Iron medications for pregnant women are often recommended by doctors during pregnancy, as this is the period when the body needs more blood to feed the fetus. However, the information about the duration of iron tablets as well as the side effects of the drug for pregnant women is not well known.
During pregnancy, if you don’t get enough iron daily, you will easily get tired, the risk of infection increases. Iron deficiency anemia in the first trimester of pregnancy doubles the risk of preterm birth and triples the risk of low birth weight.
Why are iron supplements important for pregnant women?
During pregnancy, the maternal iron demand is much higher because it must be provided to the fetus, doubling compared to normal. Therefore, pregnant women are very vulnerable to iron deficiency anemia.
Iron is the constituent of hemoglobin, which plays a major role in the transport of oxygen to the maternal body and fetus. During pregnancy, the mother’s blood volume increases by 50% compared to normal, so pregnant women need more iron.
In the first months of pregnancy, iron deficiency can cause miscarriage or stillbirth. In the later stages, iron deficiency can lead to the phenomenon of premature birth, fetal malnutrition. Anemia-deficient mother due to iron deficiency during childbirth may experience postpartum hemorrhage, which is life-threatening.
When to supplement iron?
Iron from 3 months before pregnancy women planning to have a baby should have iron supplements, then need to supplement throughout pregnancy and 1 month after birth as directed by the doctor.
For iron absorption is good to eat when hungry or with juice, foods containing vitamin C helps iron absorption better. Do not drink iron with tea or coffee because it will reduce iron absorption. Organic iron III should have many advantages over iron sulfate and ferrous fumarate.
Iron supplements cause constipation, belching, indigestion … Therefore, when taking iron, you need to add fiber from fruits, vegetables, cereals to avoid constipation.
Iron should not be taken with calcium because iron is difficult to absorb and calcium interferes with this process.
Pregnant women should get iron from their daily diet such as eating lots of iron-rich foods: Liver, heart, egg yolks, red meats, legumes, beans, greens, pumpkins, grapes …
Iron supplements for pregnant women properly
For women during pregnancy, the demand for iron is greatly increased because iron is responsible for hematopoiesis and is involved in the process of cell proliferation. Iron is involved in cell division, creating new cells, especially, within the first 10-16 days of conception, fetal nerve cells are mass-produced by iron and acid. Folic, so if not enough iron this time will be a great risk for both mother and child, the child is unlikely to have great intelligence later.
Iron plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells and constitutes the immune system enzyme, which enhances the body’s resistance. Iron deficiency can cause anemia or fatigue in normal people, but for pregnant women, iron deficiency can also seriously affect the development of the fetus.
In the absence of iron, the oxygen transport to the mother and fetus will be seriously affected. During pregnancy, the mother’s blood volume increased by 50% compared to normal, so she elected to need more iron to enhance the health and developmental needs of the fetus.
For mothers, an iron deficiency will increase the risk of premature birth, postpartum infection, postpartum hemorrhage, physical weakness … And for the fetus, anemia, iron deficiency is a risk factor for failure. Fetal nutrition, preterm, low weight, affecting the physical and mental development of the child later.
According to research data, about 40-50% of pregnant women suffer from iron deficiency (varies by region). In the National Institute of Nutrition alone, 36.8% of pregnant women in Vietnam were anemic and 75% of anemia was caused by iron deficiency.
Facing these problems, many pregnant women could not help but worry: “How should pregnant women get iron supplements?”, “What kind of iron should I take ?”
How much iron does pregnant mom need every day?
Before becoming pregnant, a woman’s body needs 15mg of iron a day. This is a small number of micronutrients and many people often do not meet the recommended iron intake for the body.
When pregnant, the amount of iron needed for the body will double, about 30mg / day. If not enough, pregnant women will have anemia, affecting the health of the fetus.
According to the World Health Organization’s recommendation, women who are pregnant for the first time should take iron tablets every day, taking them until one month after giving birth. The additional dose is 60mg of iron with folic acid 400mcg per day. It also should use iron-fortified foods, folic acid for pregnant women.
For pregnant women who are diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, they will be prescribed an additional 50-100 mg/day by a doctor. Even in many cases, pregnant women with severe iron deficiency will need to be treated in the hospital for 2 to 3 months by intravenous infusion to ensure the necessary blood flow at a stable level.
Supplement iron through diet, increase iron-rich foods
Food is always the safest and most abundant source of iron supplements for pregnant women. Iron is found in everyday foods such as red meats, heart, liver, poultry, fish, clams, oysters, egg yolks, legumes, cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, pumpkin, and dried fruits. In particular, the iron of animal origin better absorbed than iron of plant origin. The body absorbs 10-15% of iron from animals but only absorbs 5-10% of the iron in plants. Thus, if you want enough iron, you must eat an amount of iron 10 times the recommended amount (because the body only absorbs an average of 10%), eat iron soluble form in both animals and plants, along with eating enough protein, do not eat too much food rich in phosphor.
In addition to iron supplements, for better blood formation, pregnant women need to supplement: – Folate and its synthetic folic acid form, which can be found in fruits and juices, bananas, various types of Dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, and fortified bread, cereals and pasta.
-Vitamin B-12. This vitamin is found naturally in meat and dairy products. It also added some cereals and soy products like soy milk.
However, for many different reasons (loss of iron through food processing, busy work …), pregnant women cannot “get” enough iron from food in their daily meals. On the other hand, pregnant women have a high demand for iron (30mg per day), while the diet usually only provides about 10mg. Therefore, to ensure daily iron needs, iron supplements are necessary.
What kind of iron should pregnant women drink?
Many people wonder when using iron pills because they do not know which iron pills are best for pregnant women today.
Iron supplements for pregnant women are usually available in two forms: inorganic iron (Iron sulfate) and organic iron (Iron fumarate and iron gluconate). In these two forms, organic iron has the advantage over inorganic iron is more easily absorbed and causes less constipation.
It is possible to use simple iron-containing tablets manufactured in the form of valence 2 such as iron gluconate, iron succinate, iron fumarate, iron oxalate …
On the market today, iron tablets are prepared in two forms: water iron and iron tablets. Water iron has the advantage of being easily absorbed, less constipating, less hot but difficult to drink and nausea. Iron has the advantage of being easy to drink, not causing nausea but less absorbed than water iron and causing more heat.
What do pregnant women need to note when adding iron table
When adding iron tablets, pregnant women need to know that iron is a difficult nutrient to absorb, so for the body to increase iron absorption. You should take iron tablets on an empty stomach and take with vitamin C rich water. like orange juice, lemonade … Take iron after eating 1-2 hours to get the best absorption of iron.
Do not give iron to pregnant women at the same time as milk, calcium supplements, or calcium-rich foods because calcium interferes with iron absorption. Therefore, the time to take pure calcium and iron must be far apart.
Besides, when taking iron supplements, mothers need to drink plenty of water and eat high-fiber foods to prevent constipation. In particular, pregnant women should remember to only take the drug with cooled boiled water, avoid using tea or coffee because it will reduce the absorption of iron.
Taking iron supplements can help ensure you get enough iron every day. However, this should consult a specialist. Pregnant women absolutely should not arbitrarily buy iron supplements without the doctor’s permission.
When taking the drug should follow the instructions of the physician, avoid supplementing with iron overdose for a long time can cause the risk of cirrhosis, cardiomyopathy, diabetes. Non-iron-deficiency anemia (hemolytic anemia, lead-anemia, anemia due to Thalassémie disease, myelosuppression …) should not use iron-containing drugs.
Can you absorb too much iron?
The absorption of iron more than the body needs is entirely possible. You should not tolerate more than 45 mg of iron/day. If your body tolerates too much iron (from food, iron supplements, or multivitamins with prenatal iron supplements). It will cause the level of iron in the blood to rise too high, which can cause problems for your body. you and your child.
Excessive iron intake may increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes or oxidative stress. An imbalance in the body is thought to contribute to infertility, pre-eclampsia, miscarriage, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Therefore, you should only take iron during pregnancy under the guidance of a specialist.