification. We always recommend speaking with your healthcare provider when evaluating your iron needs.
Handy Ways to Use Your Lucky Iron Fish
Simple ideas using the Lucky Iron Fish:
- Use Lucky Iron Fish water in your next smoothie (link to smoothie recipe) and sip while you are nursing.
- Pour Lucky Iron Fish water into a bottle with a wedge of lemon and a sprig of mint and slip it into your diaper bag to stay hydrated on the move.
- Pop the Lucky Iron Fish into soup and let boil or simmer for 10 minutes.
In rare cases (about 4% of births), postpartum hemorrhage occurs, which is defined as greater than 500 ml blood loss from vaginal birth and greater than 1 L blood loss from cesarean birth. This volume of blood loss usually requires more intensive iron supplementation.
Take time to recognize the symptoms of iron deficiency. Symptoms include fatigue, depressed mood, irritability, pale skin and brittle nails. If you notice these symptoms, particularly if they are pronounced, it is important to go and see your doctor. You may not know if you are at risk for low iron stores. Your doctor can advise you if iron supplementation is right for you.