A Mother's Iron Stores in Early Pregnancy impact Infant Birthweight.
Findings from a recent study published in Human Reproduction reaffirm the importance of maintaining adequate stores of iron to promote infant health. Adequate levels of iron in a mother is important prior to, or early in, pregnancy to promote a healthy infant birthweight (IBW).
The study concluded that non-anaemic pregnant women with depleted iron stores in early pregnancy have children who are smaller than those from women who begin pregnancy with non-depleted iron stores. Women with initial iron-depletion delivered babies weighing on average 192 g less than that with initial iron stores.
Prior studies have found that iron-deficiency during pregnancy is linked to important adverse health effects for the mother and fetus, such as increased rates of premature birth, low infant birthweight, and delayed maturation and cognitive and motor capacity of the child. IBW also negatively influenced by a smoking habit during pregnancy.
Iron is needed as it is a key ingredient to make Red Blood Cells. Iron is also the central atom in Red Blood Cell's Hemoglobin that binds with Oxygen delivering Oxygen to cells throughout the body.
The body contains more Red Blood Cells than any other type of cell. Each Red Blood Cell has a life span of about 120 days. Red Blood Cells must be continually replaced. Iron is essential to continually replenish Red Blood Cells. Adequate supplies of iron in our diet is important to continued overall health. See Iron and Human Physiology
Natural Food Sources of Iron and Iron Recommended Dietary Allowance
Iron like other nutrient needs should be met primarily naturally through consuming foods rich in Iron. However, during pregnancy, especially for women that tend to be anaemic, iron supplements taken under a doctors supervision may be advisable. Natural foods provide an array of nutrients and other compounds that may have beneficial effects on health. Certain foods aid in the absorption of Iron and others lessen Iron absorption. But first, there are two main types of Iron.
Heme Iron and Nonheme Iron. Iron is found in both animal and plant foods, but in different forms. Heme iron is derived from hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells and is found in beef and turkey. Nonheme Iron is found in plant foods such as lentils and beans and has a different chemical structure than heme Iron. Heme Iron is absorbed better than nonheme Iron.
Food Sources of HEME IRON from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
Food Sources of NONHEME IRON from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
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Articles on Iron, Health and Athletics
Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Iron
, National Institute of Health
Depleted Iron Stores Without Anaemia Early in Pregnancy Carries Increased Risk of Lower Birthweight Even When Supplemented Daily With Moderate Iron, B. Ribot; N. Aranda , Human Reproduction, Oxford University Press
The Crucial Role of Iron in the Body, Washington University in St. Louis
Iron Deficiency,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Energy for the Body,Washington University in St. Louis
The Iron Story,Dr. Mark A. Jenkins, Rice University