Iron: Pregnant women need twice as much iron — 30 mg per day — than other women.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women start taking a low-dose iron supplement (30 mg/day) or a multivitamin with iron beginning at the time of their first prenatal visit. Ask your doctor what she recommends. Prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor or those you can buy over-the-counter usually have the amount of iron you need. But be sure to check the label to make sure. Pregnant women should also eat lots of iron-rich foods. Some good sources of iron include lean red meat, fish, poultry, dried fruits, whole-grain breads, and iron-fortified cereals.
Pregnant women need extra iron for the increased amount of blood in their bodies. Iron helps keep your blood healthy. Plus, your baby will store iron in his body to last through the first few months of life.
Too little iron can cause a condition called anemia. If you have anemia, you might look pale and feel very tired. Your doctor checks for signs of anemia with the routine blood tests taken at different stages of your pregnancy. If your doctor finds that you have anemia, she will give you a special iron supplements to take once or twice a day.
Source: National Women’s Health Information Center, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.womenshealth.gov