During pregnancy, it is often seen that woman suffer from iron deficiency. This leads to high-risk factors and symptoms that can cause serious disorders during pregnancy. Let us read about the various ways of detecting and preventing iron deficiency during pregnancy.
What causes iron deficiency during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen to the tissues. Being pregnant you naturally require double the amount of iron for yourself and your baby as compared to nonpregnant women. The body needs more blood to supply enough oxygen to your baby. Therefore, if there is a shortage of stored iron then the woman can develop anemia.
What harm can iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy cause to the baby?
Deficiency of iron or anemia during pregnancy can be severe. If you have anemia which has not been checked or cured during pregnancy, there is an increased chance of premature birth. Children are often seen to have low body weight with postpartum depression. In some acute cases, it has been seen that there is immediate death of the infant at birth.
What are the risk factors of anemia in pregnancy?
The factors that cause anemia during pregnancy are:
- If you are pregnant in quick succession without much gap
- You are pregnant with more than one baby
- The morning sickness or vomiting increases
- You’re not taking enough iron supplements
- You have pre-pregnancy heavy menstrual flow
- Already have a history of anemia before you became pregnant
What are the symptoms of iron deficiency in pregnancy?
The most common symptoms of anemia or iron deficiency include
- A pale or yellowish skin
- Irregular heartbeats
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling dizzy or light on the head
- Occasional or frequent chest pains
- Hands and feet remaining cold
- Continuous headaches
Symptoms of anemia are quite similar to that of general pregnancy. It is a good idea to get a screening done to make sure that you are not suffering from iron deficiency. If you are, take help from your doctor.
How to prevent iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy?
Most prenatal vitamins contain iron. They help prevent and treat the deficiency of anemia. The doctor often recommends vitamin b12 for iron deficiency during pregnancy. Your nutritionist will prescribe an iron-rich diet that will include lean red meat, poultry and fish. A breakfast that includes cereal, prune juice, dates, dries beans and apples also help in replenishing iron in the body.
Iron is best absorbed in the body from animal products. To enable iron absorption in the body it is important to complement it with plant supplements. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption. If you have your iron supplement or tablet with vitamin C or a glass of orange juice, your body can absorb the iron faster. Strawberries and tomato juice are also equally effective. Calcium is another essential nutrient that is required during pregnancy. A decrease in calcium will lead to low iron absorption in the body.
How to treat iron-deficiency anemia during pregnancy?
Most prenatal vitamins contain a good amount of iron prescribed by physicians all over the world during pregnancy. In some cases, you might have to consult a doctor or a hematologist, as people having a history in gastric diseases or those with bowel surgery might not be able to tolerate the oral iron dose. In such a situation they would need intravenous administration to replenish the lost iron in their body.
Iron is an important component for both you and your baby. If you detect any of the symptoms mentioned above, then do not hesitate to consult a physician and get a thorough screening done. Remember your baby’s health depends upon you. If you stay healthy so does your baby.