Iron For Pregnancy: How Much Is Enough?

Expecting moms like you need about two times that the amount of iron that you usually need prior to pregnancy. As you might have already noted, your baby depends on you for its nourishment. Hence, your body uses more iron to make extra blood that will support your baby’s nutritional needs. Even while most pregnant women are aware of this, still about half of the population of pregnant women do not get enough of this essential mineral.

Where can you get iron for pregnancy?

Consuming food sources that are rich in iron as well as taking iron supplements that your primary health provider may recommend can keep you from an insufficient amount of iron in your body. Eating iron-rich foods and taking extra iron as your doctor recommends can help your body maintain a sufficient amount of iron.

Why do you need iron?

The body needs iron to produce extra blood (hemoglobin) that you and your baby need during pregnancy. Iron is also needed to transport oxygen from the lungs to the other parts of your body and also to your baby’s body. With a sufficient level of iron in your body, you will feel mentally and physically alert.

Making sure that your body is receiving enough iron can prevent the development of a health condition known as iron deficiency anemia. This happens when there are very few red blood cells in the body, making you feel too exhausted most of the time. This condition can also result in having an unhealthy pregnancy as well as early childbirth.

What is the recommended daily iron intake?

The daily recommended iron intake for expecting moms like you is about 27 milligrams (mg) of every day during your pregnancy. However, if you’re breastfeeding, you need to get around 9 mg of iron every day if you are about 19 years old or older. Those are breastfeeding and are aged 18 and below will need about 10 mg of iron every day.

When is the best time to take iron supplements?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends to start taking a low-dose iron supplement (30 mg each day) during your first prenatal appointment. Most prenatal vitamins provide this amount of iron for the pregnant women.

What foods are rich sources of iron?

Animal-based foods like meat, poultry, as well as plant-based foods are rich in iron content. Iron supplements are also adequate sources of this essential mineral. Iron present in these food sources are classified into two types:

  • Heme iron. This is the type of iron that you can get from animals. This is also the type of iron that your body absorbs easily. You get heme iron from beef, chicken, turkey, pork, and other animal meat. Red meat has a higher iron content, however.
  • Non-heme iron. This type of iron is what you get from plant-based foods like beans, spinach, tofu, whole grain and iron-fortified bread, as well as ready-to-eat-cereals that are made with iron.

It may not be easy to have the right level of iron in the body during pregnancy. This is especially true for those who have special concerns during pregnancy. Even if you try to consume the healthiest food available or are following a healthy diet, you may still have an insufficient amount of iron that your developing baby requires.

If you have an aversion to foods that are rich in iron, as well as if you have morning sickness and are not getting enough rest at night because of your pregnancy, then you may still need supplementation to achieve a sufficient level of iron that you and your baby’s bodies can use.

During prenatal visits, it is best that you inform your doctor of your condition. He may also require you to undergo a blood test or a ferritin test to determine the iron level in your body.

Do you need to take iron supplements?

Taking an iron supplement can be another way to get enough iron each day. Most prenatal vitamins contain the recommended amount of iron. However, your primary health provider will still check your iron levels from time to time. If he/she takes note that your iron level is below the acceptable level, you may be advised to take an extra iron supplement.

Does taking any iron supplements create any side effect?

Doctors recommend that pregnant women like you take the recommended amount each day for a healthy pregnancy. Taking more than the daily allocated amount may cause  intoxication. This may be accompanied by symptoms like nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. Serious cases of iron overdose may result to dizziness, drowsiness, fast or weak pulse, and even a low blood pressure.

For an iron supplement that you may want to take, always consult your doctor to ensure that you get to take the best iron supplement for pregnancy.

Other foods that you need to take while taking iron supplements

Eating foods that contain vitamin C, like tomatoes and oranges will also help in the absorption of iron from the foods that are rich in this essential mineral. Vitamin C helps the body to absorb non-heme iron when the two are taken together during a meal.

While there are foods that supports absorption of iron in the body, there are foods that can prevent the body from absorbing the same. Coffee, tea, milk, whole grains, and dairy products will inhibit absorption of iron in the body.


Pregnancy demands much from the expectant mother. It is your responsibility to know what will best benefit your health and your baby’s. Do not skip a meeting with your doctor and allow him/her to know every development in your condition. You will also need to notify your significant others or your secondary health providers of the doctor’s recommendation so that they can also remind you from time to time of things that will benefit you and your baby during pregnancy.

Why Do You Need To Use  Birthing Ball For Pregnancy

If you are planning to have a natural birth, there are so many things that can help you have a quicker and easier delivery. One of the options that can help you do that is to have the best birth ball for pregnancy.

What is a birthing ball?

What is a birthing ball

A birthing ball or a birth ball is actually the same as the fitness or exercise ball that you may already have seen or used for exercising. Many have found using the birthing ball to ease the pain that the growing baby may create on the lower back. Studies also indicate that exercising with a birth ball also encourages the optimal positioning of the baby resulting in a faster and easier delivery. Many have used it to help in child delivery, labor, and, even in postpartum.

If ever you are planning to use a birth ball, you may need to consider your physical limits, however. If you have any health concerns or may feel dizzy while doing exercises, do not push yourself. Instead, call or consult your doctor right away.

What benefits will you get with a birthing ball?

What benefits will you get with a birthing ball

Doing simple exercises using a birthing ball while you are pregnant may help in the following manner:

  1. During pregnancy. It may help ease out back pains. Exercising with the birth ball can also help place the baby in the most suitable position for child delivery. Continuous exercises can help strengthen the core muscles and help with balance. It can also help train your body to breathe properly especially during the third trimester.
  2. During labor. Using the birthing ball during labor can help open up the pelvic area and allow the baby to go further down the birth canal. It also results in an increased blood flow to the uterus. As the baby nears the birth canal and is in the optimal fetal position for delivery, it will help shorten the labor period as well as lessen labor pains.
  3. After pregnancy. Using the birth ball after child delivery can help relieve back, hip, and pelvic pain. It can also help shorten the recovery period. You can also do simple exercises with your newborn on the ball and enjoy bonding moments with your new bundle of joy.

How to determine the best birth ball for pregnancy?

Birthing balls can be purchased at your local stores or online. When looking for the best birthing ball, make sure to consider the following tips:

  1. Most fitness or birth balls are made with latex materials. If you are allergic to latex, make sure you buy one that is latex-free
  2. Buy one that is made of anti-burst materials.
  3. The ball should about 65cm for 5ft 8in or shorter, and 75 cm for 5ft 9in or taller.
  4. Make sure that the ball can support all of your weight when you are sitting on it. A safe ball should be able to support weight up to about 300kg (661) pounds.
  5. Choose one that is of high-quality. Remember that you will have all of your weight on the ball. It should be durable enough to be able to provide maximum support while you are doing pregnancy exercises.

You can start using a birth ball as early as the first trimester. This will allow you to build your core muscles. However, many found using the ball around the beginning of the 32nd week of pregnancy to be more beneficial. Doing simple exercises around this time can help relieve back pains. It can also encourage proper breathing which is a common concern during this period.

Simple Exercises With A Birthing Ball

Simple Exercises With A Birthing Ball

Before you start with any exercise, you need to make sure that you have already warmed up. Your mind and body should be ready, so it will be easy for you to balance yourself while using or in the birth ball.

  1. Sit on the birth ball. Many expecting mothers have gladly swapped the chair that they frequently used with a birthing ball. Sitting on it will allow your body to be cautious of how body balances. It will encourage your back, abdominal and leg muscles to be activated while you are sitting on the ball.
  2. Do ab crunches. While sitting upright on the ball, walk your feet forward, keeping your feet in front of your knees. Take small steps until your lower back is resting against the ball. Keep feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Your hips should also remain lower than your shoulders while your body should be at an incline. Then, place your hands behind your head. Exhale, then contract your abs in toward the spine and lift your head. Then, return to an inclined position. Repeat. Once done with complete reps, walk your feet back to a sitting position.
  3. Do wall squats with the birthing ball. Place the birthing ball between your lower back and the wall. Then, lean against the ball and walk your feet out until they are in front of your belly. Place your hand on your thighs then bend your knees slowly into a squatting position. Keep your knees align with your ankles and up to about the height of that of your hips.
  4. Bounce while sitting on the birth ball. Simply bouncing on the birthing ball may help provide counter pressure that you need during labor. This exercise strengthens the legs and improves your ability to balance during pregnancy.

Using The Birthing ball During delivery

Using The Birthing ball During delivery

As you can see, a birth ball is more than just a piece of fitness equipment. Some have even used a birth ball to actually give birth. Some expectant women like the soft pressure of the ball while they are pushing. If you opt to do this, your health care provider will require someone to provide support (a doula or your husband, perhaps) behind you while you push so that you can lean back and allow your baby to come out. Sitting farther forward on the ball with your lower back on the ball and in a squatting position proves to be a more comfortable position for those who opted to use the birth ball during delivery. Your care provider will have to place the ball against a wall for stability.

Here’s Khloe Kardashian rocking hers even though she is not in labor. If you can find yours soon you will be loving that birth ball even more like her.

Reasons Why You Should Use A Belly Band For Pregnancy

Soon you will meet your bundle of joy. However, it will take several months of body pains and unexpected changes that you still would have to go through before that. All these pregnancy-related experience are quite serious matters that you need to address. For all these, you will need any help that can be extended to you. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as immunity from these unnecessary woes.

One that could be a heaven-sent help that you can have is a belly band for pregnancy. It will make every waking hour throughout your pregnancy a little bit easier to bear. This piece of maternity garment can be really good at helping ease out pain. It can also provide an economical and practical pregnant belly and lower back support. With the regular and proper use of the belly bad, going through your daily routines will be a lot easier. It can also be a great assistant when you need to get back into shape after giving birth.

Belly Bands vs. Belly Belts

Belly Bands

You should not mistake a belly band from a belly belt, however. Though they may look somewhat the same, they do have a number of differences. Both of these pieces of pregnancy clothing may support the baby belly and the back, but it’s the belly band that can hold your pants up. In addition to this, the belly belt is made of a narrower but thicker material. The belly band, on the other hand, is wider and is made of thinner and more elastic material. The design of these maternity pieces also makes the difference. A maternity band is made to be more elastic in the belly area than on the sides and at the back.

Other than making a pregnant woman look better even with a bulging tummy, the belly belt does more.

  1. It eases body pain. Life can be extra challenging when you are expecting a child. Imagine the added weight that can make moving about more difficult? Add this up to all other pregnancy-related issues that you are already experiencing. Sometimes, it really sucks. But you have to endure this for it is the only way to enjoy a lifetime of joy once your new bundle of joy arrives.

This is just of the studies that prove that experiencing a lot of body pain is common in expecting mothers. According to the study, about 71% of women experience low back pain and around 65% experiences pelvic girdle pain. Some of the pregnancy pains that a pregnant mother experiences are identified as the sacroiliac (SI) joint pain and the round ligament pain.

The SI joint pain is characterized by a “sharp, stabbing pain that radiates from your hips and pelvis, up to the lower back, and down to the thighs.” Not only pregnant women report to having this kind of back pain. A study reveals that 15 and 30% of individuals with chronic lower back pain experience SI joint pain. Pregnant women release a hormone called relaxin that makes the SI joints more elastic yet more unstable, causing the condition.

The round ligament pain is also caused by the extra weight from the baby and the pressure on the ligaments supporting the ligaments. Wearing the belly band will help distribute the weight of the baby inside the tummy. This can drastically remove the pressure on the round ligament and lessen the pain.

  1. It helps maintain a better posture. The weight of the baby inside your belly may cause you to overextend the lower back. Wearing a belly band will provide external cues for your body to correct your posture. This may also relieve you of any possible body pain that slouching or improper posture may create.
  2. It will allow you to go about your daily task more comfortably. Without a belly band to support your growing belly and your lower back, it may be a tedious task to participate in any activity. Simple daily activities like walking or exercising will be quite taxing. Inactivity during pregnancy may cause health issues like depression, hypertension, and diabetes. To make it easier for you to engage in simple daily activities and lessen the pain that you may have while participating in these activities, wear a belt band.
  3. It can be worn for support after pregnancy. After delivering the baby, you may feel a decrease in your core strength. A belly band can provide you the support that your body needs while recovering after giving birth. It also helps ease the discomfort that you may be feeling. Wearing a belly band will also provide support to any abdominal muscles that are on the process of healing after experiencing diastasis recti.

These reasons should also convince you to find the best belly band as well. Don’t settle for the cheapest version of what could provide you and your baby a lasting benefit. Opt for a brand and a product that is durable, comfortable, ease pressure, has an adjustable closure and is easy to clean.

Things to remember when wearing a belly band for pregnancy.

Things to remember when wearing a belly band for pregnancy

If it is your first time to wear a belly band, you may need to consider these things to avoid over-dependence on the band.

  1. Wear the band for utmost three hours at a time.
  2. Engage in simple exercises while wearing a belly band to strengthen the core muscles of the body.
  3. Do not consider a belly band as a permanent fix to an internal condition. Always require the advice of an expert to address any recurring pain that you may be having even after giving birth.
  4. Consult your primary health provider if you need to use a belly band. Your doctor will assess your overall health. If you have any existing condition that will be adversely affected by wearing a belly band, he will recommend a better option.

There are several brands offering belly bands and belly belts. Make sure that you make a due diligence to research on related reviews so you will be able to choose the best product to address your need.


  •  What would your life look like if you were  suddenly not here tomorrow?
  • Would you be able to pick up the financial pieces should your spouse die unexpectedly?
  • Do you know where to start?
  •  If something happened to you and your spouse, would someone be able to get their arms around all your financial needs and final arrangements?
  • What about your surviving children?
  • What about your surviving spouse?
  • Who will pick up the pieces in your absence?
  • Is all of your vital information centralized to ensure that the people left behind are able to minimize their stress as they are in the midst of       devastating grief?
  • Are you insured? Do you have sufficient coverage?
  • Does your spouse know who your insurance agent is? Where your policies  located?

My Plan B Handbook

The “My Plan B Handbook” was written as a result of my own experience with sudden loss.  I realized my husband and I had filed in our brains the necessary day-to-day information such as pass codes, financial information, final wishes and more but we hadn’t recorded and stored anything in one place. When I suddenly found myself as a single parent, I realized no one else had  access to this information. I saw a need to put my important information in writing and keep in a central location for others to use right away in the case of my unexpected death.

Who would know all the details of my life in case something happened to me? How would they understand what needed to be done and pick up the pieces with as little stress as possible?

I learned early on in this experience that many people have not started down the path of preparedness and discussion. My sudden loss was a wake-up call to those around me. I was fortunate because we had a plan. However, even with a plan, it took months of effort to handle all that was required, and I found it overwhelming. Despite our plans, the piece I didn’t have was a central location for the information.

Everyone needs a personal ‘Plan B’.  The “My Plan B Handbook” will get you started.  It will provide a roadmap for putting together a back- up plan for researching and purchasing life insurance, gathering medical and financial records, and arranging for guardianship. This book breaks down each step so people feel empowered, not overwhelmed.  With this handbook, I hope to prompt discussions that are necessary, but not always easy. It is my wish for you to have a plan, and then to live fully in every moment.


How Insured Are You? Unexpected Expenses in the Event of Death:

• Medical/Hospital
• Funeral
• Leave of absence from work
• Psychological for yourself, children, or both
• Health care
• Child care

Sudden Child Care Needs:

If your spouse that died was a stay at home parent, you will need to pay out-of-pocket child care. Do you know what the average cost is?

If you are the surviving spouse and full-time childcare, you will need help (regular sitter, nanny, childcare).

Perhaps you will have to go back to work?

Did you know for women who have left the job force, for every year away from your career it will take an average 4-5 years to earn what you were originally making.

Insurance Worksheet:


Monthly payments

•debt payments eg. credit cards
•car payments
•outstanding loans
•child care
•school tuition
•health care premiums

Quarterly Payments

•Car Insurance(s)
•Property Taxes
•Mortgage Insurance

Payoff Amounts



My story could be anyone’s story and is the story of many people I have met through this experience. I encourage you to read the stories of previous Embrace Life honorees, which you’ll find on the “Media”.  This will give you a better insight into the lives of many young, vibrant individuals who also experienced sudden and unexpected losses of loved ones.

When you remove the stress caused by not being prepared financially and not having a ”Plan B”  for the unexpected, you remove the weight that causes you to feel like you are drowning. Imagine the feeling of trying to walk through deep fine sand (grief) which comes up to your knees. Now imagine trying to walk through that same deep, fine sand but now it is well above your knees (financial stress) and you no longer feel as if you can even move through the sand. The difference between someone with a plan and someone unprepared is this: When you have a plan and life insurance, the partner that is left behind is still able to make choices. You still control financial decisions for you and your family. This means a great deal when you feel like your control and hope are taken away in a split second.

A roadmap for the future…

The surviving partner needs a road map. The sudden death of a partner is like losing control of your car and plummeting off the side of a cliff. You have no way to comprehend what just happened, no idea how or where to get back on the road. Having a “Plan B” in place provides an invaluable starting point, should your family be blindsided by sudden tragedy.

Your children…

Imagine your children’s grief if they lose everything they know because of the loss of a parent(s). In addition to the sorrow of losing a parent(s), children may be forced to move and leave their schools, friends, and home. They are left with the insecurity and stress of not knowing what the future holds. Children need stability, especially during a time of loss. They need to know that there is a plan. A plan provides some stability in a devastating time.

One step at a time…

The emotional part of your journey will be different when you remove the financial stress and instead focus on healing yourself and your family. The grieving process requires all your strength, putting one foot in front of the other and making it through one more day. Eventually, it will get easier and your burden will lessen.


My goal is to bring awareness, inspire and motivate individuals to have a ‘Plan B’ in place in case of the unthinkable loss of a spouse, yourself, or both.” – Jeannine McCurrie, Embrace Life Award Honoree, 2010

My brother was murdered at the age of 33, leaving behind a wife and three children, all under the age of 7. Two years later my father died at the age of 64 from health issues which were a result of being a smoker for over 45 years. He suffered from influenza, hypertension, strokes and dementia.  I hoped that if there was a grief score card that existed, perhaps mine had reached its limit.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.

September 18, 2008, my husband Darin was admitted to emergency as a result of being treated for Bronchitis and he was rapidly getting worse. It was in the emergency room that he was diagnosed with fluid around his heart and blood clots in his legs and lungs. He had portions of his lung that was no longer functioning and a CT scan which indicated suspicion of cancer. On September 19, 2008, while in surgery, a blood clot took his life. My husband was 37 years old, our daughter was 4 and our son, just 8 months.