Why is Iron Important During Pregnancy

Pregnancy has its own special needs. This is true in terms of a diet too. There are specific dietary recommendations during pregnancy. A balanced diet is important during pregnancy. The diet must have adequate foods that are rich in carbohydrates and in proteins. That is not all, one also needs to take in some important minerals and vitamins. Some of these important vitamins and minerals are folate or folic acid, iodine, iron and even DHA. In case you are wondering as to why is iron important during pregnancy, here is the answer. Iron is responsible for the production of an important protein in the human body. This protein is called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is responsible for binding with oxygen and carrying it to the cells in the body. Another protein myglobin is required to carry oxygen to the muscles.

Iron is also required for this protein called myoglobin. Iron is helpful in preventing anemia in the newborns in their initial years, if the mother has taken in adequate quantities during pregnancy. Children of mothers who have been careful with their intake of iron while being pregnant have shown better cognitive skills as compared to others. In fact even during pregnancy iron is important for preventing pre term deliveries, to prevent miscarriage and low birth weight babies. During pregnancy the amount of blood in the body increases by more than 50%. Therefore the need for the oxygen carrying protein called hemoglobin also increases. As a result of this more iron is required during pregnancy. These are answers to the question as to why iron is required during pregnancy. Now let us see from where can this requirement of iron be fulfilled.

Some foods that are rich in iron and must be included in the diet of a pregnant woman are as follows. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, meat products, poultry and fish. Jaggery , dates, grains, fortified cereals are also rich in iron. Some foods reduce and limit the absorption of iron. It is important that foods like those rich in Vitamin C or fish, meat and poultry be taken along with such foods. These are called enhancers. Some foods that limit iron absorption do so because of the presence of oxalates or calcium in them .Some examples are spinach and soy foods or dairy products. Milk is known to have a chelating effect that affects iron absorption in the body.