Iron Deficiency Impacts on Baby
May 27, 2019
As an expecting mother, you want to do everything you can to ensure your baby is healthy and growing throughout the pregnancy, as well as after giving birth. This includes taking care of yourself and making sure your body has healthy levels of vitamins and minerals. Iron is one such mineral that supports both mother and baby with healthy, oxygen-carrying red blood cells.1
Without enough iron, the body may be less effective at producing hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs and throughout the body.1 Iron is also responsible for aiding in growth and development as well as supporting metabolism.
Women who are pregnant and have an iron deficiency (anemia) may experience symptoms such as exhaustion, shortness of breath and weakness, among others.2 While these symptoms may not seem serious at first, prolonged iron deficiency can lead to serious health risks, especially for the unborn baby.
The impacts of iron deficiency on the baby may extend well beyond birth and delivery. We’ll review these impacts and offer resources that may help.
Morbidity and Fetal Death
Iron deficiency anemia has been linked to increased morbidity and fetal death.3 Additionally, mothers with inadequate iron levels during pregnancy may experience breathing difficulties, fainting, tiredness, palpitations and sleep difficulties. They also are at higher risk of developing perinatal infection, pre-eclampsia and bleeding.3
Low Birth Weight
Since iron is an important component for growth, an unborn baby who does not get enough of this nutrient is at higher risk of underdevelopment. Adverse perinatal outcomes of iron deficiency anemia also include intrauterine growth retardation and prematurity. All of these come with significant mortality risks for the unborn baby.3
Fetal Iron Deficiency
Lower levels of iron in a newborn could persist for up to a year and result in iron deficiency anemia.3 If not identified and treated promptly, long-term consequences are possible.
Not only is iron essential to our bodies’ physical growth, it is an important ingredient to aid in cognitive functioning.3
Without sufficient iron levels, a child’s neural metabolism and functioning could suffer, resulting in changes in how energy is metabolized within the brain. This can lead to developmental difficulties involving cognitive and even social-emotional behavior.3
Delays in Language and Motor Development
Other studies have found a link between iron deficiency and delays in both language and motor development.3 While breastfeeding often helps protect the baby from these risks, iron levels in breast milk drop as lactation progresses over time, and if the mother is iron deficient herself, supplementation may be needed.3
Iron Supplementation for Expecting Mothers
If you are experiencing any symptoms of iron deficiency, speak with your doctor. If he or she recommends supplementation, consider the many forms of iron supplements available and compare products to find one that offers higher absorption levels to ensure you’re receiving the highest level of benefits.
Several of the products in the Prenate® Vitamin Family contain a form of iron, called Sumalate®, a highly advanced and absorbable form of this crucial mineral.4
Below, we’ll review the benefits of Sumalate® and how Prenate® helps expecting mothers meet their nutritional goals before, during and after pregnancy. While taking this product may not prevent the health problems listed above, it may help reduce the risks and symptoms related to iron deficiency.
It’s important to remember that absorption rates vary greatly, and higher iron content doesn’t necessarily mean higher absorption by the body. Sumalate® has one of the highest iron absorption rates when compared to other forms of iron.4
Preparing for Pregnancy
Taking Sumalate® as soon as you’re planning to get pregnant can help give your body the iron boost it needs to prepare for the major changes that come with pregnancy. Adequate iron levels can help increase blood production, stabilize metabolism and promote cell growth – all important factors in fertility and pregnancy.
During and After Pregnancy
As the body experiences all the changes that come with pregnancy, keeping iron levels in check can help expecting mothers maintain healthy energy levels, regulate metabolism and promote the production of blood.5
Maintaining healthy levels of iron throughout pregnancy may help promote healthy iron levels in the baby well after delivery. Taking a supplement such as Sumalate® may help keep iron levels where they need to be after giving birth, especially if the mother plans to breastfeed. Iron-deficient mothers who breastfeed may not be able to rely on the nutrients in their breastmilk to keep their infants’ iron levels where they need to be.3
For More Information
Remember to always consult with a medical professional before taking any supplements. If you would like to know more about Sumalate® or other products in the Prenate® Vitamin Family, please visit our website.