Written by Pradeep
When you plan to have a baby and consult your doctor about it, he will more often prescribe prenatal multivitamins and iron tablets. Ever been curious about the importance of iron when trying to conceive? Find out what causes low iron during pregnancy and ways to overcome it.
When the body does not receive its requisite amount of iron, a condition called anemia develops wherein there is an insufficient number of red blood cells in the bloodstream. Thus, the cells, tissues, and body organs do not receive the required amount of oxygen and nutrients. This will adversely affect the pregnancy as well.
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Despite having the condition of low iron in your body, if conception does take place successfully, the growing fetus does not receive its requisite amount of blood supply. The dividing fetus cells do not receive their due nourishment, do not divide further and the fetus stops growing, causing premature termination of pregnancy, termed as miscarriage.
It is quite common to have a mild form of anemia when you are pregnant. Prenatal multivitamins and iron supplements typically stabilize the condition. In fact, blood loss during pregnancy can lead to anemia. However, if you have a severe form of anemia when pregnant and it goes untreated, it could lead to unwarranted complications and pregnancy risks.
Three common types of anemia during pregnancy are:
This kind of anemia develops when the body doesn’t have iron to produce an adequate amount of hemoglobin, a blood protein, that aids in transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. This is the most common form of anemia during pregnancy.
This type of anemia occurs when there is an insufficient amount of folate, a B vitamin in your body. And since folate deficiency can result in fewer red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body, such a form of anemia can result in birth defects such as spina bifida and low birth weight.
This kind of anemia occurs in women whose diet does not include meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy products. This form of anemia during pregnancy could also result in neural tube abnormalities as well as possible preterm labor.
The best prevention that one can think of is the proper intake of iron before, during, and after pregnancy. Adding well-balanced meals and foods rich in iron to your diet is essential. Generous servings of meat, poultry, and fish for those that consume non-vegetarian foods. Likewise, green, leafy vegetables, iron-fortified cereals and grains, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, and eggs for vegetarian food lovers are recommended.
A crucial point to remember is not to only load up on iron-rich foods or supplements. Synergistic nutrients such as Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C work in perfect tandem with iron supplements and help improve iron absorption and utilization in the human body. Hence Vitamin C-rich citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, strawberries, kiwis, tomatoes, and veggies such as bell peppers should be incorporated into your diet.
A balanced diet, healthy lifestyle, and adequate exercise as equally important when trying to conceive and even after conception.