Taking good care of your health and the health of your baby is crucial during pregnancy. One condition that affects some women is anemia during pregnancy; iron deficiency anemia occurs when there is not enough iron in your blood.
Anemia is simply a lack of red blood cells, the cells that circulate in the blood plasma and give blood its red color. Red blood cells obtain oxygen in the lungs and distribute it to all the cells in the body in a process called oxidation. While the actual statistics regarding how many women suffer from anemia during pregnancy vary, it is a quite common, but highly treatable, medical condition.
If you are diagnosed with anemia during pregnancy, your doctor may have you take an iron supplement such as Proferrin® ES Iron Supplements or Proferrin® Forte, a medical food made with heme iron polypeptide (HIP), a naturally-occurring source of iron.
What Causes Anemia During Pregnancy?
In order to keep you and your baby well nourished, the amount of blood in the body must increase by 50% during pregnancy1. As the mother’s body makes blood more quickly, the need for iron is often greater than the amount the expectant mother has stored in her body. The result is iron deficiency anemia.
There are certain factors that will increase the likelihood that you will develop anemia during pregnancy2:
- Severe morning sickness with frequent vomiting
- Insufficient intake of iron in your daily diet
- Heavy menstrual flow prior to the pregnancy
- Multiple pregnancies
- Two or more successive pregnancies
The good news is that you can take steps to reduce your chances of being anemic during pregnancy. Because anemia during pregnancy is so very common, your blood will be checked during your first prenatal visit. Some doctors will repeat the test at about 28 weeks or whenever they are concerned you may be anemic3. Eating food high in iron and Vitamin C is the best way to prevent anemia during pregnancy:
- Red meats
- Dried fruit
- Spinach, broccoli, kale and other green, leafy vegetables
- Whole grains
Good sources of Vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, tomatoes and grapefruit.
Treatment of Anemia During Pregnancy
Use of heme iron in pregnant women is acceptable4. For iron deficiency in pregnancy, your doctor may recommend using Proferrin® ES in addition to your prenatal vitamins, especially during second and third trimesters. Proferrin ES iron supplements for women can help keep iron stores from dropping during pregnancy4. An added benefit is that you will be less likely to experience the gastrointestinal distress that can occur with other iron supplements5.
If you know your diet lacks iron or if you have been diagnosed with anemia, please view our iron tablets online store, or you can inquire about Proferrin® ES at your local pharmacy. Please consult your doctor before taking any supplements and to get specific dosing instructions for Proferrin® ES or Proferrin® Forte.
1. Utah Department of Health. Maternal and Infant Health Program. “Anemia During Pregnancy.”
3. Utah Department of Health. Maternal and Infant Health Program. “Anemia During Pregnancy.”
4. Suzuki, S., et. al., Effect of Bioion 150 – Enriched Heme Iron Food – on Pregnant Woman and Anemic Women with Iron Deficiency, Obstetrics and Gynecology World, Volume 10, pg. 32-43.
5. Ghaddar, abstract presented at NKF April 7, 2003, Dallas, TX.