Iron is a very important mineral in the body. Iron deficiency is called as anemia. Signs and symptoms of
anemia include easy fatiguability, lethargy, breathlessness, dizziness and palpitations. The signs
include pallor, spoon shaped nails, pale face, pale nail beds etc. Iron in the body assists in the synthesis of
two important proteins in the body namely the hemoglobin and myoglobin. While myoglobin is
responsible for the transport of oxygen to the body muscles, hemoglobin is responsible to take up the
same function for the cells in the body. Therefore the need for the oxygen in the body is met with iron. Iron is
not just important during pregnancy but is equally important otherwise too. Why is it that iron is important
during pregnancy? Iron is specially important during pregnancy because it is during pregnancy that the
total blood volume in the body goes up by over 50 % than the normal times. The increased blood volume
then needs a greater amount of oxygen too, to meet the body requirements. The need for iron thus goes up
during pregnancy.

Pregnancy can have complications like still birth, low birth weight or preterm labor if adequate amounts of
iron are not consumed. Iron is especially important during the third trimester. Iron is also important for the
normal development of the brain of an unborn child. Women who have been conscious of iron intake
during their pregnancy have given birth to children with above average intelligence and cognitive skills
more superior to their counterparts. Such women have also known to have saved their little ones from
developing anemia in their earlier years. Some of the important foods that are a rich source of iron in the
body are meat, poultry, eggs, green leafy vegetables like spinach , other food products like jaggery, dates
etc. It is also important to know that some food products like spinach and other soy products contain
oxalates that are inhibitors to absorption of iron in the body. Similarly dairy products contain calcium which again is an inhibitor of iron absorption in the body. It is therefore important that if these are being taken in,
they must be accompanied with enhancer foods that enhance the absorption of iron in the body. Some of
these enhancers are meat, poultry and eggs. One can also take in iron supplements. Iron supplements
should however be taken only after seeking medical advice of a qualified medical practitioner.