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Iron in the first trimester leads to bigger babies

Pregnant women who get more iron in their diet during the first trimester have heavier babies, finds new research

Posted: 4 March 2011
by Kimberley Smith
iron rich red meat
Cooked through, red meat is safe in pregnancy and a good source of iron

Having a high-iron diet in the first trimester of pregnancy has been linked to an increase in the birth weight of babies, according to a new study. However, getting less than the recommended levels of iron doesn’t lead to underweight babies.

UK guidelines recommend that mums-to-be get 15 milligrams of iron every day, but according to the report, most only manage around 11.8 milligrams. The researchers found that for every 10 milligrams per day increase in the total amount of iron a mum-to-be had, her baby would be around 34g heavier.

“Iron intake affects body iron stores, which are under extra demand during pregnancy,” said Nisreen Alwan, from the University of Leeds who co-wrote the report.

Having a bigger baby might not seem like a good thing, but being born with a healthy birth weight is important for your little one’s development. Good sources of iron include meat, spinach and iron-fortified breakfast cereals.

If you really aren’t getting enough you may be anaemic and, like Holly Willoughby, find yourself getting extra tired or suffering migraines. Supplements can help and if you’re concerned, speak to your GP.

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