What are the Signs of Low Iron in Pregnancy and Solutions. If you are pregnant, then the joys of welcoming your expectant child are often accompanied by the fear of possible complications along the way.
Fortunately the majority of the time those fears are unfounded, however, any mention of something to be aware of or to monitor by the doctor can be causes for concern. One of the most common issues faced is low iron in pregnancy (also known as anemia) with an estimated 5-19.9% of women having the condition in the US.
So if you have been diagnosed with an iron deficiency what does that mean for you?
Read our simple guide to find out.
What Causes Low Iron in Pregnancy
Low iron in pregnancy is common due to the new demands that a woman’s body has to adapt to during those 9 months. To supply a child and the placenta with the extra blood it needs, the body produces up to 50% more blood than prepregnancy levels.
The majority of this however is plasma, meaning that the amount of red blood cells found in this increase often isn’t enough for the body. Red blood cells contain the protein that interests us when talking about low iron, hemoglobin, which is what carries oxygen to the different parts of the body. As iron is a key component of hemoglobin, tracking it is the best marker of anemia in pregnancy.
What Are the Dangers and Symptoms of Low Iron in Pregnancy?
As mentioned earlier mild anemia is extremely common during pregnancy and when monitored and treated has no long-lasting effects. When someone is found to be severely lacking in iron however there can be some serious consequences. These include:
- Premature birth or low birth weight
- High risk of postpartum depression
- Increased blood loss during labor
With this in mind, it is important for women to pay attention to their iron levels during pregnancy. Fortunately, blood tests form part of the regular check-up procedure throughout pregnancy. This being said it does pay to be aware of some of the telltale signs that you may be suffering from low iron in pregnancy.
The biggest signals are:
- General weakness
- Pale skin, lips, and nails
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty concentrating
The challenge is that the vast majority of these are common pregnancy symptoms, meaning that many women may need iron but are unaware. For that reason, if you note that you are experiencing these symptoms to an extreme degree then do not hesitate to contact your local healthcare provider.
How Is Low Iron in Pregnancy Treated?
The most common form of treatment of low iron in pregnancy is through iron supplements. If recommended by your doctor just make sure that you get a high-quality supplement such as those found on citranatal.com. To get the best from your supplement take them on an empty stomach if possible, as this is when your stomach is most effective at absorbing the nutrients found in them.
The other vital aspect that you should monitor when low in iron is your diet.
Consumption of iron-rich foods such as red meat, fish, eggs, leafy greens, pulses can do wonders to improve and maintain your iron levels. To complement this, food and drink high in vitamin C can improve your body’s ability to absorb as much iron from these dishes as possible, so orange and tomato juice, as well as other fruits like strawberries, are also welcome additions to your diet.
Low Iron in Pregnancy Made Simple
As we have seen, low iron in pregnancy is not only common but also manageable. We hope that our explanation has gone some way in helping your understanding of what to do should you be informed that you or your loved one has a low iron level.
If you enjoyed this breakdown then be sure to check out the other great content we have on the most important of all subjects, your health.