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The Importance of Iron During Pregnancy

Eating a nutrient rich diet is essential to growing life and it is widely known that Iron is an important nutrient to prioritise during pregnancy & whilst breastfeeding.

During pregnancy, nutrient needs are amplified to nourish not only your own body, but that of the little life you are growing, and getting enough Iron (as well as other crucial nutrients) can sometimes be challenging. Beef liver & spleen are two of the richest sources of Iron available, but hardly anyone eats these regularly - this is where our Freeze-Dried Organic Liver & Spleen Capsules can help.

This blog will explore the role of Iron during pregnancy & whilst breastfeeding, as well as the recommended dosage for our Organic Freeze-dried Beef Liver & Spleen Capsules.


Heme Iron for growth and development

Iron is an essential nutrient that makes ‘haemoglobin’, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to all parts of the body. Without sufficient Iron, there aren’t sufficient red blood cells to transport oxygen which leads to tiredness & fatigue.

The amount of Iron required during pregnancy almost doubles as you’re no longer catering only for yourself, but for growing bub also! Approximately half of your Iron intake will go toward the developing foetus and placenta. The other half will be used to increase the amount of blood in your circulatory system, which will help protect you during childbirth.

The Australian Reference Values ( state the recommended daily intake of Iron to be:

  • 27 mg whilst pregnant
  • 9 mg whilst breastfeeding

Of course, these numbers can vary dependant on your individual needs, so always be sure to check in with your health practitioner to determine your individual Iron needs.

During pregnancy & whilst breastfeeding, Iron plays some critical roles in the healthy development of your baby. Let’s explore some of these:


Role 1: Preventing Iron Anaemia

Anaemia is a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to the body’s tissues and when these are insufficient, it may result in tiredness, shortness of breath, & poor concentration amongst other symptoms.

One of the most common causes of Anaemia is an Iron deficiency and when pregnant, the potential of Iron deficient anaemia increases. 

During pregnancy, not only is your body making extra red blood cells for you, but for your baby also. Without sufficient Iron stores (& the nutrients that assist Iron usability) to make these extra red blood cells, oxygen won’t be moving as freely to your baby which may result in them being too small or early.  


Role 2: Building Bub’s Iron reserves

Newborns receive their Iron stores in the womb, which means the mother’s diet during pregnancy is very important. Your iron intake is most important in the final 10 weeks of pregnancy as this is when your baby begins to build their own iron stores ready for the first 6 months of life. These Iron stores are used until your baby starts on solids.


Role 3: Protection for childbirth  

Not only is Iron important for preparing the baby for its first months of life, but it is also necessary for preparing & protecting the mother during childbirth.

Although the impact of Anaemia on the extent of blood lost at childbirth & postpartum is not yet well-understood, studies have indicated a link between Anaemia & post-partum haemorrhage. There is also evidence to suggest that anaemia is associated with prolonged labour, lower wound-healing capacity, greater likelihood of having sepsis, & ongoing postpartum fatigue.

It is important to have your Iron (and supporting nutrient) levels checked both before & throughout your pregnancy to determine any deficiencies and introduce interventions that support your Iron levels into childbirth.


Natural Sources of Heme Iron

Although many women understand the importance of additional nutrients whilst pregnant & breastfeeding, there is much that can be said for the power of nutrition from nutrient-dense, wholefood sources.

Not all Iron is created equal & different forms of Iron are absorbed at varying degrees in the body. Iron from food comes in two forms: Iron from animal foods (Heme Iron), & Iron from plant foods (Non-Heme Iron). Heme Iron from animal foods is many times more absorbable than Non-Heme Iron found in plant foods.

Heme Iron can ONLY be obtained from animal products, with beef liver & spleen being two of the richest natural sources of bioavailable Heme Iron in existence. Not everyone likes to eat beef organs, so we freeze-dried these Iron powerhouses and encapsulated them for convenience.

Each 6 capsule serve of our Freeze-dried Beef Liver & Spleen Capsules contain:

  • 9.4mg of bioavailable Heme Iron

As you can see, a single serve of our capsules alone will not fully meet the Iron requirements necessary whilst pregnant, however there are other factors we need to consider in terms of Iron uptake. Although meeting the recommended Iron intake is crucial, we need to equally consider Iron uptake, which we’ll explore next.


Synergistic nutrients to assist Iron Absorption

Heme Iron content is only one part of the equation when it comes to optimising Iron levels during pregnancy. Iron heavily relies on synergistic nutrients such as Vitamin B12, Folate, & Vitamin A(to name a few) so that it can be absorbed and used effectively. 

Whilst we do stress that hitting the minimum Iron requirements during pregnancy is important, more is not necessarily always better. There are many synthetic Iron supplements available that offer upwards of (the equivalent of) 105mg of elemental Iron per serve - which is significantly above the recommended values. Not only are synthetic forms of Iron less bioavailable, having this much excess Iron has even been found to be detrimental.

Beef spleen is many times richer in Heme Iron than liver, however liver naturally contains the synergistic nutrients to assist with Iron uptake.  This is why we uniquely formulated our capsules with these two nutritious organs to improve overall Iron absorption.


Synergistic Nutrient 1: Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient that assists with the uptake and useability of Iron. B12 assists Iron by helping your body use another nutrient, Folate. Without consuming enough B12, usable folate can become low, which slows down the production of red blood cells. Eventually, this can lead to low levels of Iron in your blood as old red blood cells are not being effectively replaced.    

The Australian Reference Values (Vitamin B12 | Nutrient Reference Values ( state the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12 to be:

  • 6 mcg whilst pregnant
  • 8 mcg whilst breastfeeding

Verified nutritional testing has shown that each serve (6 capsules) of Cell Squared freeze-dried beef liver & Spleen Capsules contains:

  • 7.2 mcg of Vitamin B12

As Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, the body will excrete excess amounts rather than store them in the body. Meaning that even at large doses, Vitamin B12 is generally considered safe, with very low potential for toxicity. If you’re interested in learning more about Vitamin B12, head to our blog here >>  The Health Benefits Of Vitamin B12 — Cell Squared Australia


Synergistic Nutrient 2: Vitamin A

Studies have shown that adequate Vitamin A plays an important role in preventing Iron deficiency anaemia, with Vitamin A deficiencies thought to impair Iron metabolism. Although the mechanisms by which Vitamin A modifies Iron status are still not fully understood, studies have shown that supplementing with a combination of Vitamin A & Iron significantly increases the potential of eliminating anaemia.


The Australian Reference Values (Vitamin A | Nutrient Reference Values ( state the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A to be:

  • 800mcg whilst pregnant
  • 1100mcg whilst breastfeeding

Verified nutritional testing has shown that each serve (6 capsules) of Cell Squared freeze-dried Beef Liver & Spleen Capsules contains:

  • 648 mcgof Vitamin A (Retinol)


Synergistic Nutrient 3: Folate (B9)

Vitamin B9, AKA ‘Folate’, is an essential nutrient well known for its role in cell growth & DNA formation, and for being particularly important during periods of rapid growth such as pregnancy. Similarly to Vitamin B12, Folate specifically assists with Iron uptake by helping our red blood cells function properly.  

The Australian Reference Values (Folate | Nutrient Reference Values ( state the recommended daily folate intake to be:

  • 600mcg whilst pregnant
  • 500mcg whilst breastfeeding

Verified nutritional testing has shown that each serve (6 capsules) of Cell Squared freeze-dried beef liver & Spleen Capsules contains:

  • 44 mcg of Folate (B9)


Dosage of liver & spleen to consume whilst pregnant or breastfeeding

Premium quality fresh beef organ meats are not always easily sourced, and nor does everyone enjoy consuming them fresh. That’s why we created our liver & spleen supplements, so that you can easily access the benefits of these true superfoods!

Our Beef Liver & Spleen supplements are created with 100% wholefoods with nothing else added, freeze-dried to preserve nutrients, and sourced from ACO certified organic beef, regeneratively raised in the heart of Australia.  

A general daily serving size is 6 capsules which will providethe following quantities of key nutrients:

  • Heme Iron: 9.4mg
  • Vitamin B12: 7.2 mcg
  • Vitamin A (Retinol): 648 mcg
  • Folate: 44 mcg
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.19mg
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 0.36mg
  • Selenium: 5.8 mcg
  • Copper: 0.26 mg

Our general dosage has been informed through our independent nutritional testing, where we worked with one of Australia’s leading labs to verify the nutritional content in our Freeze-Dried Liver & Spleen.

All nutrients detected in a 6-capsule dose of our Freeze-dried Liver & Spleen Supplements are below the RDI’s for pregnancy & breastfeeding as outlined in the Australian government’s “Nutrient Reference Values”.

As we touched on earlier, something to consider is that some of the most used synthetic Iron supplements contain excessively high amounts of (non-Heme) Iron, well over the suggested RDI’s. More people are catching on that too much of a good thing can be detrimental when it comes to Iron, & excessive amounts of synthetic Iron has been found to cause unwanted symptoms such as nausea, indigestion, vomiting & constipation.

As nutritional needs during pregnancy are highly individual, we encourage using the above nutrient values to determine the dosage to complement the rest of your diet, supplement intake, & individual nutritional requirements. Too much of a good thing can actually be a b

It is important that you do not self-diagnose an Iron deficiency, and instead speak with your health practitioner to complete relevant testing. Once you have received a formal diagnosis, your health practitioner can recommend a tailored strategy to increase your Iron levels.



Wholefood sources should always be considered in the first instance to support nutritional intake during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Beef liver & spleen are undeniably naturally bioavailable sources of Heme Iron to support growing life, alongside synergistic nutrients Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, & Folate.  

It is important to purchase organ meats from a quality source, so whether you are eating them fresh or freeze-dried, always look for a reputable, grass fed, and certified organic source to ensure the best nutrients available for yourself and growing bub. Cell Squared Liver & Spleen Capsules are made from our fully ACO certified organic liver & spleen powder.

Learn more about our Organic Freeze-dried Liver & Spleen Capsules HERE >> Shop Organic Grass Fed Beef Liver & Spleen Capsules Online | Cell Squared


++ DISCLAIMER:  The information in this blog is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional. 


References And Resources:

  1. Vitamin A in pregnancy: requirements and safety limits | The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition | Oxford Academic (
  2. Vitamin B12 - Health Professional Fact Sheet (
  3. Vitamin B12 | Nutrient Reference Values (
  4. Vitamin A | Nutrient Reference Values (
  5. Folate | Nutrient Reference Values (
  6. Maternal Vitamin B12 Status During Pregnancy and Its Association With Outcomes of Pregnancy and Health of the Offspring: A Systematic Review and Implications for Policy in India - PMC (
  7. How to Increase the Absorption of Iron from Foods (
  8. Effect of vitamin A supplementation on iron status in humans: A systematic review and meta-analysis - PubMed (
  9. Iron Nutrition During Pregnancy - Nutrition During Pregnancy - NCBI Bookshelf (
  10. Iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy: Prevention tips - Mayo Clinic
  11. Iron and iron deficiency - Better Health Channel
  12. Association between Anaemia during Pregnancy and Blood Loss at and after Delivery among Women with Vaginal Births in Pemba Island, Zanzibar, Tanzania - PMC (
  13. Prediction of anemia at delivery | Scientific Reports (
  14. Women with anemia twice as likely to need transfusion after cesarean delivery (

1 Response



March 19, 2023

Really thorough and informative article. Not easy to find such comprehensive info like this! Thank you

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