Iron is an essential mineral that you and your baby need during pregnancy. You need to have enough of it for the proper development of your baby.
Why do we need to have enough iron in the body?
Your body needs iron to have an adequate supply of oxygen in the body. Cell metabolism is enormously affected with enough oxygen carried all over the parts of the body. It also supports a healthy immune system as well as aid in the prevention of infection. Brain development is also made possible when there is enough iron in the blood. This also enhances cognition, concentration, as well as the mental performance of both the mother and the child.
An adequate amount of iron in the body is also said to be a significant factor in the development of the social behavior of children. Insufficient amount of iron in the body will make one feel weak. The pregnant woman will eventually become anemic or someone who does not have enough essential red cell hemoglobin.
If a pregnant woman does not have an adequate level of iron in the body, she will often feel fatigued. This also makes her susceptible to infections, as well as of having postnatal depression. Studies have also shown, that an insufficient intake of iron during pregnancy may also result in a poor emotional bonding between mother and the newborn baby. It may also cause difficulty in breastfeeding.
The mother loses much blood during pregnancy and if the mother is already anemic prior to child delivery, she might have a difficult time coping with anemia. This also triggers a very challenging and exhausting child delivery for both the mother and the baby. Low iron levels may also trigger early childbirth.
Health practitioners impress that it is during the last ten weeks of pregnancy that the pregnant mom and the baby need enough iron in the blood. It is during this phase of pregnancy that the baby is starting to build its own iron storehouse. The stored iron is used up by the newborn baby until it is quite ready to take in solid foods.
Monitoring the iron level in the pregnant mom
Your primary health provider may require you to have a blood test to determine the hemoglobin
(Hb) level in your body. He/she may also check the ferritin level in your body. This test determines the amount of iron that is stored in your body.
How much iron does a pregnant woman need?
Expecting mothers need 27mg iron every day. Non-pregnant women need about 18 mg of iron every day, however. Take note, also, that the daily allowable consumption for pregnant women should not be more than 45 mg iron each day.
If consumption of this essential mineral exceeds the allowable daily limit on a regular basis, toxicity symptoms will be likely to be manifested. When this happens, an iron overdose may occur and may be accompanied by “nausea, diarrhea, black stools, vomiting blood, a metallic taste in your mouth, stomach pain, fever, and headache.” These symptoms normally (but not always) manifest an hour after taking more than the required amount of iron supplements.
More serious cases of iron overdose may be characterized by the following include dizziness, drowsiness, fast or weak pulse, as well as a low blood pressure.
Natural sources of iron
Iron from natural sources is classified as iron haem iron (iron from animal foods) and non-haem (iron from plant foods). The best sources of iron are meat. Red meat from a kangaroo, lamb, and beef, have higher iron content. Colored fish also has higher iron content.
There are plants and plant-based food that are also rich sources of iron, such as whole grain, iron-fortified bread, as well as cereal foods, legumes, green leafy vegetables, as well as nut and dried fruits. High in vitamin C foods such as tomato, lemon, lime, capsicum, and so on, will help the body use iron content from plant foods.
Pregnancy and Iron Supplements
A pregnant woman uses up more iron during pregnancy as the baby depends from her for nourishment. Also, during the later phase of pregnancy, the baby, who is now ready to store iron in its body, will be needing from her mom. That’s the reason why a pregnant woman should always have an adequate supply of iron in the blood. This is one way of ensuring that not only her health but also the baby’s health is taken care of properly.
In cases where the expectant mother requires more iron than the usual daily requirement, such as if she has an aversion to food that are primary sources of iron, or if she has an underlying health condition, supplementation is crucial.
Fortunately, there is a wide variety of iron-fortified health supplements available in the market today. Still, the pregnant woman should always consider her primary health provider’s recommendation for whatever iron supplement that she intends to take. This will also ensure that she gets to take the best iron supplement for pregnancy.
A regular monthly prenatal check is vital for both the baby and the expectant mother. It is highly recommended that the pregnant mother should always notify her doctor of any unusual effects that might be observed after consumption of a particular food supplement. Even though these food supplements are intended to fill any nutritional gap during pregnancy, the various formulations may not all be beneficial to the pregnant woman.
Like any other synthetic drugs, as well as alternative medication that the pregnant woman may want to include in her prenatal health maintenance, any variety of food supplement in the market should always be taken with absolute consideration. Always check for reviews and second opinion with regards to taking such a food supplement. You should also be sensitive to any changes that you may experience after consecutive use of the supplement. Proper monitoring is recommended.
You and your baby’s health is always at stake during pregnancy. It is a smart move to always be critical of every option presented to you. If you take care of yourself during pregnancy, you may have a lifetime to enjoy a healthy baby, as well as a stronger body after childbirth.