Should I take iron supplements during pregnancy?

During times when your body needs more iron, such as pregnancy, increase the amount of iron in your diet or ask your doctor if you should take iron supplements.
Doctors often recommend taking iron supplements during pregnancy. The body's iron requirements go up to support the increased blood volume during pregnancy and the needs of the fetus and to compensate for blood lost during delivery. Your body uses iron to make the proteins hemoglobin (in red blood cells) and myoglobin (in the muscles) that help transport and store oxygen throughout your body.

Too little iron during pregnancy may lead to premature delivery and a baby with a low birth weight. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for iron increases from 18 milligrams (mg) per day for non-pregnant women ages 19 to 50 to 27 mg per day during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about your own iron needs and whether taking iron supplements is a good idea for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.