Preventing Iron Deficiency during Pregnancy

Dr Krishna H Kumar, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist Specialist, Consultant for Byond28, and Past President of Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Malaysia (OGSM)

Iron is an essential mineral required to improve metabolism. It is a crucial chemical component of haemoglobin. Lack of iron in the body can cause iron-deficiency anaemia, which leads to insufficient oxygen supplied to the mother.

Both iron deficiency and anaemia are prevalent amongst pregnant women in Malaysia. With a prevalence of 37%, iron deficiency and anaemia are significant and challenging health problems for the country. A possible effect of severe iron deficiency in pregnant women is a risk of conceiving a premature baby.

Iron-deficiency anaemia may occasionally be confused with thalassaemia, which is an inherited genetic blood disorder. As a result, it is safer to consult your doctor to check if you have a family history of thalassaemia.

How much iron does your body need?

It is advisable for a woman to have at least 27mg of iron every day during their pregnancy. However, the actual amount required depends on their respective age and overall health. It is recommended to increase your body’s iron and other nutrients levels before pregnancy. An iron deficient mother will most likely be requested to start taking prenatal vitamins which include a low-dose iron supplement.

A pregnant mother should have a special diet with increase iron intake. Iron-rich ingredients include meat, poultry, cockles, chickpeas, bitter gourd, fried soybean curd.

Common symptoms of iron deficiency in pregnant women:

· Feeling fatigue

· Shortness of breath

· Fast heartbeat

· Cold hands and feet

· Hair loss

· Brittle and spoon-shaped nails

· Sores at the corner of the mouth

· Sore tongue

Don’t make assumptions

Regardless of whether you are planning for pregnancy, or are currently pregnant, visit your doctor to check if you are iron-deficient. A simple blood test will allow the doctor to check and diagnose the severity of your iron deficiency. The risk of anaemia increases as your pregnancy progresses, and your dietary iron intake alone is insufficient to fulfil your body’s iron requirements. Byond28 Confinement Care focuses on your education towards becoming a healthy and confident mother.

An educational collaboration with Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Malaysia

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BYOND28 Confinement Care

No.3, Jalan Pelandok,Taman Orkid, Cheras,43200, Selangor.

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