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“Pregnancy, iron supplements are not always necessary”, true or false?

January 1, 2018


Some people think that during pregnancy it is not always necessary to take iron supplements, claiming that it is sufficient to follow an adequate diet to avoid problems and complications. True or false? Dr. Stefania Setti, nutritionist and head of the Clinical and dietary Nutrition Service of Humanitas Gavazzeni Bergamo, responds.


“False. In pregnancy, the need for iron increases and thus taking it with supplements is very important,” the specialist explains. In most cases, during pregnancy the amount of iron that is consumed with the diet becomes insufficient, even if well balanced. In order to avoid the development of iron deficiency anemia, a physiological condition that is common during pregnancy, due to an expansion of blood volume and the growth of the tissues that induce an increase in the need for iron, it is important not to miss the iron-rich foods, nor the supplements of this precious mineral. In particular, the iron-rich foods recommended during pregnancy are the most iron-rich foods:


  • Raw meat and fish (also avoid cooked ham and bresaola)


  • Green leafy vegetables


  • Dried legumes


  • Dried fruit


However, beware: the vegetables are very rich in iron in the non-seed form, which is not absorbable by our organism if it is not associated with a source of vitamin C; however, it is sufficient to include citrus fruits, even in the form of a juice to drink during the meal, to increase the absorption of iron-rich foods. The combination of foods rich in iron and calcium such as dairy products and mineral waters, coffee, chocolate and red wine should be avoided.

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