Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency I see in my practice. It is a big problem in many pregnant women and in infants between 6-12 months, as well as toddlers and teen girls. Because all these groups have really high iron requirements.

Iron is used in many places across the body but two important ones are
1. it is used in red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body- critical to every cell in your body- so you feel very lousy when you get low,
2. and also in the development of the human brain and cognitive function which is critical when Baby is developing in your womb and an ongoing process in infants and young children.
Very Low iron in pregnancy has been linked to premature babies and low birth weight.

The best source of absorbable iron is red meat. Eat at least two serves of red meat per week in your 2nd and 3rd trimesters (more if you have been told you are low), be very aware of including lots of other iron sources across the food groups daily, and consider a supplement that contains iron (discuss with your doctor) when pregnant.

Baby absorbs iron from mum during pregnancy (a lot of it in the last few weeks before birth), which will give them about 4-6 months supply. This is a good thing as breastmilk is quite low in iron. If you have been very low in iron during pregnancy or your baby is premature, ask your doctor if your baby might benefit from an iron supplement. When solids are introduced to your baby from around 6 months, include iron rich foods from the get go.

Roast is a great one because it is usually nice and tender great to purée or cut into strips for baby finger food.

Learn more about iron and all the food options containing iron for pregnancy in our book “Growing Baby Bean a Complete Guide to Pregnancy Nutrition”. And check out our video on introducing solids where we discuss high iron foods during infancy.

The pic is of my Sunday lamb roast ready to put in the oven, you can see I have paired it with some Mediterranean style veggies. In hindsight, I should have got the meat and sweet potato going first, and added the broccoli, capsicum, tomato and zucchini part way through cooking.