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Pregnancy Topics..

You are here : home > Pregnancy > Weight Gain, Diet & Exercise > Importance of Iron Intake during Pregnancy

Importance of Iron Intake during Pregnancy

It is important to make sure that you are consuming right amount of iron as the iron requirement of your body increases when you are pregnant. Read more about it.

Pregnancy is a wonderful journey, but it can lose its charm if you lack iron in your body. Iron is a very important mineral for pregnant woman and her unborn child. A growing fetus takes a lot of you, including your iron as it needs the latter for its growth and development. Iron helps make hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells, which carries oxygen around the body. So if you do not have iron, you and your baby can suffer from oxygen starvation that can cause serious problems. So if you feel weak, tired, and exhausted, consult your doctor and check if you are not suffering with anemia or
iron deficiency.

How Much Iron Is Needed During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, you must intake almost double the amount of iron you need when you are not pregnant. The recommended iron intake of a non-pregnant woman is 18 mg of iron, so when you are pregnant, your daily intake must be 27 mg. If you cannot intake this amount daily, aim for the amount as an average over the course of a few days or a week.

Why Is Iron So Important for Pregnant Women?

  • Iron is an important component of hemoglobin that is present in blood and helps carrying oxygen from lungs to every part of the body including the placenta.
  • The amount of blood increases during pregnancy, so you need more iron to make more hemoglobin.
  • It becomes more important in the second and third trimesters when your baby starts storing iron.
  • It is an important part of myoglobin that helps supply oxygen to your and your baby’s muscles.
  • Iron is also an important part of collagen that is present in bone, cartilage, and other connective tissues of you and your baby.
  • Iron is also related to many enzymes of your body and the body of the growing fetus.
  • It helps you maintain a healthy immune system along with taking care about the same of your growing baby.
  • Iron also helps you and your baby to grow resistance from stress and disease.

What if Enough Iron Is Not Consumed During Pregnancy?

  • Iron-deficiency leads to anemia during pregnancy that leads to preterm delivery, low birth weight, reduced fetal organ growth, and also fetal or newborn death.
  • If you are anemic while delivering, you will probably need a transfusion and have other severe problems if you lose a lot of blood at delivery.
  • It can also make your body worse to fight infections and other disease.
  • Lack of iron causes headaches, tiredness, paleness, weakness, depression, and irritability.
  • Your baby will raise the risk for anemia in infancy possibly diminishing his growth and cognitive development as a result of lack of iron in your body during pregnancy.
  • If this continues, you will face lots of problems during breastfeeding, like low milk supply, plugged duct, mastitis, and delayed healing of sore nipples.

Which Food Can Provide Iron?

Aim to eat at least four to five servings of iron-rich foods each day to inject enough iron in your body for you and your developing baby.

Animal foods, like red meat, poultry, and fish, are all good sources of hem-iron and are readily absorbed in the body. However, make sure that these things are properly cooked before consuming them.

Plant foods, including green and leafy vegetables, iron-fortified cereals, oatmeal, kidney beans, legumes, lentils, whole-meal breads, blackstrap molasses, prune juice, dried apricots and raisins, etc. are all good sources of non-hem iron.

Is There a Need for Taking Iron Supplement?

Discuss with your doctor your regular diet and your health and on basis of that, iron supplements will be prescribed to you apart from your prenatal vitamins. Most supplements provide 30-60 mg/day and this is needed mostly if you are anemic. You must be careful because too much of iron supplements can cause constipation, nausea, diarrhea, tummy upsets, etc.

Other Facts of Iron You Must Remember

  • For an extra-boost, try cooking on iron vessels
  • Pair your food with Vitamin C, e.g. orange juice, broccoli, melon, strawberries, cabbages, etc., which ultimately helps your body use iron.
  • Avoid drinking tea and coffee with meals as they interfere with iron absorption.

To make sure that iron requirement is met completely during pregnancy, most of the gynecologists prescribe iron supplements. Many women are asked to continue taking iron supplements even after their delivery. Make sure that you take iron supplements as prescribed by your gynecologist regularly without fail to make sure that right amount of it is supplied to your baby.

Why is it necessary to take iron supplements during pregnancy? Which complications can be caused due to iron deficiency during pregnancy? Which iron-rich foods should be consumed by pregnant woman? Discuss here.

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Nidhi.4 years ago
I am healthy women and have healthy i still need to increase my iron intake or take iron supplements during pregnancy?
Jigna.4 years ago
Not only iron but also folic acid and calcium supplements are important during pregnancy.
Alafia.4 years ago
I am taking my iron supplement regularly and also i am eating iron rich food. I hope that too much of iron intake does not cause any problems.
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