Pregnancy is a cherished episode of a woman’s life. She needs extra care during this phase. With the advances in modern medicine it has become clear that she needs to eat right rather than eat more. It has been a misconception since a very long time that a pregnant lady needs to eat for 2 people, for herself and the baby. One must know that the baby while in his mothers womb gets all his nutrition from the mother. This nutrition goes to the unborn baby through the nutrients in the blood which pass across the placental barrier of the mother. While a lot of would be mothers know about a balanced diet and its importance during pregnancy, they might not know enough about the balanced diet itself. Peoples knowledge of a balanced diet can be limited to taking in adequate quantities of carbohydrates, fats, proteins etc. They might not know enough about the importance of minerals and vitamins in a diet. Minerals and vitamins also play a very important role in normal body functioning. Iron is one such important mineral. Intake of iron is in a big way responsible for normal functioning of the human body. Iron is responsible for the synthesis of the protein hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin helps bind with oxygen in the red blood cells (RBC). This oxygen is then carried to the cells in the body. Myoglobin carries oxygen to the muscles.
Why is iron needed during pregnancy? During pregnancy the amount of blood volume within the pregnant lady’s body increases by more than almost 50 percent. This additional volume of blood then needs additional oxygen. This need for additional oxygen can be fulfilled by taking in additional iron during pregnancy. This iron is required for normal brain development of the unborn child as well. Children born to mothers who have taken in adequate amount of iron throughout their pregnancy have shown cognitive skills which are superior to their counterparts. Iron intake during pregnancy also saves a child from Anemia (iron deficiency) during his initial years. Besides this, iron deficiency during pregnancy may lead to preterm labor, still birth or low birth weight.
Anemia or iron deficiency makes the mother feel lethargic and tired all the time. Sometimes she may even feel breathless and may look pale and drained out. A pregnant lady can take iron supplements after consulting her doctor and can take an iron- rich diet as well.