Nutritional Needs During Pregnancy

Daily Iron Intake During Pregnancy Linked To Birth Weight Of Child

mom and child, iron supplement

Most of you might have observed immediately after you conceive, the first medicine prescribed to you will be iron supplements during pregnancy, since Iron intake plays a crucial role in a pregnant women’s journey of gestation period.

Iron, not only has importance for pregnant women, but also plays a major role in people having low haemoglobin. But it’s more pronounced in pregnant women, because that is the time where a woman must have good levels of blood with proper haemoglobin levels. Pregnancy and nutrition go hand in hand.

First of all, you might be curious as to know, how it helps the development of haemoglobin level. Hemoglobin  is made of haem and a protein called globin, in which haem means iron. Hence, iron is very important for its synthesis.

Hemoglobin helps to carry oxygen to all parts of the body and so, low haemoglobin levels hinders oxygen supply and makes the person anemic. Therefore, it’s important to maintain the levels of haemoglobin. There might be many causes for anemia, among which iron deficiency is the most common one.

When it comes to iron for pregnant women, iron deficiency was found to be the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide which means iron intake during pregnancy should be enhanced. An estimated 32 million pregnant women globally, are affected by this condition. Young women, pregnant women and children are at the most risk of iron deficiency.

By keeping all this in mind, researchers wanted to find out the effects of prenatal iron use and the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.

mom and child, iron supplement

According to WHO recommendation, every pregnant woman should take at-least 60 mg of iron daily. In this study, researchers observed the effects of iron in doses up to 66 mg.

British and American researchers looked at over 90 different studies of prenatal iron use and prenatal anaemia involving more than two million women.

They found that iron supplements intake, significantly lowered the risk of developing anemia, and increased the mother’s haemoglobin levels.

Earlier, it was also said that iron deficiency may increase the risk of premature birth. However, very few studies have looked at the effect of iron levels during pregnancy on birth outcomes.

Researchers did not find any evidence of reduction in risk of preterm birth as a result of iron use. However, meta-analysis of cohort studies indicated a higher risk of preterm birth with first or second trimester anaemia and with lower mean haemoglobin concentration.

The investigators found that for every 10 mg increase in daily iron intake:

  • Reduced risk of anaemia by 12%
  • Reduced risk of giving birth to a low-weight baby by 3%

Therefore, pregnant women who take iron supplements and foods that are rich in iron every day, have a lower risk of giving birth to a low-weight baby, according to the study published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal).

The authors said

“Our findings suggest that use of iron in women during pregnancy may be used as a preventive strategy to improve maternal hematological status and birth weight, rigorous evaluation of the effectiveness of existing antenatal care programmes in high burden countries to identify gaps in policy and programme implementation.”

They concluded that “prenatal anaemia and iron deficiency have been identified as one of the preventable risk factors for disease with a substantial disease burden.”

It is said that iron when taken with micro nutrients like folic acid, are still beneficial for the hematological balance and fetal growth. It is very useful in the first two to three trimesters.

I hope you have got good quality information. Share this piece of information with any of your family and friends who conceived.

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