Thursday, January 08, 2009

Preventing Anemia in Pregnant Women

Half of all pregnant women develop iron-deficiency anemia because their volume of blood increases and because the growing fetus needs iron. Anemia during pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of premature delivery and a low-birth-weight baby.

To prevent these problems, pregnant women need twice as much iron as women who are not pregnant. Pregnant women can get more iron from eating more iron-rich foods, from supplements, or from both. Medical care during pregnancy should include screening for anemia.

The doctor giving prenatal care may prescribe iron supplements, which should be taken as directed. Pregnant women should notify their doctors if they have uncomfortable side effects such as constipation. The doctor also may give advice on how to get higher levels of iron through eating iron-rich foods.

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