I am about eighteen weeks pregnant, and I’ve had low iron since my iron was first checked at 12 weeks. Today, it checked out even lower, despite taking a daily supplement for over a month now, and I do feel quite run down. Normally, iron-deficiency anemia doesn’t pop up until the 20th week or so, so I definitely have an early start, and I’d really like to get this under control.
The catch is, I really don’t like to eat meat, and it appears the very best sources — in terms of easy absorption — are meat, fish, and poultry. I just bought lentils, quinoa, kidney beans, and spinach, and I am going to dig up some recipes (and I know to combine them with vitamin C). I really wonder if this will suffice — or do I need meat?
I am not technically a vegetarian in that I don’t identify as such and will eat humanely raised, antibiotic-free chicken, but I just really do not enjoy chewing flesh (not even really the chicken). At the same time, I know that, in evolutionary terms, we have been meat-eaters far longer than we have eaten agricultural products like beans, grains, leafy greens, etc. So it makes sense to me that the pregnant body might genuinely need some meat.
I am curious to hear: how did other offbeat mamas out there who eat little or no meat have worked to boost their iron levels in pregnancy? — Mary
Vegetarian and vegan mamas: what foods do you recommend to help keep your iron levels up while pregnant?