Find out if iron pills and prenatal vitamins are needed for a healthy pregnancy

The average woman needs to consume about 15 to 18 milligrams of iron each day. For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding the amount of iron that they need to take increases significantly. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended dietary allowance of iron for pregnant women is about 27 milligrams per day.

You may be wondering whether iron pills and prenatal multivitamins are the right choice. For most women, they are a great option for making sure you meet the recommended daily allowance of vitamins to ensure that you and baby are happy and healthy.

It?s important to always speak to your doctor before starting iron supplements and prenatal multivitamins. If you?re concerned that you?re not getting enough iron, don?t simply double up on prenatal vitamins, since too much of other vitamins may hurt your baby. Instead, figure out if supplemental iron pills may be a better choice.

Why do women need iron pills?

Are iron pills and prenatal multivitamins necessary? Well, iron and several other vitamins are a crucial part to keeping your body running smoothly.

Iron is an essential mineral. As a component of hemoglobin, it helps carry oxygen from your lungs throughout the body.

People who aren?t getting a sufficient supply of oxygen in the body, will become fatigued or exhausted. In the worst case scenario, extreme exhaustion can affect everything from brain function to the immune system?s ability to fight off disease and infection.

Iron has several other important functions, such as maintaining healthy cells, skin, hair, and nails.

If you?re pregnant, a severe iron deficiency or anemia might increase your baby?s risk of being born prematurely or smaller than expected.

Iron pills aren?t just for expecting mothers, they have great benefit to babies after birth, as well. Babies build up an excess of iron from their mothers while in the womb. Once they?re born, they draw on these iron stores for the first six months of life when nursing. Consider adding iron-fortified foods to their diet once they reach six months.

Further, many pediatricians even recommend using a formula that is fortified with iron for bottle-fed babies. Premature babies who haven?t had as much time to store up iron may need supplemental iron. Be sure to check with your pediatrician before giving your child iron supplements, since the amount of iron you need is entirely dependent upon age, gender, state of health, and situation.

Why do women need prenatal multivitamins?

It?s recommended for expecting mothers to take prenatal vitamins during and after pregnancy to fill any nutritional gaps that might exist in their diet.

Prenatal vitamins contain a blend of essential vitamins and minerals, of which iron, folic acid, iodine, and calcium are the most important.

For example, folic acid helps prevent neural tube birth defects, or defects of the brain and spinal cord. Calcium helps prevent the mother from losing bone density as the baby depletes her calcium stores for its own bone growth.