Iron needs during pregnancy includes basal iron requirements of the woman and additonal requirements of pregnancy. Increased iron during pregnancy is necessary for :
- For foetal growth
- Expansion of maternal tissues including the red cell mass
- Iron content of placenta
- The blood losses during parturition
- Additional iron is also required to build stores of iron in fetal liver to last for about 4-6 months after birth, since babyâ€™s first food milk is deficit in iron.
According to ICMR (1990), for a woman whose body weight is 50 kg, basal iron requirement is 14 micro gram/kgbody weight/day. In addition to the normal basal requirements, 46micro gram/kgbody weight/day is also required for meeting the extra needs of pregnancy. Thus, the total daily iron requirement during this period is 60micro gram/kg/day, i.e., 3mg of iron/day. On an average, dietary iron absorption during pregnancy on a mixed cereal diet is 8%. Therefore, ICMR has recommended an amount of 38 mg dietary iron/day.