You need iron to make hemoglobin, the part of each red blood cell that carries oxygen throughout the body.
More women than men are iron-deficient, which is common during pregnancy. You have iron-deficiency anemia when your body does not make enough healthy red blood cells or the blood cells do not work properly.
This can happen when you do not have enough iron in your body. Women who are pregnant and who have heavy periods are more likely to develop iron-deficiency anemia.
Iron-deficiency anemia often develops gradually and initially may lack symptoms. As time goes on, the U.S. Office on Women’s Health says you may notice one or more of these symptoms:
- Low body temperature.
- Pale skin.
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat.
- Shortness of breath or chest pain, especially with physical activity.
- Brittle nails.
- Pica (unusual cravings for ice, very cold drinks, or non-food items such as dirt or paper).