An unborn baby is an extremely delicate and vulnerable creature, as its young organs have not yet fully formed or developed and so the entire growth process that the fetus is undergoing will have to be carefully balanced and regulated so as to avoid the possibility of any long term, permanent damage sustained to the baby. Even a minor overdose of a particular nutrient or mineral which outside pregnancy would be beneficial, can prove to be extremely dangerous to the fetus as a whole.
During pregnancy, the mother will be at a much higher risk of suffering from anemia and the reason for this is that the baby will effectively leech the iron in the bloodstream from the mother, until it has the amount it requires. Given the fact that the baby will not have its lungs and heart fully formed yet, this means that the iron provided by the mother will then be used to allow for the transport of oxygen around the various cells of the body.
Therefore, the pregnant mother must ensure that she gets plenty of iron in her diet to prevent maternal anemia (the medical term used to refer to the process whereby the pregnant female will develop anemia) as well as anemia endured by the child.
What are the best sources of iron for the pregnant female?
Scientists classify iron that is ingested from the diet into two broad categories and these are as follows:
Animal based iron sources, known as “heme”.
Planted based iron sources, known as “non-heme.”
Without getting too bogged down in a long-winded, scientific analysis of the precise nature of these two types of iron, it will suffice to say that the human body will be able to absorb the heme-based iron source much more readily and easily than non-heme iron. In addition, it is worth noting that the amount of iron that is actually returned from non-heme sources is greatly reduced, by virtue of the fact that their a higher degree of wastage involved.
Lean meats, such as chicken and fish are the best sources of heme iron as they are low in saturated fats.
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