Pregnant women can quickly restore their iron levels by taking iron supplements or significantly changing their diet to include more iron-rich foods. An iron-rich diet that includes green leafy vegetables like spinach, poultry and poultry products, beans, iron-fortified bread, and pasta aids quick iron absorption. However, plant iron is not as readily absorbed as in meat. When eating iron-rich plants, add vitamin C, like melon, kiwi, bell peppers, and tomatoes. You could develop iron deficiency anemia if you don’t have enough iron stores while pregnant.
The body uses iron to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen to your body’s organs and tissues and transports carbon dioxide from your organs and tissues back to your lungs.
During pregnancy, the blood level in your body increases, and so does the amount of iron your body needs. Your body uses iron to make more blood to provide oxygen to your growing baby.
Hence, iron deficiency is a common problem among pregnant mothers. But there are multiple ways to increase iron levels during pregnancy.
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Why should you increase your iron levels during pregnancy?
The lack of iron in your diet will leave you exhausted, lower your infection resistance, and lead to cardiovascular stress and other serious complications.
Inadequate iron intake enhances dietary iron absorption, mobilizes the body’s iron stores, reduces iron stores in the bone marrow, and eventually lowers your hemoglobin level, leading to anemia.
As your pregnancy advances, your doctor will check your iron stores and blood count at around 26 weeks for iron deficiency anemia.
Iron deficiency during pregnancy can cause your baby to be born too early or too small, so keeping up its levels is necessary.
How can you quickly increase your iron levels while pregnant?
Below are some of the ways that you can use to improve your iron levels and stay healthy during your pregnancy:
1. Take prenatal vitamins
Almost half of all pregnant women do not get enough iron in their diet, so doctors recommend you start taking daily prenatal vitamins.
These contain about 16-20 milligrams of iron. So as soon as you test positive for pregnancy, you should start taking them as your doctor advises and continue throughout your pregnancy, id recommended.
2. Eat meat (for non-vegetarians)
Meat sources such as pork, chicken, beef, and fish all contain heme iron which is a special well-absorbed form of iron.
3. Eat iron-rich meat alternatives
If you are more of a vegetarian, lentils, beans, and other grains with added iron are good alternatives to non-heme iron, which is not as well absorbed.
Pregnant vegetarians need to eat these foods with other foods rich in vitamin C, like a tomato or an orange.
You are also advised to try and fill more than a quarter of your plate with one of these iron-rich foods at lunch or dinner.
4. Eat an iron-rich breakfast
Add spinach to your hot breakfast, or eat cereal with added iron.
For example, eggs and spinach with a bowl of berries, toast, or hot oatmeal with added iron will do perfectly.
Also, make a point of eating iron-rich snacks like hummus and vegetables or with crackers.
5. Include iron-rich foods at lunch and dinner
Ensure your plate is packed with a rich iron source, e.g., a piece of salmon, at lunch and dinner. This video will give you more information about having a healthy, balanced plate during pregnancy.
Signs of low iron intake during pregnancy
It is possible to be iron deficient and have no signs or symptoms.
Many pregnancy symptoms are similar to those of lack of iron, so some women will not know they’re suffering from low iron intake.
If you suspect you are suffering from low iron levels, you need blood work to confirm a diagnosis.
Some signs of iron deficiency during pregnancy include:
- Skin paleness, especially in the nail beds and inner eyelids
- Shortness of breath
- Low energy
Possible complications due to low iron levels during pregnancy
Having low iron levels can make a pregnant woman feel rundown and exhausted.
This exhaustion may make it harder to prepare healthy meals, exercise, and make other healthy decisions that improve pregnancy outcomes.
This iron deficiency may also intensify after giving birth, and as a result, doubling the fatigue and other complications in the postpartum period, including:
- Intrauterine growth restrictions. (restricting the baby’s growth)
- Anemia in the newborn
- Low birth weight
- Premature labor
- Respiratory problems in the baby at birth.
What fruit is highest in iron?
Mulberries, olives, and prune juice are the three best iron-restoring fruits with the highest iron concentration per portion.
These fruits also contain antioxidants and a variety of other nutritional benefits to the health of mother and child.
Are eggs rich in iron?
Fortunately, yes. Eggs continue to grow in popularity.
They are rich in iron and a great source of protein and other essential vitamins.
They’re a well-known breakfast figure, but eggs are a great addition to ounces, dinner, and snacks.
What are the side effects of iron supplement tablets during pregnancy
If your blood test shows you’re low on iron, your doctor or midwife will give you iron supplements.
These supplements can cause side effects like stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea. And your poo may be black.
Do babies get iron in the womb?
Yes, babies get iron in the womb and are born with a reserve of iron from their mother’s blood.
Breastfed babies will get all they need from their mother’s milk for the first six months.
Iron deficiency, especially in early and mid-term pregnancies, has been linked to greater risks to the mother and child’s health.
If you think you are at risk of low iron deficiency during your pregnancy, talk to your doctor, as you can be tested at your first clinic visit.
You may also want to read these posts below to learn more about how to care for yourself properly and that of your soon-to-be little one before and after your delivery.
- Is It Safe To Eat Hot Dogs While Pregnant?
- Are Cooked Bean Sprouts Safe During Pregnancy?
- Is Sea Moss Safe to Consume During Pregnancy?
- Is Rhubarb Safe During Pregnancy?