A pregnant woman needs roughly about two times the intake of iron as they would previously do, when they are trying to conceive. This is related to the amount of iron the female body uses to produce extra blood for a fetus developing in her womb.
Classic iron-rich food include:
- Instant oatmeal
- Kidney beans
Iron in the human body
The human body uses iron to produce extra blood, which contains the hemoglobin essential to transport oxygen through the bloodstream. For a pregnant woman, it also plays a crucial role in transporting oxygen and producing blood for the fetus developing in her.
An interesting fact is that adequate levels of iron in the blood can be useful in preventing or limiting symptoms of anemia. This condition is a result of fewer red blood cells, which causes a person to be tired, and is the cause behind other potential health complications. A pregnant woman suffering from untreated anemia can be at an increased risk of delivering a baby too early or delivering a baby with a low birth weight.
Types Of Iron derived from Food
There are two different forms of iron found in the foods you eat.
- Heme iron, which you typically find in meats like chicken etc. which the body absorbs best.
- Non-heme iron found in vegetables like beans, spinach, tofu etc.
Iron and Improved Fertility
Iron is very good for pregnant, however there is not much that can be associated with iron leading to increased chances of fertility as research done in the field do not show consistent results.
In a research conducted in the US it was found that heme iron that is a constituent of in meat, has no effect on the time it takes a woman to conceive. Although, non-heme iron, found in vegetables and dietary supplements, can have a small impact for women who may be deficient in iron due to heavy menses.
A woman who might have previously given birth and has a history of heavy or short menstrual cycles, on increasing her intake of plant-based foods that are rich in non-heme iron, can help improve her chances of conceiving.
Getting one’s iron levels checked by a physician, or a fertility specialists may be a useful step towards a successful conception.