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Are you pregnant and exhausted? Check your ferritin!

Weekly pregnancy tip

 

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JOCELYN HAS BEEN FEATURED ON:

It’s no surprise that pregnant women experience fatigue during their pregnancies – their bodies are performing an incredible feat of growing a new human being!

However, sometimes there are other factors at play behind a woman’s fatigue, namely insufficient iron levels, which need to be addressed. Anemia during pregnancy may be to blame for fatigue, frequent infections, poor concentration and sleep, and dizziness. It also raises the risk for low birth weight and pre-term labour.

Lab tests will only be flagged for low iron if ferritin (the lab measure for your body’s level of stored iron) drops below 15 (“diagnostic of iron-deficiency anemia”), but ferritin levels between 15 and 50 are considered “probable iron deficiency” and still benefit from treatment.

Treating anemia during pregnancy can be tricky. Not all iron supplements are created equal too much iron can put the pregnancy at risk (including gestational hypertension and free-radical damage), and a lack of co-factors like Vitamin C and B-vitamins leads to inadequate absorption and integration.

Generally I recommend supplementing up to 60mg per day maximum (supplements + prenatal vitamin), with a supplement that also contains Vitamin C, Vitamin B9 (folate) and Vitamin B12. There are great whole-food choices like Floradix, and also high-quality supplements like ITI’s Iron Complex. Knowing your ferritin level will allow you and your care provider to choose the right dose.

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 in your pregnancy, sign up for my free webinar: 7 Pregnancy Myths Debunked – and get the information you need to have a healthy pregnancy and a thriving baby.

And if you are a care-provider looking for evidence-based resources for your pregnant patients, please get in touch with us at support@myhealthypregnancyplan.com.

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.

References:

Allen, L. (2000). Anemia and Iron Deficiency: Effects on Pregnancy Outcome. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 71(5): 1280-1284.

Casanueva, E., & Viteri, F. (2003). Iron and Oxidative Stress in Pregnancy. The Journal of Nutrition, 133(5): 1700S-1708S.

Cogswell, M. (2003). Iron supplementation during pregnancy, anemia, and birth weight: a randomized controlled trial. American Society of Clinical Nutrition, 78(4): 773-781.

Hindmarsh, P. et al. (2000). Effect of early maternal iron stores on placental weight and structure. The Lancet, 356(9231): 719-723.

Simona, B. et al. (2009). Iron supplementation and gestational diabetes in midpregnancy. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 201(2): 158.e1-158.e6.

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