Iron and calcium are given during pregnancy to provide for the needs of the growing baby.
Iron is used to produce haemoglobin,the substance in RBC that carries oxygen to various organs.It also increases immunity of body.Blood volume increases in pregnancy,so do the iron needs.Recommended daily allowance of iron is approximately 30 mg per day which amount to 3-4 servings of iron rich food.
As Indian diet is mostly vegetarian which is low in iron we have a very high prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia,more so in females.Anaemia can cause a lot of complications in both you and your baby-lowbirth weight, premature birth, tiredness, lethargy, irritability, depression, Operative delivery, post partum haemorrhage, blood transfusion to list a few.
Indian council of medical research recommends all pregnant women to have iron supplements- 100mg of iron daily for at least 100 days after nausea and vomitings settle down and continue while breastfeeding also.Your haemoglobin levels should be maintained above 11gm% throughout pregnancy.For maintenance 1 tablet/day is given. If it is already low, therapeutic dose 2-3 tablets/day in divided doses is given.
Your diet should also be rich in iron as follows-
To conclude,it is best to take iron and calcium in pregnancy under the guidance of a qualified doctor.Iron tablets preferably after breakfast with lime water or orange juice and calcium after dinner.