Your daily requirement for iron roughly doubles during pregnancy, to about 30 milligrams. Many women have a hard time getting enough of this essential mineral from their regular diet. If iron stores get very low, it's possible to develop anemia, a decrease in the concentration of hemoglobin (a protein located in red blood cells) in your blood stream. If your case is mild, you may not feel any symptoms, but if you're moderately or severely anemic, you may feel tired or weak, have fainting spells or heart palpitations, feel short of breath or dizzy, or look pale. Iron-deficiency anemia often sets in after about week 20, so talk to your healthcare provider if you feel these symptoms during the latter half of your pregnancy.
Many practitioners routinely prescribe iron supplements to their patients to prevent the onset of anemia. These supplements do the trick, but they can worsen nausea and/or vomiting or cause constipation in some women. Often, taking the pills just before bedtime reduces these side effects.
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