Dealing with iron deficiency anaemia during pregnancy

During pregnancy, among the many other aches, pains and niggles, it is very common for women to experience iron deficiency anaemia.

Most commonly occurring during the third trimester, the unborn baby needing iron for its own development takes its supply directly from the mother.

This means it is important throughout pregnancy to make sure you consume a healthy balanced diet which includes plenty of iron rich food.

The absorption of iron into the body is an important process. Iron enables the body to make haemoglobin which in turn helps oxygen reaches vital tissue, cells and organs.

If you are not getting enough iron in your diet you may experience some of the common symptoms of iron-deficiency such as:

Feeling tired
Breathless after some exercise
A rapid pulse
Poor concentration

Including dark green leafy vegetables, seafood and red meats in the diet are good way of ensuring plenty of iron is naturally absorbed.

Cutting out tea and coffee during this time is also important as both drinks contain polyphenols. This is a compound which binds together with iron making it harder for the body to absorb.

The Food Standards Agency recommends aiding iron consumption at mealtimes by drinking a glass of orange juice. This is because Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron.

If you are concerned you are not getting enough iron during your pregnancy, it is important to talk to your midwife or GP, particularly if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.

New research published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition in November 2009, also finds that supplementing the diet with Sun Chlorella ‘A’ during pregnancy may ‘significantly’ reduce the risk of pregnancy related anaemia as well as fluid retention and dangerously high blood pressure.

Made from 60 per cent pure plant protein, Sun Chlorella ‘A’ also contains essential amino acids plus beta carotene, vitamin B12, B6, vitamin D, folic acid, iron and fibre.

Chlorella, which is a single-cell green algae, has also been credited in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2007 for helping to reduce the level of toxins which have been consumed by mums through the environment and food and passed on to their baby through breast milk.

Carefully considering your diet throughout pregnancy will help to make sure that your body and developing baby will both get what they need. You can do this by making sure your diet includes a good balance of the following foods:

Protein-Rich Foods – Protein is vital for the growth and development of your baby and can be found in foods such as beef, chicken, lamb and pork, eggs, beans, pulses and lentils, nuts, tofu and seafood.

Seafood, and oily fish
in particular, is also a great source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids which can help enhance your baby’s brain development. However, some varieties of fish and shellfish such as swordfish and King mackerel can contain potentially dangerous levels of mercury. Though tuna has been grouped in with these ‘high mercury foods’, the Foods Standards Agency has advised pregnant women to just limit the amount they eat to no more than four medium-size cans of tinned tuna or two fresh tuna steaks each week.

Cereals and Grains
– Cereals and grains such as bread, pasta, rice, breakfast cereals and couscous provide carbohydrates for energy, B vitamins, fibre, and minerals including zinc and magnesium.

Calcium-Rich Foods – The likes of yoghurt, milk – including calcium fortified soya milk – and cheese are rich in calcium and vitamins which are essential for bone growth.

Vitamin-C packed Foods
– Vitamin C has many functions including helping the body use iron to make red blood cells. It is found in most fruits and vegetables such as oranges, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, white and sweet potato and tomatoes.

Dark-Green Vegetables – Dark green vegetables are an excellent source of folic acid which is well-documented to prevent certain birth defects. Make sure your diet includes plenty of broccoli, spinach, asparagus, peas and greens just to be on the safe side.

Fats – Fats contain essential nutrients such as vitamin E and provide much-needed energy. Be wary not to include too much saturated fat but instead opt for foods containing essential fatty acids such as avocado, nuts and seeds, olives and olive oil and spreads.

As important as it is to make sure you include certain foods, there are other ones that should be totally avoided during pregnancy. These are:

Raw, undercooked or contaminated seafood, meat, poultry and eggs

Unpasteurised foods such as brie, feta, camembert and blue cheese should be avoid as you can suffer from food borne illnesses after eating these

Unwashed fruits and vegetables – always wash what you eat to eliminate any harmful bacteria

Large quantities of liver – it is fine to eat liver during pregnancy, but don’t eat too much of it. Liver is high in vitamin A, and excess vitamin A may cause birth defects.

Excess caffeine as it can cross the placenta and affect your baby’s heart rate

Before taking any supplements it is important to consult your midwife for advice and always read the label.

Sun Chlorella ‘A’ is priced £19.95 for 300 tablets for a 20-30 day supply and is available from

or  free phone 0800 008 6166