Did you know that up to 25% of women may suffer from low iron at some point throughout their pregnancy?
Most women can correct this deficiency by using an iron supplement in conjunction with eating a healthy diet that’s full of a variety of iron-containing foods, especially those with heme iron.
However, a lot of women fail to comply with their recommended iron supplementation regimen as most products are hard to digest, may lead to nausea, and typically leave a terrible aftertaste.
What’s worse is that most foods contain non-heme iron which has low bioavailability and is not used as efficiently by the body as heme iron that’s typically found in red meat, poultry, and seafood.
In order to correct this issue, women should use a supplement that contains iron in its optimal form – ferrous bisglycinate chelate.
Here, we’ll review the 3 best iron supplements that are ideal for pregnant women who may suffer from digestive issues related to the use of standard iron products.
TL;DR: What is the Best Iron Supplement for a Sensitive Stomach?
- Iron supplements that contain ferrous bisglycinate chelate provide women with a cost-effective and natural solution to combat iron deficiency.
- Women who are pregnant should use a supplement that contains somewhere between 18-27 mg of iron per serving, whereas women who are breastfeeding should supplement with at least 9mg of iron daily.
- Beli for Women Prenatal Multivitamin provides women with nutrients that are essential for better energy, red blood cell production, and iron absorption enhancement. It contains 18mg of Ferrochel iron along with a generous supply of B vitamins and vitamin C.
- Mary Ruth’s Prenatal & Postnatal Liquid Iron is the best liquid iron supplement available. Each serving provides women with 27 mg of Ferrochel iron in a natural berry flavor.
- Hello Vitality Liquid Iron by Best Nest Wellness is the best-tasting iron supplement. Each serving provides women with 15mg of Albion Taste-Free iron that has a smooth chocolate flavor.
3 Best Iron Supplements for Sensitive Stomach
Beli Fertility offers the best iron supplement for pregnancy!
Beli for Women is designed to boost women’s energy levels naturally through the use of 20 vitamins and minerals that work together to enhance red blood cell production, aid oxygen transport, and replenish the body’s iron levels.
Some of its main ingredients include:
- 18mg of Ferrous Bisglycinate Chelate (Ferrochel)
- 100mg of Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate)
- 1,000mcg of Folate (L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate Calcium)
- 30mg of Vitamin B6
- 16mcg of Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin)
Ferrochel is the world’s leading form of iron. Not only is it easier to absorb than other iron forms, such as ferrous sulfate or fumarate, but it also has much fewer reported side effects and a better overall taste.
Additionally, Beli Prenatal’s formula contains TRAACS minerals that support the body’s natural removal of environmental toxins and do not lead to gastric upset or nausea.
This product can be used before, during, and after pregnancy and it is recommended for women to take 3 capsules daily
- Contains 18mg of iron chelate
- 100% vegan friendly
- Provides women with 20 essential nutrients
- Some women may need additional iron
- Each serving is 3 capsules
- Missing selenium
This berry-flavored liquid iron provides women with a generous portion of 27mg of Ferrochel iron per serving!
Rather than have to stomach down iron capsules or tablets, women can comfortably take this deliciously flavored iron at any point throughout the day.
This prenatal and postnatal liquid iron supplement is 100% vegan-friendly can is naturally flavored with organic stevia.
What’s great about this product is that you can easily control dosages according to your dietary needs for pregnancy or lactation.
There are roughly 30 servings per bottle for women who are pregnant or 90 servings for women who are lactating.
Each standard serving is 1 tablespoon and it is not recommended to exceed this dose without consulting with your medical provider first.
- 27mg of iron chelate per serving
- Delicious berry flavor
- Easy-to-take liquid form
- Must carefully measure out servings each time
- Doesn’t include vitamin C to enhance absorption
- Contains additives, such as potassium sorbate and xanthan gum
By far the most interesting liquid iron supplement we’ve seen is Hello Vitality by Best Nest!
This iron supplement is safe for the whole family to use and is available in a rich chocolate flavor.
Each serving provides 15mg of Albion® Taste-Free™ iron which is in the form of ferric glycinate and its formula is 100% vegan-friendly.
It is recommended for children and adults to use 1mL daily and each bottle contains 120 servings.
Children and parents alike will absolutely love taking their iron each day and this product can be easily mixed with drinks or meals!
- 15mg of ferric glycinate per serving
- Amazing chocolate flavor
- 120 servings per bottle
- Contains xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, and lauric arginate
- Parents should carefully monitor their children’s use of this product to avoid overdose
- Doesn’t disclose the source of chocolate flavor
Importance of Iron During Pregnancy
Did you know that the human body uses iron for nearly 200 different processes in the body?
Most of us associate iron with energy levels due to its role in red blood cell production and oxygen transport, but it also assists processes such as immune system defense, hormone synthesis, muscle metabolism, and neurological development.
While many people struggle with low iron, pregnant women are one of the most vulnerable groups of people for iron deficiency.
During pregnancy women’s bodies typically double cardiac output in order to support the red blood cell production necessary for a growing baby as well as the development of the placenta.
This major increase in blood supply is heavily dependent upon adequate iron intake, making it absolutely essential for women who are pregnant to consume enough iron each day.
Low Iron Symptoms During Pregnancy
Ever wondered if you have low iron?
Some of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency experienced during pregnancy include:
- Chronic fatigue and weakness
- Breathlessness and paleness
- Recurring headaches or dizzy spells
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Hair loss or dry skin
- Increased irritability or depression
Low Iron Levels in Pregnancy Side Effects
While most side effects of iron deficiency are typically minor, some women may experience more severe, long-lasting effects.
Women who fail to consume enough iron before and during their pregnancy may place themselves at a higher risk for the following outcomes:
- Infant or maternal death
- Premature birth or low birth weight from fetal hypoxia
- Increased infections and weakened immune system
- Neurological impairments and cognitive delays
Iron Supplements for Pregnant Women
As seen clearly above, there are endless reasons why women who are pregnant or are planning to have a child in the near future should ensure that their iron levels are adequate.
Women can naturally raise their iron levels through consuming foods with higher iron content, such as red meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, nuts, beans, and greens.
However, many women’s diets are composed of foods that contain mostly non-heme iron which is absorbed poorly by the body.
This is especially true for women who consume a plant-based diet or rarely eat meat as animal sources provide the highest amount of heme iron.
Thus, it is highly encouraged for women to supplement with iron both before and during their pregnancy to prevent iron deficiency and promote birth outcomes.
Women who are planning to become pregnant within the next year should consume at least 18mg of elemental iron per day, whereas women who are currently pregnant should aim to consume at least 27mg daily.
This amount is even higher for women with multiple gestations and it has been estimated that maternal iron demands are at least 1.8 times greater than that of standard pregnancies.
Due to this, some medical experts have recommended for women with twins to double their dose to 60mg per day throughout the second and third trimesters in order to support the substantial increases in plasma volume expansion and red blood cell production.
Gentle Iron Supplement
Although most moms-to-be realize the importance of consuming enough iron to support both their baby and their health, oftentimes the use of typical iron supplements may lead to undesired side effects.
Iron is most commonly sold in the form of ferrous salts, specifically ferrous sulfate or ferrous fumarate, due to their wide availability and lower cost for production.
Unfortunately, it has been widely reported that pregnant women often struggle with compliance with their use due to the prevalence of associated side effects including nausea, constipation, or other forms of gastrointestinal discomfort.
Due to this, more and more companies are turning to the use of iron amino-acid chelates instead.
Let’s now take a look at the leading gentle form of iron – iron bisglycinate chelate.
Ferrochel Iron Bisglycinate
Iron bisglycinate chelate is considered to be the superior form of iron as it has much greater absorption than ferrous salts and has far fewer side effects reported from its use.
Part of this is due to the fact that chelated minerals remain intact within the stomach and do not break apart until they reach the intestinal wall.
Studies have shown that Ferrochel, ferrous bisglycinate chelate produced by the company Balchem, is twice as effective as ferrous sulfate in elevating iron levels within pregnant women, even at a lower dose.
Another important feature of Ferrochel is that is neutrally charged and does not interact with other nutrients and their absorption.
This is critical as it enables iron to be combined with other nutrients in multivitamins and supplements, such as Beli for Women, allowing women to consume the full array of essential vitamins and minerals they need in one sitting without fear of malabsorption or reduced potency.
Liquid Iron Supplement
Some women may prefer to supplement with liquid iron as oftentimes leading brands will flavor their products naturally and these products are typically easier to dose than standard capsules.
As seen earlier, both Best Nest Wellness and Mary Ruth’s offer liquid iron supplements that can be used during pregnancy or throughout lactation.
Iron Supplement Reviews
Want to hear what women are saying about the leading liquid iron supplements?
Here are several honest reviews left by customers of Mary Ruth’s and Best Wellness!
Mary Ruth’s Reviews
Overall, customers who tried Prenatal & Postnatal Liquid Iron by Mary Ruth’s left an average rating of 4.4 starts out of 50 reviews.
Here’s what several women had to say…
“I have a hard time swallowing pills especially when I’m pregnant, so when I did research and for Mary Ruth’s, I was ecstatic about the liquid iron (and liquid prenatals). It has totally changed my life and I tastes amazing “
“I’ve had a very hard time finding an iron supplement that won’t upset my stomach and doesn’t have an awful taste. This supplement is perfect! I mix it in a small amount of orange juice and it masks the flavor perfectly. I’ve had no stomach issues and no yucky burps. Definitely a gamechanger for my pregnancy.”
“I wasn’t sure how I would like this since all the other iron supplements I have tried either taste horrible or leave my stomach super upset. I’m happy to say that this is the best-tasting one I have found and it doesn’t upset my stomach at all! It has a nice berry flavor which helps lessen the coppery/penny taste of iron. You do taste the iron at the end but it doesn’t linger in your mouth. Definitely would recommend this stuff!”
Best Nest Wellness Reviews
Customers rated Hello Vitality™ Liquid Iron at 4.9 starts among 68 reviews.
The following feedback was provided:
“I love these drops! I’ve suffered from numerous minor health problems due to my iron deficiency and I’ve felt so much better since I’ve started taking these. I’ve taken other iron supplements in the past, but they usually don’t digest well in my body. The drops are a total game-changer for me and the flavor of this is great!”
“Finally an iron supplement I can look forward to taking! I was so surprised to learn that it is CHOCOLATE flavored! I’ve been adding it to my protein shakes and it helps me feel less tired during certain times of the month. It also tastes goof enough alone, that even the kids are enjoying it!”
“I’ve been using this liquid iron supplement as I have had low iron this pregnancy. This does not upset my stomach. I take it with vitamin C every night and the good news is that my iron levels are within range! It tastes pretty good for an iron supplement – Even my 18-month-old son will take some!”
~Cindy Lynn S
What is the Right Dosage for Iron Supplements?
Women who are currently pregnant should use an iron supplement that contains at least 18mg of elemental iron, preferably in the form of iron chelate.
Some products may even contain as much as 27mg of iron chelate per serving to ensure that women are meeting their daily dietary requirements for pregnancy.
In most scenarios, this higher concentration is completely acceptable as most women fail to consume enough iron through diet alone.
Why Might a Lactating Woman Need to Take an Iron Supplement?
Women who are currently breastfeeding are typically advised to supplement with 9mg of elemental iron per day.
However, this amount may not be adequate for women who lost excessive blood during delivery, experienced multiple gestations, or struggled with low iron levels previously throughout their pregnancy.
This is especially true for women who underwent c-section, as women typically lose twice the amount of blood during this procedure as compared to vaginal delivery.
Women who fall under the above categories may consider supplementing with double the amount of iron that’s typically recommended, however, it’s always best to consult with your primary care physician or medical advisor prior to increasing iron intake to ensure safety.
When is the Best Time to Take Iron Supplements?
Iron supplements that contain ferric or ferrous salts are recommended to be taken 1-2 hours prior to eating since eating food alongside them may cut their overall absorption in half.
On the other hand, if you choose to use a supplement that contains ferrous bisglycinate chelate you may take your iron supplement at any point throughout the day.
How Soon After Taking Iron Supplements Will I Feel Better?
This answer depends on a variety of factors, however, women who supplement with iron daily on a consistent basis should notice improvements within their energy levels within 2-4 weeks of use.
Foods to Supplement Iron
Although iron supplementation is extremely helpful for most women, it is always best to consume adequate levels of iron primarily from your diet first and foremost.
Iron can be found in two different forms within food – heme and nonheme.
Specific foods that contain primarily heme iron include animal sources such as beef, chicken, liver, turkey, eggs, and seafood such as clams, mussels, and oysters.
On the other hand, plant-based products and fortified foods that contain mostly nonheme iron include mixed greens, kale, broccoli, nuts, seeds, beans, oats, bread, and cereal.
While it’s certainly important to consume a well-balanced diet that contains a variety of food sources, it’s important to keep in mind that nonheme iron is not absorbed as well as heme iron.
In order to improve its absorption, you can consume it alongside a vitamin C supplement or with fruits such as oranges, lemons, and cherries.
It’s absolutely essential for women who are pregnant to consume enough iron on a daily basis to support their health, assist fetal development, and optimize neonatal outcomes.
If you’re looking for a prenatal multivitamin that contains iron we suggest taking Beli for Women as it contains Ferrochel iron along with 19 other vitamins and minerals that promote red blood cell production, enhance oxygen delivery, and support fetal neurodevelopment.
On the other hand, if you would prefer to use an iron-specific supplement then the best products are Mary Ruth’s and Best Nest Wellness. Both brands offer iron in liquid form that is easy to dose and available in amazing flavors.