Can I stop taking my iron pills?

Q: My iron pills make me constipated. Is it okay if I stop taking them during my pregnancy?

A: It's not a good idea, especially without your doctor's approval. Iron requirements skyrocket during pregnancy due to your baby's oxygen needs. Since many women don't get enough iron even before pregnancy (it's virtually impossible to get all the iron you need from food right now), the extra iron in your prenatal supplements is crucial.

Include lots of iron-rich foods in your diet such as beef, fortified breakfast cereal, and red kidney beans. You can also enhance your body's ability to absorb iron by including a vitamin-C-rich food or drink with your meal. To alleviate constipation, drink eight to 12 cups of fluid per day, eat plenty of high-fiber foods, and exercise regularly. --Sally Kuzemchak

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