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Iron Supplements During Pregnancy: Are They Necessary or Not?

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iron supplements

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Iron delivers oxygen through our blood to all the body cells that help our organs to function properly. And its importance increases infinite times in the case of a pregnant body. It is easy to go anemic when your body has to sustain two bodies with just a single set of organs. This is where iron supplements come to the rescue.

Contrary to popular belief, these pills are not just for the gym. You should, and can, pump it up through your pregnancy diet. We have brought to you various iron supplements and iron-rich foods to help you fill up any deficiencies you might have. Read on to uncover those tips!

How Much Iron Do Pregnant Mums Need?

Pregnant folks need to have 27 mg of iron each day and most prenatal vitamins cover that dosage. But in case of iron-deficiency anemia during pregnancy, you need to have extra reinforcements and that is when iron supplements come in handy.

If you are skeptical about taking iron tablets, you could try to infuse these food items into your pregnancy diet:

Best Home Iron-Rich Food Sources (for Non-vegetarians)

  • Eggs (1 mg / 1 hard-boiled egg)
  • Chicken (1 mg / 3 ounces)
  • Braised beef (2 mg / 3 ounces)
  • Canned sardines (2.4 mg / 3 ounces)

Best Non-heme Iron-Rich Food Sources (for Vegetarians)

  • Cashews (2 mg in 18 nuts)
  • Kidney beans (2 mg in half a cup canned)
  • Tomatoes (2 mg in half a cup stewed and canned)
  • Dark chocolate (2 mg/ounce)
  • Firm tofu (3 mg/half cup)
  • Spinach (3 mg/half cup boiled)
  • Lentils (3 mg/half cup boiled)
  • White beans (8 mg/cup canned)
  • Fortified breakfast cereals (18 mg/serving)

5 Best Iron Supplements for Pregnancy


  • Form: Capsule
  • Dose: 25 mg
  • Usage: One capsule with any one meal daily
  • Type: Iron bisglycinate


  • The pills are
  • They are tested on third parties.
  • These are one of the best iron supplements for pregnancy as they do not cause constipation or nausea during pregnancy.
  • Bisglycinate means the iron binds to glycine (an amino acid) which is a sign of optimal absorption. Here’s research on the role of ferrous bisglycinate in the prophylaxis of anemia during pregnancy.
  • These pills have also been NSF certified for sport.
  • In addition to that, they are free of soy, dairy, and gluten and only use natural colorings and flavors.


  • May be insufficient for treating iron deficiency.


  • Form: Tablet
  • Dose: 9 mg
  • Usage: One tablet with or without food daily
  • Type: Iron fumarate from ferment media


These fermented ferrous sulfate complexes are

  • 100% vegetarian
  • Gluten-free
  • Non-GMO project verified
  • NSF certified
  • Kosher
  • It has a lower dose of iron which makes it easily digestible. Pregnant women with severe pregnancy symptoms of bloating, heartburn, or vomiting will find these pills a gift from heaven, making them the best iron supplement for pregnancy.
  • The pills also contain a blend of the following ingredients to ease nausea and constipation
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Artichoke
  • Coriander
  • Cardamom
  • Peppermint
  • Aloe
  • Apart from these amazing ingredients, these tablets are filled with other vitamins B12, E, and C in addition to zinc and folate.


  • The vitamins and minerals mentioned above might clash with your prenatal vitamins.
  • The product has not been tested on third parties.


  • Form: Tablet
  • Dose: 27 mg
  • Usage: One tablet with food daily
  • Type: Iron gluconate


  • The final product has been tested on third parties.
  • These pills do not exceed the limits for microbial, pesticides, or heavy metal contaminants.
  • They give you a supply of 100 tablets which means one purchase will last you a long time.
  • They are also budget-friendly and one of the best iron supplements for women.


  • The dosage may cause gastrointestinal upset.
  • The amount of elemental iron is low.


  • Form: Liquid
  • Dose: 27 mg
  • Usage: One tbsp daily
  • Type: Iron bisglycinate from ferrochel


  • Mary Ruth’s iron liquid has been third-party verified.
  • The best iron supplement is this liquid from Mary Ruth as they are vegan, GMO-free, and sugar-free.
  • This iron liquid has iron bisglycinate in the form of Ferrochel which is a type of ironically neutral iron. This prevents any reaction with other prenatal vitamins and minerals.
  • It has a pleasant flavor of berries coming from the mix of stevia extract and natural flavors.


  • Amongst the listed options, these pills are on the expensive side.


  • Form: Tablet
  • Dose: 65 mg
  • Usage: One tablet with meal and water daily
  • Type: Iron sulfate


  • These supplements are’s top pick and USP verified.
  • The size of tablets is quite small which means they are easy to swallow.
  • These also come in budget-friendly bottles of 180 tablets.
  • These are especially for those women having high iron deficiency or who are in the need of iron transfusions.
  • Anyone carrying quads, triplets, or twins needs the highest dosage of iron for the third and second trimesters of pregnancy.


  • Their high dosage may cause GI upset.

The Bottom Line: Iron Supplements are Vital for Pregnant Mums

Pregnancy demands high blood supply and oxygen than a normal human. Iron supplements any deficiency that prenatal vitamins are unable to do. The tolerable upper limit of iron during pregnancy is 45 mg but a deficiency can make you need more than that.

Remember not to take more than the recommended dosage as it could cause side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and constipation. Organ damage and GI upset are not far behind this list. Medicine still has some research to do on showing a potential link between gestational diabetes, inflammation, and high iron concentrations.

Best Iron Supplement For Pregnancy - FAQs

1. Which is the best supplement for iron?

Iron supplements are a source of higher content Fe for pregnant women. Take a look at these iron supplements:
  • Floradix iron and herbs
  • Amazon elements iron
  • Thorne research iron bis-glycinate
  • Solgar chelated iron
  • Pure encapsulations iron-c
  • Slow Fe iron
  • NatureMade iron
  • 2. What is the US recommended daily intake of iron?

    The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of iron supplements for adults in the US is
  • 9 mg for lactating women
  • 27 mg for pregnant women
  • 18 mg for non-pregnant women
  • 8 mg for men
  • 3. Are iron pills sold over the counter?

    Yes, but make sure over-the-counter iron pills are the right ones for you. Anyone with iron-deficiency anemia is recommended an approximate dose of 100 mg to 200 mg of elemental iron every day.

    4. What is the most effective form of iron?

    Heme iron is the most effective form of iron while the other poorly absorbed iron is non-heme. Lean meat is the best dietary source of heme iron. Fish, chicken, and turkey are also good iron sources but the content is less than red meat.

    5. What boosts iron quickly?

    Pregnant women need a ton of blood because they sustain two humans: themselves and their baby. The best way to boost iron in their body is by including the following iron-rich foods in their diet:
  • Peas
  • Iron-fortified pasta, bread, and cereals
  • Dried fruits such as apricots and raisins
  • Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach
  • Beans
  • Seafood
  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Pork, etc.
  • Sources:

    Reviewed By:

    Jessica - Nutritionist Dietician

    Jessica - Nutritionist Dietician

    Jessica is the owner and registered dietitian nutritionist at Nutrition That Heals, LLC.
    She started her dietetics career working in acute care where she gained a great deal of invaluable experience, learning all about different disease states and their appropriate nutrition interventions.
    She then worked in long term care where she was able to develop her skills and knowledge base dealing with the elderly population.
    Following long term care, she worked as an outpatient dialysis dietitian, working with patients to help them eat their best for their kidney failure and often other health conditions (diabetes, heart disease, etc.).
    She then made the jump back to be an inpatient clinical dietitian.
    There, she was able to work with patients with strokes, cancer, orthopedic issues, as well as the pediatric population.
    During her most recent time working as an inpatient clinical dietitian, a great opportunity presented itself and it was a great way to move into focusing more on her dream of opening a private practice.
    She currently works full time as a contract dietitian with Dietitians on Demand conducting 1:1 nutrition counseling sessions while also working with patients here at Nutrition That Heals, LLC.
    She has been grateful enough to know how powerful good nutrition can be, but after being diagnosed with endometriosis in March 2022, she had to fully focus on the importance of anti-inflammatory foods, proper hydration, and self-care.
    This diagnosis motivated her to put pen to paper and get her business started - she wanted to teach what she had learned to others - food should be nourishing. Jessica wants to show you how you can heal with good nutrition, and feel your absolute best!

    On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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