Developing iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy can lead to a number of severe complications for both the baby and the mother. There is an increased risk of low birth weight for the baby and a chance of premature delivery. Low iron in pregnancy symptoms leads to reduced muscle function, making physical exertion difficult for pregnant women. There are consequences after birth as well, including increased tiredness and a reduction in milk production.
Low Iron in Pregnancy Symptoms
Low iron reduces the body’s ability to effectively transport oxygen due to reduced red blood cell production. This is of particular concern to pregnant women, whose blood supply can increase up to 50 percent during pregnancy. There are a variety of symptoms that can indicate low iron. Increased tiredness is one of the most common low iron in pregnancy symptoms. Further symptoms can include breathlessness and dizziness.
As trying as these symptoms may be during pregnancy, there are more severe iron deficiency symptoms in some cases. Heart palpitations can occur, leading to further complications and distress. Chest pains are another symptom that is cause for serious concern. Iron deficiency can be verified using a blood test that checks hemoglobin levels.
Risk Factors for Iron Deficiency During Pregnancy
Several risk factors can increase a pregnant woman’s chance of developing iron deficiency. Those who have suffered from low iron before pregnancy are at increased risk of developing a more serious deficiency. There are several blood conditions that can contribute to iron deficiency.
Furthermore, gastrointestinal conditions can reduce iron absorption, meaning that the body cannot absorb dietary iron. Risk is also increased in women carrying twins or triplets, women under 20 years of age, and those who have given birth within the previous year.
Low Iron Treatment During Pregnancy
Prescribed treatments vary by the term of the pregnancy. If a woman is past 36 weeks, there is significant concern that many treatments will not take effect before the birth. In this case, a doctor will often prescribe an intravenous iron infusion directly into the bloodstream. The patient is monitored for at least half an hour after the procedure.
For women at less than 36 weeks of pregnancy, there are more options. In some cases, it can be appropriate to treat iron deficiency through dietary changes. If a woman’s diet is indeed too low in iron, simply increasing the amount of iron-rich food can help.
Iron supplement tablets are also commonly used. These tablets contain iron in the form of an iron salt, typically ferrous sulfate. This directly increases the amount of iron the patient is consuming. The side effects of iron supplements can include nausea, bloating, and constipation. Alternative iron supplements can contain other salts such as ferrous fumarate or iron bisglycinate. While these alternatives are presented as causing fewer side effects, there is still the chance of developing stomach cramps, loss of appetite, and more severe reactions.
Instead of a direct iron supplement, pregnant women can benefit from an all-natural supplement that increases iron absorption. This allows the body to use more of the dietary iron already being taken in. Those suffering from low iron in pregnancy symptoms can benefit from using IronCatch, an all-natural supplement containing fish oligosaccharides, vitamins, and minerals. While a doctor should be consulted about iron deficiency during pregnancy, IronCatch can provide increased iron absorption without the side effects of other iron supplements.