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Iron Deficiency & Anemia in Pregnancy

Iron Deficiency & Anemia in Pregnancy


        During pregnancy, the amount of blood in a woman’s body increases by almost 50%. As the volume of blood increases, so does the need for iron.  Iron is needed to form the red

blood cells, which move oxygen from the lung to the rest of the body.

         Symptoms of low iron or anemia are feeling faint, dizzy, light-headed, fatigued or weak.  You may also appear pale, feel cold, have headaches, shortness of breath, or heart


         Anemia is diagnosed by checking the hemoglobin and hematocrit levels.  Hematocrit is a measurement of the amount of the blood is made up of hemoglobin.  These levels are

checked at the beginning or pregnancy and again in the third trimester.

         If you are diagnosed with anemia, you may need to take a separate supplement of iron every day.  Sometimes these iron supplements can cause constipation so it is important to

drink plenty of fluid and eat foods high in fiber.  Iron can be absorbed better when taken with vitamin C.  You should take supplements on an empty stomach with a glass of water or

orange juice for the best absorption.  Since calcium decreased your ability to absorb iron, you should avoid having milk or other dairy products at the same time as your iron.

        Sometimes, just increasing the amount of iron in your diet may be enough to prevent or treat very mild anemia


Sources of Iron in Foods


Lean red meats: beef, pork, lamb

Egg yolks

Greens: collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach & turnip greens

Veggies: broccoli, asparagus, parsley, artichokes & brussel spouts

Dried fruit: raisins, prunes & apricots


Turkey or chicken giblets

Mollusks: clams, scallops, & oysters

Beans, lentils, chick peas, & soybeans

Iron fortified cereals & breads, rice or pasta