Iron Supplement Pregnancy

Iron Supplement Pregnancy

Iron is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in the growth and development of the fetus during pregnancy. Unfortunately, many pregnant women do not get enough iron from their diet alone. As a result, iron supplements are a necessary part of prenatal care and a common recommendation from healthcare providers. During pregnancy iron supplements can support the increased blood volume and iron needs of both the mother and growing baby.  Iron is important for the formation of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body’s tissues.

Iron Deficiency In Pregnancy

Iron deficiency during pregnancy is a common concern as the body needs more iron to support the growth and development of the baby. Without enough iron, the body cannot produce enough healthy red blood cells, leading to iron deficiency anemia.  The symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include fatigue, weakness, pallor, and shortness of breath.  

Pregnant women with iron deficiency anemia are at increased risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and even postpartum depression. Regular prenatal care and iron supplements can help to prevent these risks and ensure proper fetal development. If you are pregnant, it is important to be aware of your iron status and take steps to prevent or treat iron deficiency anemia. One of the first steps to ensure adequate iron intake is through your diet. A diet full of iron-rich foods such as red meat, poultry, fish, leafy greens, and fortified cereals can help you meet your recommended iron levels.

Iron In Pregnancy

Expecting mothers need more iron than non-pregnant women to support their increased blood volume and to provide enough oxygen to the growing baby.

When you are trying to increase your iron levels through food, you need to know about the different kinds of iron. Heme and non-heme iron are two types of iron found in food sources. Heme iron, which is found in animal-based foods such as red meat, poultry and fish, is more easily absorbed by your body compared to non-heme iron.  Plant-based foods such as beans, lentils, and leafy greens are non-heme iron sources.

If your iron levels do not increase through diet alone, your healthcare provider may prescribe iron supplements. You can also ask about heme iron supplements which absorb easily with fewer side effects. Your doctor will take into account your health history, diet and other factors to determine the best way to increase your iron levels for a healthy pregnancy.

How Much Iron Per Day When Pregnant

According to Health Canada,  the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)  for iron during pregnancy is 27 mg per day. This is an increase from the non-pregnant recommended daily intake of 18 milligrams.  You can meet this requirement through a combination of diet and supplementation.

A balanced diet that includes a variety of iron-rich foods is one of the most recommended ways to meet your iron needs.  However, for some people, it may be difficult to get enough iron from diet alone, especially if they are vegetarians or vegans. Discuss your iron needs during pregnancy with your healthcare practitioner so that your intake stays on track.

Maximum Iron Per Day Pregnancy

According to Health Canada, the maximum recommended daily intake of iron for pregnant women in Canada is 45 milligrams per day.  In most cases, if you are pregnant then you can get the recommended amount of iron from a balanced diet. Consult with your doctor to make sure you are getting the appropriate amount of iron as it is essential for a healthy pregnancy.

Additionally, you need to be aware that some prenatal vitamins contain iron. If your doctor recommends iron supplements, it is recommended you check the labels to make sure your are not exceeding the recommended daily intake of iron.


UT Southwestern Medical Center: Why women should ‘pump iron’ supplements during pregnancy

My Health Alberta: Iron Deficiency Anemia During Pregnancy: Care Instructions

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre: Iron deficiency & supplementation in pregnancy

Grow by WebMD: Are You Getting Enough Iron?

What to Expect: How Much Iron Do You Need During Pregnancy?

Health Canada: Prenatal Nutritional Guidelines for Health Professionals

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