IRON IS NEEDED FOR A HEALTHY PREGNANCY
Iron deficiency during pregnacy increases the risk for a premature birth and also for the newborn being underweight. Sadly, premature born babies are known to have more health-related problems during their first years of life and may experience delayed growth and cognitive development.
All pregnant women are advised to eat plenty of iron-rich foods and to take supplements, because as the NIH warns, “Insufficient iron intakes during pregnancy increase a woman’s risk of iron deficiency-caused anemia. Low intakes also increase her infant’s risk of low birth weight, premature birth, low iron stores, and impaired cognitive and behavioral development.”
A study done by the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, WHO found that taking iron supplements during pregnancy is associated with an 8.4 percent risk of having a low-birth weight newborn, compared to 10.2 percent risk when the mother does not supplement with iron.
The average birth weight in the WHO study was 31 g. higher in infants whose mothers took daily iron supplements during pregnancy, compared to the weight of infants of mothers who did not take iron.