Do you need iron supplements after delivery?
August 9, 2020
Iron deficiency causes anaemia, a condition in which you have a low number of red blood cells, (RBC). This leads to low levels of haemoglobin, the red substance in the RBC. Haemoglobin carries oxygen to all parts of your body. If you have anaemia, your tissues and organs will not receive the required amount of oxygen to function well. This will leave you weak, fatigued and restless.
Anaemia is a serious problem after delivery
If you suffered from low RBC count during pregnancy, then you are at risk of developing postpartum anaemia( anaemia you develop after delivery). Major bleeding during delivery will further deplete your RBC level. If your haemoglobin level is less than 110g/L one week after pregnancy and120g/L on the 8th week, you are suffering from postpartum anaemia.
Symptoms of Postpartum anaemia are:
- Fatigue / tiredness / weakness
- Pale skin
- Depression / irritation / mood swings
- Low milk production leading to low weight gain in babies
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
- Decrease in immunity
Effects of low iron and anaemia after delivery
If you suffer from postpartum anaemia, your health and your baby’s will be affected. You may suffer from clogged milk ducts, thrush, delayed healing of nipples and mastitis.
You will produce lower volume of milk and its nutrient content will also be low. This will affect your baby whose weight gain will not match the age. You may have to wean your baby sooner and your baby may also suffer from sleeping problems.
Preventing postpartum iron deficiency
- Iron supplements
You will be prescribed iron supplements after delivery. Take the prescribed tablets, capsules or tonic regularly.
- Include iron rich foods such as:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Beans, peas, lentils, cereals
- Fruits and vegetables
- Include citrus fruits
Vitamin C in Citrus fruits will increase the absorption of iron by your body. Include oranges, sweet lime, lemon etc. in your diet.
- Reduce intake of tea
Tannin in tea inhibits absorption of iron, so limit your daily intake of tea.
Avoid milk or calcium rich products with iron tablet as it reduces the absorption.
Iron plays an important role in keeping you and your baby healthy. A good diet filled with iron rich foods and regular iron supplements advised by your doctor will prevent postpartum anaemia.
If you require diet counselling or lactation advice, contact Dr. Rela Hospital, a baby friendly hospital that lays special emphasis on mother and baby wellness. We will help you through your initial breastfeeding days to establish the best breastfeeding practices.