May 9, 2012

Iron and Pregnancy

Last week, I was at the doctor to get some routine pregnancy labs done and low and behold, results revealed I'm slightly anemic (low blood iron in my case). It surprised me because I generally eat a healthy, balanced diet. But after some thought, I realized I really could benefit from eating more iron-rich foods.

Here's pregnant me, needing more iron (thanks instagram!).


Anemia during pregnancy is fairly common and usually can be prevented by eating a healthy diet and taking a pregnancy multivitamin. Pregnant woman need about 27mg of iron per day, and most pregnancy multivitamins contain more than 100% of our daily needs. But some of us (ahem, me apparently) need a bit more help. Maybe it's a second baby thing? I dunno.

Iron is a pretty important mineral; one of it's main duties is to help transport oxygen to our cells. How nice of iron to help us out like that. The demand for it during pregnancy increases as our blood volume increases. Interestingly, babies are born with about 4 to 6 months supply of iron. This is a really cool example of how our bodies support the baby first - even at our expense! Thanks.... no really, thanks. A deficiency can result in symptoms like dizziness, lack of energy and a decrease in the immune system.....so basically everything I've been experiencing this month!

Of course, iron deficiency anemia can affect anyone (not just us prego ladies) so it's always a good idea to include iron-rich foods in your diet which include lean beef, dark meat turkey, top sirloin, fortified cereals, lentils, beans, spinach, tofu and more. For a complete list, click here.

The only way to truly know if you're iron deficient is through a blood test ordered by your doctor. Many people take iron supplements just because they suspect they're deficient, but this is not a good idea because too much iron can be toxic. For most people, eating a well balanced diet that includes foods high in iron will help prevent deficiencies and promote a healthy body - no pricey supplements needed.  


Here's my supplement in the dose my doc recommended. There are a variety of dose choices, so be sure to consult your MD before taking a supplement.

2 comments:

  1. You look fantastic! I'm 30 weeks and starting to feel HUGE. I was anemic in my 2nd pregnancy, too-- just in the 3rd trimester. My midwife prescribed iron in drink form, from the health food store... it's called Floradix I think.

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    1. Thanks Mollie! Don't worry - I'm feeling huge too. Now I'm actually 28 weeks now and feel like I'm carrying a watermelon. I totally have a waddle too!

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