Iron Deficiency Day (26 NOV) is dedicated to many women who suffered from iron deficiency and anaemia unknowingly. Pregnancy Singapore supports Iron Deficiency Day and highlights the significant impact on pregnancy and baby.
#1 Iron is essential in our body Iron plays a critical role in our body systems. It ensures optimal brain function and development, effective immune system and proper oxygen delivery. The red blood cells (RBC) use iron to build hemoglobin, which is the oxygen carrier in our body.
#2 Iron deficiency and pregnancy Iron deficiency happens due to insufficient iron supply to meet your body’s needs. Anaemia is a late sign of iron deficiency, due to the lack of iron in the RBCs and thus, insufficient oxygen delivery. This leads to fatigue, breathlessness and poor concentration in the anaemic mothers.
#3 Why anaemia occurs in pregnancy? In pregnancy, your blood volume expands and your developing baby demands more iron.
#4 Anemia is very common in pregnancy In Asia, 1 in 4 women has anaemia in pregnancy. A recent study in Singapore showed that many women are iron deficient during pregnancy. Risk factor are young age <25years, Malay or Indian heritage, not taking iron supplements or having multiple children.
#5 Iron deficiency anaemia can be harmful in pregnancy One major consequence is the increased risk of postpartum depression. The increased fatigue and irritability may enhance the mother feeling low and overwhelmed. Iron deficiency can also affect your baby. Studies show that it may lead to a low birth weight due to preterm delivery and growth restriction, delayed neuro-cognitive development with learning difficulties and lower IQ score. I would recommend close screening for iron deficiency and proper supplementation during pregnancy to ensure optimal health for the mother and baby.