Chapter 10 – Iron Levels are Crucial during Pregnancy
- The growing baby gets all their iron from their mother
- Iron is crucial for healthy development, especially in the growing brain
- Mothers with high iron levels are less likely to have babies with iron deficiency
- Mothers with high iron levels are less likely to suffer from postpartum depression
- Iron Lift is a safe solution for highly absorbed iron and other essential micronutrients
Iron Levels are Linked to the Success of a Pregnancy
Iron levels during pregnancy are intricately linked to the success of the pregnancy and healthy development of the baby. In this post, we discuss why babies need iron, the adverse effects of low iron, and how much iron is the right amount.
Iron is a Key Part of a Baby’s Healthy Development
The developing fetus and baby needs iron for nearly every aspect of growth, especially brain development. Iron is essential for proper neurogenesis, including the formation of specific brain cells, regions, and pathways. This means that healthy iron levels can improve a baby’s sleep patterns, mood, and cognitive skills. Iron is also essential to the development of other organs, including blood, muscles, and the liver.
Transferring Iron: From Mom to Baby
All that iron has to be supplied by the mom. During pregnancy, mothers should absorb 4x the normal amount of iron per day. That iron is mostly transferred to the baby by sharing of transferrin, an iron-transporting protein, through the placenta. This means that transferrin saturation, which is lowered in people with iron deficiency, directly affects how iron gets to the baby. During breastfeeding, iron is similarly provided by the mom to the baby in breast milk.
Low Iron Increases the Risk for Miscarriage, Premature Birth, and Low Birth Weight
Miscarriage might be every pregnant mother’s biggest fear. Unfortunately, low iron levels increase the risk of miscarriage because the body may not have enough nutrients to sustain the baby and itself. Less extreme consequences of low iron include premature birth and low birth weight, both of which risk the baby’s health during infancy and early childhood.
Long-Lasting Effects of the Baby’s Iron Levels
Because of the body’s sophisticated system for storing iron, providing sufficient iron during pregnancy can reap long term benefits. For example, anemic mothers are more likely than non-anemic mothers to have babies with iron deficiency. Starting your baby with enough iron will help ensure they have enough to support all their crucial early-year growth.
How Much is Too Much? Risks of Iron Overload
Despite all these benefits, iron should not be taken in excess. (Depending on a mother’s iron status, intake over 45-65 mg per day may start to be considered excess.) This is because iron can create free-radical molecules, which are harmful to the body and cause the side-effects commonly associated with iron supplements.
During pregnancy, increased risk of various complications have been linked to increased oxidative stress. While the placenta has natural mechanisms to protect against oxidative stress, it’s best to minimize stress by taking highly absorbed iron, rather than excess iron.
In rare cases, excess iron may also cause a mother to have high hemoglobin levels. This poses an additional risk to the baby’s health because blood with excess hemoglobin cannot as easily transfer through the umbilical cord.
Iron Helps the Mother Postpartum
Moreover, iron levels are crucial to postpartum wellness. Anemia has been shown in many studies to significantly increase the risk of postpartum depression. This may relate to how iron-deficient blood disrupts oxygen flow to various parts of the brain, or to how iron is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters like dopamine. Though the mechanism is unclear, the consequences have been shown: improved iron levels drastically reduce the risk of postpartum depression.
Iron Lift: The Right Solution During Pregnancy
Smart Eats’ doctors designed Iron Lift to help during pregnancy. Iron Lift provides highly absorbed iron in moderate doses that deliver all the help, without the harm. It includes over 10 antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress and the possibility of side-effects. It also includes blood-building vitamins to help incorporate the iron into hemoglobin and prevent anemia. In addition, it has protein for muscles, prebiotic nutrients for the gut, and simple carbs for energy.
Most importantly, Iron Lift is safe. Ingredients are sourced from world-class vendors, production occurs in a Safe Quality Food (SQF)-certified US plant, and the end product undergoes strict quality control testing. Based on this testing, Iron Lift meets California’s Prop 65 standard for lead exposure, which is the world’s strictest regulation for ensuring that supplements are free of harmful contaminants.
- Iron and pregnancy–a delicate balance (Annals of Hematology)
- Why Iron Deficiency Is Important in Infant Development (The Journal of Nutrition)
- Anemia and iron deficiency: effects on pregnancy outcome (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)
- Iron Deficiency in Pregnancy (American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology)
- Iron and oxidative stress in pregnancy (The Journal of Nutrition)
- The association between anemia and postpartum depression (Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine)