Ways To Manage Iron Deficiency Anaemia Before, During, & After Pregnancy

Mar 1, 2022, 16:33 IST


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When trying to conceive, doctors may recommend iron supplements and folic acid, as well as during pregnancy and after delivery. Experts believe that a lack of iron in the body leads to various health issues, especially during pregnancy. They caution that there is a higher risk of premature birth due to iron deficiency during pregnancy. "Whether you're trying to get pregnant, expecting, or in the postpartum period, your iron level will be monitored by your doctor, especially if you're at risk of developing anaemia due to iron deficiency," explains Dr. Manisha Ranjan, Senior consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida, adding that anaemia develops when the body is unable to manufacture enough healthy red blood cells. “It can also happen if these blood cells aren't working properly," says Dr. Ranjan, who shares the signs and symptoms of iron deficiency as well as preventative actions.

When your iron levels are low, you may experience fatigue, cold hands and feet, dizziness, weakness, chest pain, and brittle nails, to name a few signs and symptoms. Pale skin, an irregular heartbeat, headaches, a low body temperature, or a combination of these symptoms are all possible causes of anaemia.

You may experience one or more of these symptoms if your body does not produce enough haemoglobin to deliver oxygen to all parts of your body.

The main cause of anaemia is lack of iron in the diet. This can happen if you don't get enough iron through your diet or supplements, if you lose blood, or if you have an illness like Celiac disease or Crohn's disease that makes it difficult for your body to absorb iron from food. More critically, more women than men are affected by this condition, with the incidence highest in women of reproductive age or pregnant women.

Iron is required for appropriate development and growth throughout pregnancy, especially in the second half. Iron deficiency anaemia arises during pregnancy for two reasons: first, the blood volume swells significantly, diluting iron levels; and second, women who have iron deficiency anaemia prior to pregnancy tend to become more deficient, necessitating more monitoring by their doctor.


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Importance Of Iron During Pregnancy
It's crucial to get adequate iron through meals or supplements while pregnant. Not only does your body require more blood to provide the placenta with all of the nutrients it needs to grow, but it also requires iron to assist you and your baby avoid health problems.

How To Manage Iron Deficiency Anemia Before Pregnancy?
If anaemia is discovered prior to conception, it is critical to determine the kind of anaemia. In reproductive-age women who are not pregnant, heavy monthly flow can induce iron deficiency anaemia. Diet and oral iron supplements are used to treat anaemia before and throughout pregnancy, just as they are during pregnancy. Women who are experiencing severe menstrual bleeding should speak to their doctors about treatment options.


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How To Manage Iron Deficiency Anemia During Pregnancy?
The majority of doctors check for anaemia at the start of pregnancy and again in the second and third trimesters. While many doctors recommend that patients consume a diet rich in plant-based iron sources such green leafy vegetables, legumes, seeds, and quinoa, iron from these sources is not as well absorbed as iron from animal sources like meat, poultry, and fish.

It's best to combine iron-rich diets with vitamin-c-rich foods like citrus fruits to help with absorption. If you have iron deficiency anaemia during the second trimester, your doctor will most likely prescribe an iron supplement. In this case, oral iron should be consumed every other day on an empty stomach with an acidic juice such as orange or grapefruit.

If the anaemia increases or does not improve during the third-trimester screening, many doctors will consider IV iron treatment. It's crucial to note that while iron deficiency is the most prevalent cause of anaemia in pregnancy, there are other factors that should be investigated in cases when oral supplementation fails and before commencing IV iron to ensure you're getting the right treatment.

Iron Deficiency Anemia In The Postpartum Period
Many women will see an improvement in symptoms related to iron deficiency anaemia after childbirth and over the first few weeks and months of the postpartum period. After childbirth, women may still have iron deficiency anaemia. Inadequate iron intake during pregnancy and blood loss during birth are the most common causes. Anaemia after childbirth can increase worry, stress, and depression symptoms. It can also have a negative impact on the mother-infant connection.

New moms should be examined after giving birth because the risks persist in the postpartum period, especially if they had experienced a lot of blood loss during delivery or had anaemia during pregnancy. Severe anaemia upon delivery may necessitate IV iron or a blood transfusion.

Eating a balanced diet and taking supplements prescribed by your doctor are often required to do what's best for your health and the health of your kid. If you're at risk for iron deficiency anaemia, your doctor will walk you through all of the steps you'll need to take to treat the disease during pregnancy and beyond.

Also Read: Iron Deficiency & Anaemia Can Affect Fertility. Learn How