Dietary Iron Intake During Pregnancy - Everything You Need To Know About


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Pregnancy calls for a series of prominent changes in a woman’s body. These changes are made to accommodate your growing baby’s needs. Now that a new life is emerging inside you, you will require extra food and nutrition along with added care to ensure that both you and your baby are healthy and fit.

Of all the extra nutrients that you now will need during your pregnancy period, iron becomes one of the most important for many reasons. You will find your gynecologist prescribing a good amount of iron intake along with other medicines at this stage.

While you wonder about the significance of iron, we decode the information for you, starting from the basics, the importance of iron tablets during pregnancy, how its deficiency could be harmful, some natural foods that are packed with iron and some points to note while taking iron supplements.

Importance of Iron For The Human Body:

Consumption of iron rich food during pregnancy is very essential. Even if you’re not pregnant, yo

ur body requires iron for several reasons. For starters, iron is responsible for the formation of hemoglobin- a protein present in red blood cells that carries oxygen to other cells of the body.

Secondly, iron is a crucial component of myoglobin, a protein that supplies oxygen to the muscles, and collagen, which helps build bone, cartilage and other connective tissues. Iron is also necessary for the production of many important enzymes and helps in strengthening your immune system.

Importance of Intake of Iron Tablets During Pregnancy:

Increased iron intake becomes a priority to your baby in pregnancy because of the following:

1. Production of Extra Hemoglobin:

During pregnancy, your body works towards producing almost 50% more blood than it usually does, which is why you need extra hemoglobin and therefore extra iron.

2. Pre-existing Iron Deficiency:

Many women already have a deficiency of iron in their bodies before they become pregnant. Hence they may need extra iron during the pregnancy.

3. Increased Requirement in Baby’s Growth:

As the baby grows, the requirement for iron increases, especially during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

4. Fight complications during pregnancy:

Iron deficiency, anemia is linked to many pregnancy complications such as preterm delivery, low birth weight, infant mortality, etc.
In general, non-pregnant women need around 18 mg of iron a day, while a pregnant woman may need as much as 27 mg.

The risk of iron deficiency while pregnant:

Iron deficiency is dangerous at any point of time, and particularly when you are deficient during pregnancy. Inadequate amount of iron leads you to become anemic, which may in turn lead to dangerous effects on you and the baby during pregnancy.
Some of the effects of iron deficiency

1. Risk of Preterm Birth and Fetal Death:

Anemia during pregnancy is linked to an increased risk of preterm birth and low birth weight in babies. It has also sometimes been linked to newborn or fetal death, particularly in cases of mothers affected by anaemia during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

2. Decreased Immune System:

Iron deficiency is known to sap your energy and make your immune system weaker, thereby reducing your body’s ability to fight against infections. Also, if you lose a lot of blood during childbirth while being anemic, you may need a blood transfusion to cope.

Food Sources of Iron:

If you’re not deficient in iron, you need not take supplements throughout your pregnancy period. Just a few diet modifications will help you get the required amount of iron.

Here we have listed down some good iron rich foods during pregnancy

1. Red Meat:

Red meat is one of the best natural sources of iron. Pork, beef, lamb meat and liver are excellent when it comes to helping you get your required amount of iron. However, make sure you focus on other veggie sources of iron too.