You’re pregnant, congratulations! You probably find yourself constantly thinking about your growing baby but don’t forget to look after yourself, too. Choosing to eat healthy foods when you’re pregnant will benefit both you and your baby.
Lean red meat is a healthy food you can include in your diet which will provide you with many essential nutrients – think of it as natures multivitamin.
If you’re iron deficient you might:
During pregnancy you need 2-3 times more iron than usual. Lean red meat is a good source of iron which supports the formation of red blood cells, helps with normal energy production and helps reduce tiredness and fatigue.
- Feel tired and lethargic
- Become easily irritated
- Look pale or washed out
- Have heart palpitations (the feeling of your heart beating abnormally fast or with an irregular rhythm)
- Feel dizzy
- Be unable to catch your breath or feel breathless
- Feel run down and more prone to colds and infections
- Feel light headed or experience headaches
Poor iron intake during pregnancy will impact on your iron status more than the developing infant. In other words, the iron needs of your baby will be met at your expense.
You might like to prepare a few meals while you're pregnant that can be frozen and taken out as needed after your baby is born. Slow-cooker recipes are also great for when your baby has arrived and you find yourself time-poor.
Commonly Asked Questions
- Can I order my steak rare?
It is not advised to eat rare or undercooked meats while pregnant. Instead, cook until juices run clear and eat while hot. Store leftovers covered in fridge and eat within 2 days; reheat leftovers until piping hot.
- I love pate - am I still able to eat it while I'm pregnant?
Although liver provides an excellent source of iron, pregnant women should limit their intake of liver to 100 grams per week, due to the potentially toxic effects of concentrated levels of vitamin A on the developing foetus. If using liver in a pate form, it should be cooked well and heated to over 70°C before consumption, which in practical terms, excludes shop-bought products.
- Maternity services are free for New Zealand residents and other eligible women. If you haven't already, head to this page to find a midwife in your area.
- Check out our resource on Iron in Pregnancy for tips and recipe ideas. Send us an email if you require a hard copy.
- The NZ Nutrition Foundation has an informative page on important nutrients during pregnancy. Check it out here.