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  • 3/12/2011

Mom’s iron, kid’s birth weight linked


Women who receive sufficient amounts of iron in the first three months of pregnancy are more likely to give birth to heavier infants, a new study says.

The study of 1,300 pregnant women showed that the higher total iron intake during the first trimester of pregnancy positively influences the infant’s birth weight.

The findings published in the Human Reproduction suggested that the relation is stronger in women with adequate intake of vitamin C, which is known to enhance iron absorption from non-meat sources.

"Pregnancy places stress on the body and women may need to make changes to their diet to meet the increased demand for iron. Our study shows that the majority of pregnant women are not meeting the iron intake recommendations for women of childbearing age in the UK,” said senior researcher Nisreen Alwan from the University of Leeds.

Iron deficiency is a common problem during pregnancy, especially in developing countries. The condition is linked to a number of outcomes such as low birth-weight, premature birth and impaired neurological development, all of which may trigger health and developmental problems later on in life.

US guidelines recommend pregnant women to receive 27 milligrams of iron each day, while in the UK the standard suggestion is as low as 15 milligrams daily.

The main dietary iron comes in two forms including hem, and non-hem. The sources of non-hem iron, which is less readily absorbed by the body than hem iron, include vegetables, beans and pulses. However, hem iron is found in meat and fish especially the red meat.

"Conflicting information about which foods to eat can be confusing so it’s really important that pregnant women are given clear messages. They need to be told not only about the best sources of dietary iron, but also how they can maximize the benefits by eating a varied diet including vitamin C-rich fruit and vegetables so they can make informed choices," Alwan said.

"Drinking a glass of fresh orange juice alongside your beans on toast is one example of how you can increase the amount of iron absorbed," she added.

The current study does not necessarily mean women should take iron supplements during pregnancy. As a result, scientists warned about negative outcome of excessive amounts of supplements especially during pregnancy.

Source: presstv.ir

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