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Low Iron in Pregnancy: Causes, Signs and More


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Anaemia during pregnancy is caused by a lack of iron, an essential nutrient, and the condition is very common among expectant women. A woman’s blood volume increases by 20 to 30 per cent during pregnancy, and she requires a higher amount of iron than normal. 

Iron is difficult for the body to absorb, so the woman must take a supplement to make up for the decrease in iron levels in blood. While many pregnant women mistake lethargy, nausea, weakness etc. as symptoms asspciated with normal pregnancy, they can be a sign of low iron.

It’s also important to consider the amount of iron you’re getting from your diet. Animal-based products such as meat and milk contain heme, the type of iron the body absorbs best. 

Prenatal vitamins are also great sources of iron. In addition to food sources of iron, you can take a vitamin C supplement to enhance the absorption of iron. If you take an iron supplement, make sure to take it on an empty stomach.

Pregnant women need two to three times more iron on an average  than non-pregnant women. Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to the tissues and can lead to anaemia during pregnancy. 

Severe anaemia can result in a high risk of maternal death during childbirth. Severe anaemia increases the risk of haemorrhage and circulatory shock. The infant born to a woman with low iron during pregnancy is also at increased risk of a deficiency of iron.

A complete blood count will indicate whether or not a woman has low iron during pregnancy. It will also help determine whether or not she is anaemic. If her haemoglobin level is low, her doctor may order other tests to determine the type of anaemia and then further design a treatment plan.

In this article, we are going to discuss the causes, signs and treatments for low iron in pregnancy

What Is Iron Deficiency during Pregnancy and What Causes It?

Many pregnant women suffer from anaemia during their pregnancy. The body needs more iron and other vitamins during pregnancy. Haemoglobin carries oxygen throughout the body, so there is a huge need for extra iron during this time. 

Yet, many pregnant women do not get enough iron in their diets, which leads to anaemia. Here are some tips to help you get enough iron during pregnancy. Your diet should contain plenty of iron-rich foods.

To prevent anaemia, a pregnant woman should consume a prenatal vitamin daily. She should start taking this vitamin before pregnancy and take it as directed. However, some prenatal vitamins may not provide enough iron. 

It is best to check with your healthcare provider to get the right one for your specific needs. However, even if you do have adequate iron intake, a pregnant woman can suffer from mild anaemia during pregnancy. Since the volume of blood is increased, some women may experience a mild case of anaemia.

Taking an iron supplement during pregnancy is important for pregnant women with anaemia. It will help your body absorb more iron and prevent anaemia. It can also help you gain back some of the iron you lost after delivery. 

Iron deficiency during pregnancy can affect fetal and maternal health. It can cause haemorrhaging and a higher heart rate. It may cause the mother to faint or have difficulty breathing. The risk of preeclampsia is increased in pregnant women with anaemia. 

Anaemia is an abnormally low level of iron in the blood. While this is normal for pregnant women, severe anaemia can affect your unborn baby. Anaemia during pregnancy is a serious condition and should be treated with iron supplements to protect your health and the health of your unborn child. 

The best way to diagnose anaemia during pregnancy is through a complete blood count. This is a common procedure that your doctor will perform during your first prenatal visit. A complete blood count will determine the number of red blood cells in your body and also the vitamin B12 and vitamin B9 levels. 

What Are The Signs Of Low Iron In Pregnancy?

Anaemia is a common problem in pregnancy. It affects the baby’s developing immune system and nervous system. The symptoms of anaemia during pregnancy can be subtle, but if you notice one or more of these signs, you should see a doctor. 

The first symptom of anaemia during pregnancy is persistent fatigue, which is often mistaken for normal pregnancy fatigue. If your fatigue is persistent or lasts for more than three weeks, see your doctor for a blood test.

A pregnant woman should incorporate more iron-rich foods into her diet, including meat, fish, and buckwheat. However, she should avoid foods that are high in calcium and magnesium salts, as these contribute to the disease progression. 

It is also a good idea to include a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as meat, milk, and dairy products. Regardless of the cause of the problem, it is important to consult a doctor as soon as possible. The common symptoms of low iron in pregnancy are as follows. 

  • Low energy
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Feeling out of breath 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin paleness, especially in the nail beds

What Are The Complications Due to Low Iron Levels In Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, the haemoglobin levels of the mother and the fetus naturally reduce due to physiologic changes. True anaemia during pregnancy is rare, but the effects of anaemia can be devastating to both the mother and fetus. 

A severe case of anaemia can lead to premature delivery, low birth weight, or fetal death. There are several symptoms that should be reported immediately to a physician.

In pregnant women, anaemia can lead to several complications. A pregnant woman with severe anaemia has a higher risk of preterm delivery or low birth weight, and the mother may also experience a high risk of anaemia during labour and delivery. Here are some common problems associated with low iron levels in pregnancy.

  • Low birth weight
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Premature labour
  • Anaemia in the newborn
  • Breathing issues in the baby 

Treatment and Management of Anemia during Pregnancy

Do you wonder about low iron in pregnancy and what to eat to overcome it? Iron-rich foods such as fortified cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, red meat, and peanuts are beneficial for treating anaemia during pregnancy. In severe cases, a doctor may prescribe iron supplements or vitamins, such as folic acid. 

The average pregnant woman should take at least 27 milligrams of iron per day. Treatment of anaemia during pregnancy usually involves iron supplements and dietary changes.

Anaemia during pregnancy is not uncommon, but the condition can be serious if left untreated. Not only can anaemia affect a woman’s baby, but it also puts her at increased risk for preterm delivery and low birth weight. 

Being anaemic during pregnancy also makes it difficult to fight off infections, making it crucial to be tested by a doctor as soon as possible. The doctors will conduct a blood test to determine the severity of anaemia.

It measures the amount of iron in the blood and whether the body has sufficient levels of vitamin B12. If vitamin B12 is low, the risk of neural tube defects in the baby is increased. A doctor will perform other blood tests to identify the type of anaemia.

If iron replacement is not adequate, an obstetric review may be necessary. Iron deficiency during pregnancy may require intravenous iron or oral medication. Although the doses are comparable, the absorption of iron from oral medications limits their efficacy. 

While intermittent iron supplementation has fewer gastrointestinal side effects, it’s still an effective treatment for pregnant women. The timing of the supplements is more flexible and less expensive, and it also reduces the risk of mucosal absorption blockage and excessive pooling of intestinal iron. 


  • What Factors Cause Anemia?

While the cause of anaemia is not entirely understood, it’s generally believed that it’s caused by a deficiency in iron. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anaemia. When the iron level is too low, the body can’t absorb it.

  • How to Treat Anemia in Pregnancy?

Proper nutrition is necessary for preventing anaemia during pregnancy. Eating a balanced diet is also crucial for pregnant women since it helps maintain iron and other nutrients in the body. Some foods that are high in iron are liver and dark meat. The most common treatment for anaemia during pregnancy is iron supplementation. 

  • What Are Normal Iron Levels In Pregnancy?

A haemoglobin level less than 110 g/L is considered anaemia. Ferritin saturation of more than 30 ng/mL is considered an indicator of ID. When the levels of these factors fall below normal, it can lead to low iron in pregnancy


Most women suffer from low iron levels in pregnancy. This condition is known as anaemia. It can cause a pregnant woman to be fatigued and sick. However, certain lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of developing anaemia during pregnancy. You need to eat foods that are rich in iron and take supplements if you are anaemic. It will help you to level the amount of iron in your blood and avoid complications when delivering the baby.

Somapika Dutta (B.Sc Physiology, Honours)
Somapikar holds Bachelors Degree in Physiology from University of Culcutta. She has 6+ years of experience writing in different niches, including health, tech and lifestyle. An animal enthusiast and a raging foodie, experiencing life - one day at a time.


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