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How to Increase Iron Levels During Pregnancy.
Iron has many uses and benefits your body in many ways.
Especially while pregnant, high iron levels are needed in order to properly transfer oxygen throughout the body and boost the effectiveness of the immune system.
You can increase your iron levels by choosing iron-rich foods and taking supplements or medications.
Boosting Iron Levels with Dietary Sources
Choose iron-rich fruits.
Fruits are an important part of any healthy diet.
They are also a great way to increase your iron levels.
Get 2-4 servings of fruit every day to help maintain your iron levels.
The following are fruits high in iron:
- Dried apricots
- Persimmons, raw
- Mulberries, raw
Select vegetables high in iron.
Vegetables help form the cornerstone of a healthy diet.
Many are high in iron and also have many important nutrients, such as folic acid, for you and your baby.
Eat 4 or more servings of iron-rich vegetables every day to increase your levels and minimize the risk of anemia.
The following vegetables are high in iron:
- Sweet potatoes
- Beet greens
- Dandelion greens
Incorporate breads and cereals into your meals.
One source of energy for pregnant women is cereals, grains, and breads.
Getting 6-11 servings of breads and grains can boost your iron levels and energy.
Choose breads and grains that are fortified with iron, including:
- Enriched white bread, pasta, or rice
- Whole wheat bread or pasta
- Oat and/or bran cereals
- Rye bread
- Corn meal
- Brown rice
Get iron from meat products.
The iron in fruits, vegetables, and grains is an excellent way to increase your iron levels.
However, they are not as readily absorbed as the iron in meat.
Have 2-3 servings of animal protein every day to increase your iron levels.
The following are excellent sources of iron from animal products:
- Lean beef such as chuck roast
Consume beans, legumes and other iron-rich foods.
Outside of the five food groups, there are other choices that can increase your iron levels.
Foods such as beans, legumes, and even molasses, when purchased and eaten in a honey-like consistency, can help you maintain or boost iron levels while getting some variety in your diet.
Eat any of the following foods to raise your iron levels while pregnant
- Beans such as kidney, lima, black, and Navy
- Peanut butter
- Sesame seeds
Getting Iron from Non-Dietary Sources
Take prenatal vitamins.
Even if you are incorporating iron-rich foods into your diet, your body may still need additional iron to prevent sinking levels and anemia.
Taking a pre-natal vitamin can supplement your healthy diet and increase your iron levels during pregnancy.
Recognize that prenatal vitamins have more iron than standard adult vitamins.
They also aid in the growth and development of your baby.
Ask your health care provider to suggest a prenatal vitamin that may be best for your needs.
At a minimum, the doctor will likely suggest a prenatal vitamin with iron, folic acid, calcium, iron, and vitamin D
Make sure to drink plenty of fluids and getting enough fiber in your diet if you are taking prenatal vitamins.
Following dosing instruction on the label or those from your doctor.
This can minimize your risk of side effects including upset stomach, headache, or unpleasant taste in your mouth.
Use iron supplements.
Depending on the circumstances of your pregnancy, your doctor may suggest and prescribe a higher dose of iron for you.
Iron supplements, in addition to prenatal vitamins and dietary choices, can maintain or increase your iron levels through pregnancy.
Take an iron supplement that has between 30 and 50 mg iron.
Your doctor may prescribe more if your iron stores are especially low, especially starting in the second trimester.
Be aware that iron supplements can cause digestive unrest.
Take the pill at a different time of the day until you figure out what works best for you and make sure to take it with a lot of water each time.
Your doctor may also suggest an optimal time for your iron supplement.
Talk to you doctor if you get constipated from the iron or notice a change in the appearance and/or smell of your stool.
Follow dosing instructions on the label or those your doctor provide.
Too much iron can lead to serious health problems include liver and heart disease.
Iron takes a while to start making changes in the body.
Start taking supplements early on in order to get good results.
Take cod liver oil daily
Each day, consume a spoonful of cod liver oil.
This is a natural iron and contains other ingredients necessary for healthy pregnancy, such as Vitamin A and Vitamin D3.
Additionally, cod liver oil is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which have many health benefits, including brain development, hormonal regulation, and many more.
You can also take cod liver oil in capsule form.
Consulting Medical Professionals
Recognize the symptoms of low iron levels.
Getting enough iron through diet and supplements can help boost your levels and promote the health of you and your baby.
As a regular part of your check up routine, your obstetrician will assess your iron levels at your appointments during pregnancy.
However, if you suspect at some point that your iron levels are low, see your doctor as soon as possible.
The following are symptoms of low iron levels and/or anemia during pregnancy:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of energy
Consult your doctor about increasing your iron.
If you suspect your iron levels are low, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
A medical professional can diagnose low iron levels and suggest the best treatment for you.
Let your doctor know about any symptoms of low iron levels you’ve experienced.
Make sure to tell your doctor what foods you eat and supplements you take.
Schedule follow up visits to recheck your iron levels, as it can take weeks to months to restore them.
Keep in mind that your iron levels may have been low prior to pregnancy as a result of poor diet or heavy periods.
If this is the case, the doctor may prescribe you B12 shots to boost your iron level.
Work with a registered dietician.
Pregnant women have special dietary needs, especially if they have low iron levels.
Working together with a registered dietician can help you get the best sources of iron to boost levels and promote your and your baby’s health.
A dietician can also suggest different meals that are high in iron so that you don’t get bored.
Give your dietician an idea of a typical day’s meal.
You should also let the dietician know how you’ve been trying to boost your iron levels.
These can help guide the dietitian’s suggestions to increase your iron levels.