Iron is incredibly important in pregnancy because you are more prone to being deficient due to the increased amount of blood your body is making to sustain yourself and your baby. Not only that but having a higher hemoglobin will provide a buffer against blood loss during delivery.
How does iron work in the body?
Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. Iron is necessary to build hemoglobin and hemoglobin contains approximately 70% of your body’s iron. A higher hemoglobin concentration as a result of a better iron supply increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of your blood. This is why iron deficiency and anemia often cause you to feel exhausted with very low energy.
What happens when you’re pregnant?
When you’re pregnant the amount of red blood cells increases to nearly 20% and the amount of plasma in the body can increase by up to 50%. This causes dilution of the red blood cells in the body. This is why pregnant women are more prone to iron deficiency and anemia. Do you really need to feel even more tired and exhausted from pregnancy by having low iron or anemia on top of being pregnant?
How can you help increase iron absorption?
Take a probiotic. Particularly one containing Lactobacillus plantarum which has shown to increase iron absorption by 50% if you’re already taking an iron fortified supplement (source).
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was eating fairly well, but definitely not the amount of greens that I usually eat. I was also taking a prenatal vitamin that included iron. I normally take this probiotic from Botanica Research, but I had ran out of it for about a month and my iron levels dropped between blood tests. After the drop in my iron level I reordered the probiotic and my iron levels rebounded within two weeks to a health range. I honestly can’t recommend this probiotic from Botanica Research enough – it is affordable and it works.