The first trimester of pregnancy is the time when a new person is literally “created” in the body of the expectant mother. Although the size of the embryo by the end of the trimester is still very small, compared to its original state, it increases more than 20 times!
The first trimester of pregnancy is the time when a new person is literally “created” in the body of the expectant mother. Although the size of the embryo by the end of the trimester is still very small, compared to its initial state, it increases more than 20 times! Naturally, in order to ensure such rapid growth, the female body works intensively, which is why the consumption of certain substances increases several times. Iron also belongs to such substances. Its deficiency often occurs in the first trimester.
What role does iron play in the first trimester of pregnancy?
Iron is one of the most important structural elements for the formation of blood and muscles, as it is part of hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is part of red blood cells (red blood cells) and is responsible for carrying oxygen through the bloodstream. Myoglobin is the main protein in skeletal muscle and heart.
The formation of the cardiovascular system begins at 3 weeks of gestation (or 5 obstetric). And already at 4 weeks, blood circulates through the body of the embryo. Therefore, in the first trimester of pregnancy, the expectant mother’s blood volume increases, and as a result, the need for iron.
In addition, the heart itself is also made up of muscle tissue. In order for it to form and grow properly, it needs iron. The formation of the four-chambered heart ends by the 9th obstetric week, that is, by the 7th week of pregnancy. And this is also the reason for the increased consumption of iron in the first trimester.
And, finally, iron is part of the placenta, the state of which largely determines the health and development of the child, as well as the possibility of carrying it before natural childbirth. The placenta is formed in the first trimester, in several stages.
Why can iron deficiency occur in the first trimester?
Not all women experience iron deficiency in the first trimester. But there are situations where iron deficiency is likely to occur.
• Vegetarian and vegan diet. Typically, vegetarians and vegans already enter pregnancy with an overt or subtle iron deficiency. And in the first trimester, when iron consumption is just beginning to increase, iron reserves in the body dry up. Many vegetarians believe that cereals and plant foods contain enough iron. Unfortunately, not everyone knows that plants contain phytates, which interfere with the absorption of iron. Iron from buckwheat, apples and other plants is practically not absorbed in the human body.
• Refusal to take vitamin-mineral complexes with iron due to side effects. Most often, iron is part of complexes for pregnant women in the form of iron fumarate, which is not very well absorbed and also causes abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, constipation, or, conversely, loosening of the stool.
• The need or desire to control weight. Women who carefully monitored their body weight before pregnancy are afraid to gain too much weight, so they try to eat diet food, including chicken or turkey breast (white meat only), prefer vegetables and fruits. As a result, there are very few sources of digestible iron in their diet.
• Severe toxicosis in the early stages. Because of the constant feeling of nausea, women refuse protein foods, they can only eat selective foods. In addition, during vomiting, useful substances that were contained in food are also lost.
Prevention of iron deficiency in the first trimester
Women should not ignore iron deficiency early in pregnancy. Indeed, in the second and third trimesters, the need for iron will become even greater. This means that iron deficiency can develop into anemia, which is much more difficult to cope with.
To provide the body with iron, the expectant mother must receive it from the outside – with food or in the form of supplements, for example, as part of a vitamin and mineral complex.
Sources of iron are liver, heart, red meat (especially beef). Since the formation of the embryo and its growth do not stop for a second, iron must also enter the body every day in sufficient quantities.
As a vitamin and mineral complex with iron, you should pay attention to Pregnoton Mama . It contains 14 mg of iron in liposomal form. It does not irritate the digestive tract, does not cause nausea, vomiting, constipation and other problems with the digestive system.
At first glance, it may seem that the amount of iron is not too high compared to other complexes for expectant mothers. But the same amount (14 mg) of iron is contained in about 500 g of beef or 250 g of liver. In addition, scientists have found that liposomal iron is absorbed almost 5 times better than ferrous fumarate. And clinical studies have shown that taking 14 mg of liposomal iron per day is enough to prevent anemia in pregnant women throughout the entire period of gestation.
By the way, another plus of Pregnoton Mama is vitamin B6, which helps to prevent attacks of toxicosis, which will also help to reduce iron deficiency.