Where are My Keys?

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Where are My Keys?

You feel as big as a house, you have to go to the bathroom every ten minutes, and-oh, dear-where did you put those keys?

You feel as big as a house, you have to go to the bathroom every ten minutes, and–oh, dear–where did you put those keys?

Your mental health, along with your body, is challenged with many changes during pregnancy. It’s no secret that your emotions are likely to be more delicate than usual, but your short-term memory may take a beating as well, especially in the third trimester.

Poor memory is no longer dismissed at just “one of those things” you must deal with during pregnancy. Medical researchers have investigated possible causes for maternal memory loss and one cause may be iron deficiency. If your body doesn’t have enough iron to fuel hemoglobin production for you and your baby, you may develop iron-deficiency anemia.

Some common symptoms of anemia include fatigue, weakness, irritability, and forgetfulness. From about the 20th week of pregnancy, the little life inside you is using up much of your iron intake, so break out the lentils and green leafy vegetables.

One of the other important functions of iron is the synthesis of melatonin and serotonin–both key substances for healthy brain function, particularly thinking processes, restful sleep, and memory. Therefore, iron deficiency may well be a contributing factor in what is often referred to as “mother’s brain.”

Researchers have found that the use of an iron-rich mineral water during pregnancy may help to prevent iron deficiency without the gastrointestinal side effects commonly associated with ingestion of iron tablets, according to a study published in the journal Clinical and Laboratory Haematology (April 2003).

In the study a team of obstetric researchers at the Royal-Jubilee Maternity Service, Belfast, investigated the tolerability, compliance, and change in iron levels among 102 randomly selected expectant mothers. The research subjects were anywhere from 22 to 28 weeks’ gestation and had not taken prophylactic iron tablets from 18 weeks of pregnancy onward.

The group was divided into two groups: one received a naturally occurring mineral water sourced from an iron-rich spa in the Welsh mountains of Snowdonia National Park; the other group received deionized water, which acted as a placebo.

The results, according to Dr. Dan McKenna who led the research team, are noteworthy. “The ferritin levels (iron stores) did not fall as sharply as placebo during the gestation period, and compliance in the group was comparable to the placebo group. Mean iron store levels dropped from 17.7 g/L at the start of the trial to 13.4 g/L at the end of the trial (a ferritin level of 12 g/L or below is indicative of deficient iron stores). In contrast, the mean ferritin levels in the placebo group dropped from 21.2 g/L at the outset to 10.4 g/L by the end of the trial.”

The randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study suggested the benefits, during pregnancy, of naturally occurring liquid iron supplementation.

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