The Dangers of Low Iron During Pregnancy
Iron is a mineral naturally present in many foods, added to some food products, and available as a dietary supplement. 1 As an essential component of your red blood cells, iron helps transfer oxygen from your lungs to the cells in your body, which keeps them healthy and helps them function. 1
What is iron deficiency?
When the amount of iron in your body is inadequate to meet the requirements of your body's processes, you can have low levels of iron. This condition is known as Iron Deficiency Anaemia. 2 Your iron levels can become low when: 2,3
Low iron levels can cause you to become iron deficient, which is one of the leading contributors to the global burden of disease. 3 While anyone can become iron deficient, some people are at a higher risk than others, such as: 2
Why is low iron during pregnancy dangerous?
Pregnant women must maintain adequate iron levels for themselves and their unborn babies during pregnancy. Maternal plasma and blood volumes are increased during pregnancy. This is necessary for both the mother and child's metabolic and oxygen delivery needs. 5 Additionally, the placenta, which provides oxygen and nutrients to an unborn baby, is a highly metabolically active organ with large iron requirements. 5
Therefore, having low iron levels or being iron deficient during pregnancy can negatively affect the health of mothers and their unborn babies, both in utero and later in life: 4,6,7
|Iron deficiency danger to mothers
Iron deficiency danger to infants
What does this mean for you?
Iron is an essential mineral for the health and functioning of your body’s cells. If your iron levels are too low to support your body, you can become iron deficient. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of iron deficiency, which can be dangerous to them and their unborn babies, both in utero and later in life. This is why it’s so crucial for pregnant women to monitor their iron levels and consult with their healthcare professionals throughout their pregnancy.
Download our Pregnancy Guide for helpful information that covers other pregnancy topics to support you with your pregnancy.