Iron is a mineral that makes up an important part of hemoglobin, the substance in blood that carries oxygen throughout the body. Iron also carries oxygen in muscles, helping them function properly. In addition, iron helps increase your resistance to stress and disease.
The body absorbs iron more efficiently during pregnancy. Therefore it is important to consume more iron while you are pregnant to ensure that you and your baby are getting enough oxygen. Iron will also help you avoid symptoms of tiredness, weakness and irritability and depression.
Following a balanced diet and including foods high in iron can help ensure that you are consuming enough iron throughout your pregnancy. In addition, the following guidelines will help:
Talk to your health care provider about an iron supplement. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that all pregnant women following a balanced diet take an iron supplement providing 30 mg of iron during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Your doctor might increase this dose if you become anemic. Iron deficiency anemia is a condition in which the size and number or red blood cells are reduced. This condition might result from inadequate intake of iron or from blood loss.
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