Iron Deficiency and Pregnant Women Essay

Iron deficiency in pregnant women can lead to several serious fetal conditions that impact the fetus’s growth, birth, and after birth phases. A regular check of the iron level in the blood is, therefore, a must during pregnancy. Iron deficiency in the blood can inhibit proper oxygen carriage and distribution to different organs in the body, including the fetus. With the low oxygen content, the fetus might have developmental issues right from day one.

Maintaining the right level of iron in the blood is important not only for the mother but also for the fetus’s health and growth. Most often, mothers suffer from an iron shortage in the body, which means that the mother might have had normal iron content in the blood before pregnancy. But, with the fetus setting in, the mother needs to have more iron to create more blood in the body. The iron shortage is not exactly anemia, as it is a condition of perennially low iron content in the mother’s body even when not pregnant. However, the mother needs to fulfill the required iron content of the growing fetus and would require to generate more blood in the process of pregnancy.

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Evaluating iron deficiency-related risk factors during pregnancy, iron deficiency symptoms, and suggesting ways following which iron deficiency can be prevented or prohibited are important to understand.

Adequate iron in the pregnant mother’s blood just simply does not help in the effective transport of oxygen to various parts of the body, but it also has several other functions, which are as follows:

In mothers, it keeps up an optimum energy level throughout the day.

It also helps in increased blood production in the mother and the baby.

The baby’s mental growth is largely dependent on the adequate concentration of iron in the blood.

An adequate amount of iron in the blood also strengthens the body’s immune system preventing recurring infections from impacting the health of the mother and the child.

It increases cognition abilities and helps in the mental focus and concentration of the baby.

The risk factors that lead to iron deficiency in mothers are quite varied as follows:

When the mother is pregnant with more than one baby.

Increased sensitivity and morning sickness in the mother causes iron deficiency.

When two or more pregnancies are closely spaced.

When the mother does not consume enough iron-fortified food.

If the mother had a heavy menstrual flow before pregnancy.

If the mother has a family history of anemia.

If the mother has a history of small bowel surgery or a gastric bypass it could be the reason for low iron content in the blood.

Symptoms of iron deficiency
Iron deficiency is never asymptomatic in a pregnant mother and often comes with symptoms ranging from mild to moderate, even severe in some women.

Weakness is often mild but may be severe in many cases, more pronounced during the early morning hours.

Fatigue can set in anytime and is especially pronounced in working mothers.

Yellowing of the skin is another prominent symptom of iron deficiency.

Irregular heartbeats, when felt by the mother, are quite pronounced in certain pregnancies.

Shortness of breath or dyspnea in pregnancies can disturb normal life. In some conditions, even medical intervention is required in some cases.

Chest pain in severe conditions and dizziness are also difficult to tackle in pregnancies.

Headache, cold hands, and feet are again more common in pregnant women with iron deficiency.

Prevention and treatment of iron deficiency in pregnancy
Iron deficiency is curable. A good iron-fortified diet and also iron supplements can help increase the iron content of the blood. Even vitamin supplements for pregnant women contain some amount of iron.

Food sources that can prevent iron deficiency include lean red meat, poultry products, fish, iron-fortified cereals in breakfast, dried beans, apple, guava, pomegranate juices, peas, and dried beans can also prevent iron deficiency. The iron content of animal products is generally well absorbed by the body. Additionally, a woman must pair them with a high dose of Vitamin C by consuming more and more amounts of tomato juice, orange juice, and strawberries. Treatment also includes avoiding calcium when replenishing the body’s iron content since increased calcium absorption decreases the iron absorption rate.

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