Minerals especially iron, is a very important component for pregnant women. During pregnancy, your body produces almost 50 percent more blood than usual to accommodate the needs of your growing baby and your placenta.
Hemoglobin content in blood is very vital as it is the protein that carries oxygen in the red blood cells. With more blood supply, there is more need for hemoglobin, and hence iron becomes crucial to make more of the protein. This is the reason you are prescribed additional supplements of iron in the form of medications along with folic acid right after conception.
Your body will keep demanding more hemoglobin as your baby grows, calling for the possibility of anemia or iron deficiency in case you do not meet the required amounts. This may also make you feel weaker and fragile. This demands an absolute requirement to supplement your diet with iron rich food sources throughout pregnancy period.
Hemoglobin Level During Pregnancy:
Usually, the iron requireme
- Along with the prescribed 30 mg of iron in your prenatal supplements, you are supposed to ensure that there is an ongoing supply of iron to your body.
- Your doctor will prescribe the required supplements of folic acid along with iron when you are pregnant.
- It is also important to take enough vitamin C along with these supplements as it helps in easy and better absorption of iron into your body.
[ Read: Folic Acid During Pregnancy ]
Anemia During Pregnancy:
Deficiency of iron and folic acid leads to anemia – a condition most pregnant women face.
- This condition is mostly because of inadequate supply of folate, B12 and iron to your body.
- You will be constantly monitored for your iron levels throughout the pregnancy with blood tests.
[ Read: Anemia During Pregnancy ]
Anemia And Its Effects On You And Your Unborn Baby:
Usually, an anemic mother will significantly impact her child, who will be born anemic too. The nutrients that you take are the nutrients that your baby have.
- Anemia is said to increase the risk of low birth weight in your baby.
- Apart from childbirth, anemia also impacts your delivery.
- Iron deficiency can lead to preterm birth and postpartum depression in mother. So it is not something to overrule during pregnancy.
Diagnosis Of Anemia During Pregnancy:
Your doctor will test for anemia in the early stages of prenatal appointments where the percentage of red blood cells is measured in your plasma.
There are two kinds of blood tests performed to rule out anemia:
- Hematocrit – A test that measures the count of red blood cells in your plasma.
- Hemoglobin – A test that measures the hemoglobin count in pregnancy.
These tests will once again be performed at the later stages of second trimester and the early onset of third trimester to check how you are faring with iron levels in your body.
Signs And Symptoms Of Anemia During Pregnancy:
Anemia can affect your regular activities. Making note of the possible signs will help you flag the same with your doctor to get the treatment started.
Below are some important signs and symptoms of anemia:
- Pale fingernails, underside of eyelids and lips
- Rapid heartbeat
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble in concentrating
Some of the above symptoms may be present in all cases of pregnancy, but it is vital to rule out the possibility of anemia rather than speculate.
[ Read: Breathing Problem During Pregnancy ]
Treatment For Anemia Or Iron Deficiency During Pregnancy:
It is common for your iron levels to keep falling during the second and third trimesters due to the increased blood flow. Your doctor will change the dosage as required. However, if you are severely anemic than usual, your doctor will put you on treatment for anemia.
Your doctor will change the doses of iron to the following in case of anemia:
- 60 – 120 mg or daily elemental iron in case of severe anemia.
- Supplements containing ferrous sulphate (iron salt) of 325 mg, which gives 60 mg of elemental iron.
- Supplements containing ferrous gluconate of 300 mg, which gives about 34 mg of elemental iron.
- Supplements containing ferrous fumarate of 325 mg which gives about 106 mg of elemental iron.
Important: The above doses are generic information. Do NOT take any iron supplements without prescription or prior consent from your doctor. An individual dose largely depends on the severity of anemia present.