How to choose iron supplements for pregnant women

Maternal and child health

How to Choose Iron Supplements for Pregnant Women


Iron is an essential mineral that is needed for the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. During pregnancy, the body's need for iron increases because the blood volume increases and the fetus needs iron for its own development.

Most pregnant women do not get enough iron from their diet alone. Iron supplements are often recommended to help prevent or treat iron deficiency anemia.

Choosing the Right Iron Supplement

There are many different types of iron supplements available. The best type of iron supplement for you will depend on your individual needs.

Ferrous sulfate is the most common type of iron supplement. It is well-absorbed and relatively inexpensive. However, it can cause side effects such as nausea, constipation, and diarrhea.

Ferrous gluconate is another type of iron supplement that is well-absorbed. It is less likely to cause side effects than ferrous sulfate. However, it is more expensive.

Ferric citrate is a type of iron supplement that is less likely to cause side effects than ferrous sulfate or ferrous gluconate. However, it is also less well-absorbed.

Polysaccharide-iron complex is a type of iron supplement that is well-absorbed and less likely to cause side effects. However, it is more expensive than other types of iron supplements.


The recommended daily dosage of iron for pregnant women is 27 mg. However, some women may need more or less iron depending on their individual needs. Your doctor will recommend the right dosage for you.

Side Effects

Iron supplements can cause side effects such as:




Stomach pain


Black stools

These side effects are usually mild and go away after a few days. However, if you experience any severe side effects, you should stop taking the iron supplement and call your doctor.


Iron supplements can interact with certain medications, such as:


Calcium supplements


Thyroid medications

If you are taking any medications, be sure to tell your doctor before starting an iron supplement.

When to Take Iron Supplements

Iron supplements are best taken on an empty stomach. This will help your body absorb the iron more easily. However, if iron supplements cause you stomach upset, you can take them with food.

Other Ways to Get Iron

In addition to taking iron supplements, you can also increase your iron intake by eating iron-rich foods. Good sources of iron include:

Red meat








Fortified cereals

If you are pregnant, it is important to talk to your doctor about your iron needs. Iron deficiency anemia is a common problem during pregnancy, but it can be easily prevented and treated.

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