The link between iron and healthy birth outcomes  

by Phytoceutics
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Pregnancy requires a host of nutritional demands and health considerations that can impact both the mother and developing foetus. Iron plays a significant role in this, because iron deficiencies are extremely common during pregnancy. Understanding the importance of preventing and treating iron deficiencies is incredibly important for you and your child’s health. Written by Phytoceutics.

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Due to the increased demands for iron to support the growing foetus and placenta, iron deficiencies can cause issues for mothers; however, it could also potentially lead to adverse outcomes for their child’s brain development.

The critical role of Iron during pregnancy

An estimated 30-50% of pregnant women worldwide suffer from iron deficiency and 15-20% with iron deficiency anaemia (IDA).1 The body uses iron to produce haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

During pregnancy, a woman’s blood volume grows steadily with most having a 45% increase by the third trimester.2 This increase in blood volume means more iron is required, and a lack of consumption could lead to symptoms of iron deficiencies (tiredness, fatigue etc.) which, when more severe, can complicate pregnancy and the child’s health.

IDA Impact on birth outcomes

Maintaining iron levels during pregnancy is essential, and deficiencies could potentially lead to adverse outcomes for the child’s intellectual ability, increasing the risk of intellectual disability (ID), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention deficit disorder/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD).

A significant study published in JAMA Psychiatry has highlighted the substantial association between prenatal maternal anaemia and an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders.1

The study indicated that the risk of autism in children born to mothers with early anaemia was 44% higher compared to children with non-anaemic mothers, the risk of ADHD was 37% higher, and the risk of intellectual disability was 120% higher. It is important to note that anaemia diagnosed after the 30th week of pregnancy was not associated with a higher risk for any of these conditions.1

This emphasises the critical importance of screening for and maintaining adequate iron levels throughout pregnancy to support healthy brain development of the foetus.

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Ensuring adequate iron intake

To prevent IDA and its associated risks, pregnant women should focus on both dietary sources of iron and supplementation. Iron-rich foods include lean meats, leafy green vegetables, legumes, and fortified cereals. However, dietary intake alone may not suffice to meet the heightened iron demands during pregnancy, making iron supplements a crucial part of prenatal care.

BlueIron is a highly bioavailable, liquid iron supplement with natural flavours of Nordic blueberries and is designed to boost iron levels and reduce tiredness and fatigue.3 BlueIron is a favoured iron supplement as it is in liquid format, overcoming pill-aversion; is sugar-free and tastes great.

For expectant mothers, BlueIron Pregnancy provides the recommended levels of iron to support the additional needs of pregnant and breastfeeding women, whilst containing beneficial folic acid and vitamins C & B12 for a healthy pregnancy.3 The BlueIron range ensures controlled iron absorption into the body to reduce gastrointestinal side effects, and provides a trusted safety profile and efficacy.3

BlueIron can be found in DisChem, Clicks, and independent health stores nationwide. For more information about the range please visit


  1. Wiegersma, Am., et al. Association of Prenatal Maternal Anemia With Neurodevelopmental Disorders. 2019. JAMA Psychiatry. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.2309
  2. Nwadike, V. What is low iron during pregnancy?. 2021. Available at:
  3. Phytoceutics. 2024.

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