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Is it mandatory to take iron supplements during pregnancy?

Q: I am a 25 years old female into my 14th week of pregnancy. I have been prescribed iron tablets (Merifol) and calcium supplements (Shelcal - 500mg) by my doctor but iron capsules do not suit me. That’s why, I have switched to Dexorange syrup but whenever I consume the syrup, I tend to vomit everything I have consumed. Is it mandatory to take iron even if my haemoglobin level is 13.9gm/dl?

A:First of all, you should report this matter to your gynecologist. Every pregnant woman needs enough iron and folic acid to meet the increased demands of pregnancy. Your Hb level is normal, which is good. There are various preparations of oral iron - some are delayed release, which do not cause gastric irritation and vomiting. However, if you really cannot tolerate iron tablets nor syrup, ensure you take adequate diet rich in iron. Examples are green leafy vegetables, brinjals, bananas (fruit, as well as raw for vegetable curry), jaggery, apples. You can take a multivitamin tablet that has adequate vitamins - especially B-complex, Vit C and folic acid. I suggest you have a formal consultation with an experienced dietician as well. Please recheck your hemoglobin at around 22 weeks and again around 30 weeks of pregnancy to ensure your hemoglobin is normal.

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