Eating healthy foods during pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby.
Healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, beans, legumes, eggs, dairy foods, nuts, and seeds contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that you and your baby need.
Not getting enough nutrients can interfere with your health and your baby’s development.
Although you require many different nutrients for a healthy pregnancy, one of the most important is iron. Iron is a mineral that your body uses for many purposes, including making the extra blood your body needs during pregnancy.
Here at Westover Hills Women’s Health in San Antonio, Texas, our caring doctors and certified nurse midwives work with you to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you and your baby need during pregnancy.
Here, we share a few facts about the importance of iron, how you can make sure to get the iron you need, and the steps we may recommend if your iron levels are low.
If you don’t get enough iron, you could develop a condition known as anemia. In mothers, anemia can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, headache, and irregular heartbeat. (To learn more about the signs of anemia in pregnancy, read our blog about it.)
In babies, anemia can raise the risk of premature birth (birth before 37 weeks gestation) and low birthweight (weight at birth of under 5 pounds, 8 ounces), according to the March of Dimes.
We check your iron levels during your pregnancy using a simple blood test. Be sure to tell us if you have a history of low iron, any kind of anemia, or any medical conditions that affect your blood.
You can ensure you’re getting enough iron in two ways: by eating a healthy diet and by taking daily prenatal multivitamins. We can prescribe a prenatal vitamin, or you can buy them over-the-counter at your local drugstore.
Iron-rich foods that are good during pregnancy include the following:
Keep in mind that eating vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits or tomatoes, along with iron makes it easier for your body to absorb iron.
If blood testing shows that you are low on iron despite eating healthy foods and taking a prenatal vitamin, or if you develop anemia, we may recommend extra iron supplements.
Never take any other vitamin or mineral supplements without your provider’s guidance. Getting too much iron is not healthy for you or your baby.
In addition to extra iron supplements, we may encourage you to eat more iron-rich foods. For a full list of iron-rich foods and the amount of iron they contain, consult this list from the National Institutes of Health.
Our doctors and certified nurse midwives at Westover Hills Women’s Health are happy to provide you with pregnancy care and answer all of your questions. To schedule a visit at one of our two San Antonio, Texas, offices, call us today or use our online tool to book an appointment.