Iron Tablets for Pregnancy
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment
Pregnant women need more iron as much as ten times more than that they need before pregnancy. Since iron is one of the most important nutrients for both pregnant mom as well as baby and sudden increase of iron requirement cannot always be fulfilled by diet alone, most mothers consider taking iron tablets for pregnancy to ensure that they can get the required amount of iron.
In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about iron tablets for pregnancy based on scientific reviews. But before we get started with iron tablets for pregnancy, it’s important to learn the basics of iron a little bit more. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is iron?
- What does iron do in the human body?
- Why is iron vital during pregnancy?
- How much iron do pregnant women need?
- Iron tablets for pregnancy
- How to take iron tablets for pregnancy
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is iron?
Iron is a mineral that is vital for many bodily processes in the human body. But the human body doesn’t produce iron on its own. Therefore, people must get it through dietary means.
Iron is primarily classified into two forms - heme iron and nonheme iron. Heme iron found in animal derived foods and nonheme iron mostly found in plant-based foods.
Heme iron is more efficient compared to nonheme iron since it has higher bioavailability in the human body, but non-heme iron is the only source of iron for vegetarian or vegan people.
What does iron do in the human body?
Iron is the most prevalent substance in the hemoglobin molecules which are found in the red blood cells and play an important role in carrying oxygen from the lungs towards other body parts and organs.
Iron is also vital for producing energy in the body. It helps carry oxygen to the brain and muscles and is essential for both physical as well as mental performance.
Low levels of iron may cause reduced stamina, lack of energy, fatigue, difficulty concentration, and increased irritability. Besides, iron also plays important roles in several metabolic processes such as DNA synthesis, electron transport, and more.
Why is iron vital during pregnancy?
Although iron is essential for many bodily functions, the requirement increases significantly during pregnancy. Over the course of pregnancy, a mother needs to produce more blood, nearly double in total volume to support the important changes of the body and to protect herself during childbirth.
Taking iron tablets for pregnancy helps to produce more blood that can meet the increased requirement of extra blood volume during pregnancy. Besides, iron is also essential in the development of placenta and growth of the fetus.
Around half of the total iron intake of the body is used in developing placenta and fetus. And the other half is used to increase the blood volume so that the extra blood can reduce the risk of complications during delivery and the postpartum period.
Low levels of iron may increase the risk of developing anemia and also affect the development of the baby during pregnancy.
How much iron do pregnant women need?
The requirement of iron during pregnancy varies from person to person and may range from 27 mg to 45 mg per day depending on several factors such as having iron deficiency or carrying twins or triplets. Iron deficiency anemia is a common condition in most pregnant women due to the sudden increased demand of blood volume.
Iron tablets for pregnancy
Though taking plenty of iron rich foods such as lentils, spinach, dark chocolate, chicken liver, and eggs is enough, most pregnant women can’t consume enough food due to their bodies going through various changes and show several symptoms such as nausea.
Hence, most clinicians recommend iron tablets for pregnancy to ensure that the pregnant woman gets adequate amounts of iron and combat iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy.
How to take iron tablets for pregnancy
A pregnant woman should always follow her doctor’s instructions to determine when or how often she needs to take iron supplements for pregnancy. In general, most healthcare providers recommend iron tablets on an empty stomach around 30 mins to one hour before a meal.
Iron supplements work better when combined with vitamin C supplements since it increases its absorption in the body. Therefore, some clinicians recommend iron tablets alongside vitamin C supplements or orange juices.
Precautions and side effects
Iron supplements for pregnancy are described to be safe and well-tolerable in most women. Some moderate side effects may include stomach upset and constipation.
If your doctor has also suggested calcium supplements, maintain a gap of at least two hours between your iron and calcium supplements as calcium can inhibit the absorption of iron in the body.
Antacids and beverages such as coffee, milk, and tea may also interfere with the absorption of iron in the body, thus, it’s recommended to avoid these items when taking iron supplements for pregnancy.
Though iron is vital for pregnancy, not every mom needs extra iron since it’s easily available in certain foods. As always, ask your healthcare specialist before taking any iron supplements for pregnancy so that he or she can check your iron levels and determine whether you need to take iron tablets for pregnancy.
Iron is essential for pregnancy. It plays an important role in producing more blood to meet the increased demand of blood volume, developing placenta, growing fetus, and supporting fetal brain development during the course of pregnancy.
Low levels of iron may result in iron deficiency anemia which is a very common condition in pregnant women especially during the second half of the pregnancy.
Since diet alone cannot always meet the extra requirement of iron, most clinicians recommend iron tablets for pregnancy to support a healthy pregnancy and port-partum period.
While vitamin C supplements increase the absorption of iron, calcium and beverages like tea and coffee interrupt the absorbing process. Always talk to your healthcare practitioner before adding any supplements into your diet.
Here you can see our Iron Supplement Max Strength 45 mg Vegan Capsules.