Iron Deficiency in Pregnancy and Postpartum
Iron is required in pregnancy for the fetus and placenta as well as the growing uterus.
Not to mention mumma who is carrying the baby!
If iron stores are already deficient prior to conception, there is a strong chance the mother can become anaemic during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Imagine the havoc this creates when her already depleted stores become non-existent due to the unborn babies rapid growth cycle and need for Iron.
Iron is further lost through loss of blood in labour and a necessity during lactation.
Couple this with an already borderline deficiency and you’ve got yourself a recipe for extreme fatigue and overwhelm. As if you aren’t feeling it enough!
Because of the functions of Iron, this can be misdiagnosed and overlooked due to the symptoms feeling and looking the same as postpartum depletion.
We check in at the doctors on our babies, making sure they hit milestones, get check ups etc.
The first 6-12 months can become all about the baby, when prior to, it was all the check ups making sure mum and baby are all ok.
SO, When did the current medical model forget to check the mother throughout this crucial time!!
WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF IRON?
Necessary for appropriate Immune function
Iron is a co-factor in the steps for melatonin and adrenaline production. (think sleep, mood, stress hormones)
Necessary for proper metabolism of B vitamins
Feeling a heavy body fatigue? That’s cause Iron is required for the conversion of lysine to carnitine – carnitine shovels fatty acids into the mitochondria and muscles rely on carnitine for functioning.
Common signs and symptoms of Iron deficiency Anemia
Loss of appetite
Shortness of Breath
You can quickly see here how fatigue, common cold and flu, “baby brain”, lack of sleep and weight loss can easily look like just the perks of being a new mum can’t you… “oh you’re a new mum its normal for you to feel exhausted and run down”……..
To what point though?
The answer is simple – to the point where you are getting regular check ups and BLOOD TESTS – to monitor your levels and YOUR health.
BEEN TESTED AND FOUND TO BE LOW? GIVEN A SUPPLEMENT ONLY TO FEEL SICK AND CONSTIPATED? IRON STORES NOT EVEN GOING UP IN SPITE OF SAID SUPPLEMENT?
You may be prescribed something you’ve heard is “fabulous” on Radio and by your Doctor
Ferrograd C – (Form of Iron called Ferrous Sulfate)
MYTH – Mega doses of Ferrous Sulfate, found in Ferrograd C, are not beneficial or better absorbed and mostly cause constipation.
Large doses of Ferrous Sulfate (Inorganic iron) will BLOCK ZINC absorption! this is why they cause nausea and constipation as the unabsorbed iron binds to zinc picolinate and stops it’s absorption.
By taking this form of Iron are actually depleting another much needed Mineral in the process. (More on the importance of Zinc, later)
So what form should I be taking?
Supplements with organic iron.
Formulas that contain amino acid chelate, citrate or glycinate – are generally better absorbed. They are non-constipating and easier on sensitive tummies.
It’s important you seek professional advice and talk to a Naturopath about the right form and dosage of Iron for you as well as a proper interpretation of your blood tests.
Iron needs and amounts change in pre-natal, pregnancy, lactation, postpartum and menopause.
If you require more information please get in touch, I’d love to help you throughout your pregnancy and postpartum period.
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The impact of maternal iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia on child’s health
Anemia in Pregnancy