We all know a healthy, well-rounded diet is important when you’re pregnant and breastfeeding, including iron, but this is sometimes easier said than done.
Whether it’s extreme nausea that keeps you from eating well, dietary restrictions, previous GI issues, a traumatic birth, or even just pregnancies that are close together, many pregnant and postpartum women find themselves unable to absorb enough iron to produce adequate amounts of hemoglobin (a molecule that helps red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s tissues) in a condition called iron-deficiency anemia (IDA).
Symptoms of IDA are varied, and include (but are not limited to) fatigue, pale skin, weakness and shortness of breath, irritability and poor concentration, as well as more random things like pica, brittle nails, and restless leg syndrome.
To combat IDA, the average pregnant woman needs about 27mg of iron daily.
This number can normally be met through a combination of a prenatal vitamin and a balanced diet, but for those who need to supplement further, things can sometimes get tricky, namely because iron supplements can be a bitch on the GI tract.
For some, side effects show up as nausea and vomiting, while for others it can either plug you up (constipation) or clean you out (the shits). It is also known for its less-than-delightful taste, which, depending on who you ask, falls somewhere on the taste-o-meter between hot-sidewalk-dog-shit and bottom-of-a-dirty-sandal-at-the-local-fair.
If you need to boost your intake, but can’t stomach traditional supplements, all is not lost, my iron-deficient maiden.
Related: Constipation During Pregnancy
Say hello to my little friend, the Lucky Iron Fish.
Less flashy than Iron Man, and more pleasant to utilize than an iron lung, this adorable little fish is actually a cooking tool which, when boiled in water or broth and a few drops of citrus for 10 minutes, releases between 5 and 10mg of the good stuff, per use.
You are then able to use your new iron-infused water to drink or cook with as a unique and practical option for passive supplementation. For those who survive their pregnancies by sipping bone broth and begging for mercy, the fish can help add the iron that is so critical for both mom and baby.
Cooking with the fish does not change the taste of the food, and lasts up to 5 years. It requires little to no upkeep, aside from washing and keeping it dry between uses.
It’s safe to use while pregnant or nursing (just don’t give infused food or water to babies 0-6 months – they are super sensitive to iron).
As the icing on the cake, for each fish purchased, another is donated to a family in need, helping to reduce the number of people (currently nearly 2 billion!) suffering from anemia, worldwide.
The Lucky Iron Fish can be purchased from their website, or from Amazon – they run around $30 but you can check here for the latest price.