Iron deficiency

Research funded by the University of Oxford has revealed iron deficiency anaemia in early pregnancy could significantly increase the risk of the baby developing serious health conditions such as congenital heart disease.

Further findings suggest that the risks of having a child with congenital heart disease could be increased up to threefold in women who have low iron during early pregnancy.

What Is Iron Deficiency Anaemia?

Iron deficiency anaemia is a condition caused by a lack of red blood cells or haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is a protein found within red blood cells which plays a vital role as it helps to transport oxygen from the lungs and carries it around the body. A key ingredient in the production of haemoglobin is iron. So if there isn’t enough stored around the body then the amount of haemoglobin drops meaning less circulating oxygen is present.

In the UK, the most common reason for developing anaemia is not having enough iron within the body.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anaemia

The common symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia are tiredness, breathlessness, heart palpitations, weakness, headache, dizziness, chest pain and irritability.

How Is Iron Deficiency Detected?

Fortunately, iron deficiency anaemia is very easy to measure and can be detected by a simple blood test which can detect your haemoglobin levels within the blood.

Is There Any Treatment for Iron Deficiency Anaemia?

A healthy balanced diet is vital to ensure that you digest optimum levels of iron. Iron is most easily absorbed through red meat, fish, poultry, lentils, fortified cereals and green leafy vegetables such as spinach. Vitamin C can also help your body to absorb iron from food which can be found in orange juice and a range of fruits and vegetables.

Iron supplements are often very effective at replacing the iron needed to gain optimum haemoglobin levels which come in both tablet and liquid formulations.

You can find more information on iron-rich foods and foods to avoid here.

The Next Steps

It is vitally important that you speak to a trained health professional before making any changes to your diet or supplement regime. Here at SureScan, we can put your mind at rest by checking your Haemoglobin levels as part of a Well Woman check.

You can find out more information about our Well Woman Clinic and check service at SureScan here or get in touch to book an appointment with one of our dedicated consultant gynaecologists.