Iron deficiency anaemia in pregnancy is quite common, though it should not be left untreated.
Healthy iron levels are needed to ensure that not only you are well, but that your baby is too. Iron is responsible for the production of haemoglobin, and haemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen around your body.
Without iron, your body can't make those much-needed oxygen-rich red blood cells.
How is an iron deficiency in pregnancy diagnosed?
Iron deficiency is detected through a routine blood test. Through the course of your pregnancy, you'll most likely receive blood tests to ensure everything is well.
Your doctor may order a blood test to check your iron levels if you are exhibiting symptoms of iron deficiency. The symptoms include:
Fatigue (more so than is due to pregnancy)
and more - your doctor will run through the symptoms with you
If you suspect that you may have an iron deficiency, make an appointment with your doctor. The cause of iron deficiency in pregnancy can range from not having enough iron in your diet to an underlying condition, so have your doctor investigate is the best method.
Iron deficiency treatment in pregnancy
Altering your diet to include more iron-rich foods can be a great help. However, you may need a supplement if you require quicker treatment.
Iron supplements can help you restore your iron levels over time when taken consistently and most prenatal vitamins have iron in them so your doctor can recommend a suitable daily dosage.
Including more vitamin c in your diet can help the absorption of iron, so maybe consider having a glass of orange or tomato juice after taking your supplement, and try to avoid calcium for an hour before and after as it can interfere with absorption.
For some, however, taking an oral iron supplement is too harsh on their stomach and can lead to constipation - already a common issue amongst pregnant women. If you find the supplements too harsh, or if your iron stores are very low and need replenishing quickly, your doctor may advise an iron infusion.
Iron infusions in pregnancy
An iron infusion is a quick way to up your iron levels. An iron infusion is the intravenous supply of iron, so iron delivered directly into your bloodstream.
Your doctor will discuss with you and weigh up the risks and benefits to decide whether an iron infusion is the right treatment for you.
The risks associated with an iron infusion include:
allergic reaction (you'll be closely monitored during and after your infusion)
staining (in rare cases, the iron solution can leak from the insertion site and cause permanent staining to your skin)
If you have questions or concerns about getting an iron infusion, you can discuss them with your doctor.
The benefits of an iron infusion during pregnancy include:
quick delivery of iron directly into your bloodstream
no need for iron supplements which can be harsh on the gut
If you're interested in having an iron infusion or would like to know more, please call us on 9741 1200 or book an appointment online with one of our doctors.
Please note, you require an initial appointment with a doctor to determine if you have an iron deficiency and if the treatment is right for you. Our doctors will not perform an iron infusion without determining its needed as too much iron can be dangerous.