Anemia during pregnancy: oral and IV options for treatment

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As I talk about in my online pregnancy program, iron is an essential nutrient for maternal health during pregnancy, and also for infant health after delivery. Iron is required to produce hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to all of the tissues in the body iron deficiency anemia can cause headaches, fatigue, weakness, and depression in mothers, and anemia during pregnancy has been shown to affect baby’s birth weight, intra-uterine grown and Apgar scores

A new study from Pakistan has highlighted the seriousness of iron deficiency in pregnant women, particularly in developing countries, where it is a major cause of maternal death and negative outcome in pregnancy. The WHO estimates that 40% of women in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of their pregnancies worldwide are anemic, including women in developed countries.  That is a staggering and sobering statistic requiring attention and action.

There are oral supplementation strategies (namely combining a well-absorbed iron-salt with Vitamin C and folate) and dietary strategies (namely eating iron-rich animal/heme and plant/non-heme sources) to bolster iron intake during pregnancy. However, research is increasingly pointing to IV iron therapies in pregnancy as the most efficient way to tackle iron deficiency anemia, with the fewest side effects.

IV iron is a great option when either oral iron is not well tolerated due to digestive complaints, or is not well absorbed, again due to digestive issues. As the Pakistan study demonstrates, IV iron raises serum ferritin (stored iron) and hemoglobin levels more quickly, without gastro-intestinal side effects.

I am so pleased to see this being offered in the Yukon to eligible patients, as to this point I have been referring patients to BC for IV-iron treatments as needed (while Naturopathic Doctors can administer numerous IV vitamins and minerals, IV iron is not within our scope). Patients can typically choose between a 1,000mg iron monoferric administration (helpful when travel time needs to be considered), or a more gradual series of four 250mg iron sucrose infusions. In my own patient population I have seen incredible results with these types of therapies, both in terms of lab work improvements and also in functional quality of life, including higher energy and exercise tolerance improvements, and clear improvements in mood and motivation.

I hope you have found this helpful, and do let me know if you have any questions!

If you are hungry for more evidence-based information for your fertility or pregnancy journey, visit for free webinars and complete programs.

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In health,

Dr Jocelyn Land-Murphy, ND

Terra Life

Disclaimer: The information and content provided is for general educational and informational purposes only and is not professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute therefore. Please consult the Disclaimer and Terms of Use for full details.


Zulkifal, S. et al. (2021). Anemia during Pregnancy and Its Prevalence. Primary Health Care.

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8 Proven Shortcuts To A Healthy Pregnancy

it's free!
Protecting your personal information is of utmost importance to me