Do All Pregnant Women Need Iron Supplements?

Iron supplements are especially important for pregnant women with anemia. In women with normal erythrocytes, iron supplementation is an unnecessary preventive measure. Pregnant women may have received enough iron in their daily diets.
Iron is an essential mineral for a healthy body, found in many proteins and enzymes. Most of the iron in the body is in hemoglobin, hemoglobin. Hemoglobin transports oxygen to all tissues and organs in the body. Without enough iron, the amount of hemoglobin in the blood decreases, leading to a decrease in oxygen supply to cells and organs.
Low hemoglobin levels are considered anemia

In the early and late months of pregnancy, hemoglobin levels> 11g / dl are normal.


Do All Pregnant Women Need Iron Supplements?

From the 3rd to 6th months of pregnancy, the hemoglobin concentration drops slightly to 10.5 g / dl.
If the hemoglobin level is below the normal range, blood iron levels should be measured. This test can help determine whether low hemoglobin levels are caused by iron deficiency. Because the body can store a certain amount of iron, other blood indices are also quantified to assess the total amount of iron stored in the body. If the amount of iron reserves is depleted but the hemoglobin level is normal, then it is known as hidden iron deficiency or non-anemia.
There are several blood tests for women during pregnancy
One of these is to measure iron levels, so iron deficiency anemia can be detected early and treated with iron supplements.


Do All Pregnant Women Need Iron Supplements?


Foods that contain a lot of iron
Normally, our body is provided with iron from daily food sources. Meat contains a lot of iron, from hemoglobin in the animal's body. Especially liver contains high iron content.
The body has difficulty absorbing plant-derived iron. But many plants are also good sources of iron. These include cereals, for example whole grain flour (breakfast cereals) and legumes such as lentils and legumes. Green leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, and herbs like parsley and sprouts also contain a good amount of iron in them.
Figure 1.


Do All Pregnant Women Need Iron Supplements?

Foods high in iron
Iron supplements can be used sources of synthetic iron. These drugs are available without a prescription and come in pill or dropper form.
Iron deficiency in pregnancy cause what?
Iron deficiency anemia can make pregnant women tired and exhausted. Severe anemia can lead to complications during pregnancy. These include weakening the mother's immune system and potentially leading to infections. And also increases the risk of low birth weight for the fetus.
Severe anemia is rare during pregnancy in healthy pregnant women on a balanced diet. But anemia can cause serious health problems for women on an unbalanced diet.


Do All Pregnant Women Need Iron Supplements?


When should we supplement iron?
Many pregnant women take iron supplements because they think their body needs more iron during pregnancy. Pregnant women with normal red blood cell levels are also advised to take iron supplements to prevent anemia. Although, mild anemia does not affect the fetus.
Only when severe and prolonged anemia is the problem. If diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, they are often prescribed iron supplements at high doses.
According to German health authorities, pregnant and lactating women need 20-30 mg of iron daily. In particular, it is difficult for vegetarians to reach the amount of iron needed in their individual diet. But iron deficiency problems will be detected in standard blood tests.


Do All Pregnant Women Need Iron Supplements?


Is iron supplementation for women with normal red blood cell levels beneficial?
More than 60 studies on iron supplementation in pregnant women. A total of more than 30,000 women participated. Results showed that if women had normal blood values, supplementing with 30 mg of iron / day as an preventative measure did not have any significant health benefits to pregnant women and their unborn children. Although iron supplements have been used to reduce the risk of anemia, they do not affect the number of premature births or infections in pregnant women.
Advantages and disadvantages based on dosage
The results varied somewhat in studies, in which women took 60 mg of iron / day. Babies born are rarely low in weight (less than 2,500 grams):
No iron supplements: If mothers use a fake iron drug instead of iron, about 5 out of every 100 babies are born with a low birth weight.
Iron supplementation: If mothers take 60 mg of iron a day, about 4 out of every 100 babies are born with a low birth weight.
In other words: high-dose iron supplements help prevent weight loss in 1 in 100 children.


Do All Pregnant Women Need Iron Supplements?

One of the studies also showed that women taking high-dose iron supplements were less likely to need a blood transfusion.
However, high iron intake is also clearly associated with a higher risk of side effects.
Side effects and doses
When it comes to iron intake, the key is to find the right balance. It is not only too little iron that can cause problems but too much iron is also unhealthy. Although our body can store a certain amount of iron, the iron supplements are good.

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