Having witnessed my wife birth 6 children there is no doubt that the pregnancy and birthing process is a complete miracle.

That said, there are many things we have learned and experienced that can make pregnancy and the months following birth much more enjoyable.

In the United States, 1 in 5 pregnant women develop iron deficiency by the end of their pregnancy.

Saudi Med J. 2015; 36(2): 146–149.

This is unfortunate and avoidable given all the resources available to women in the industrialized world.

Optimize Oxygen Levels

On the top of your list, you will want to make sure oxygen delivery to every cell in your body and that of the baby or babies (we were surprised with twins, so you never know) in your womb is optimal.

The reason this is a big deal in pregnancy is that the demand for oxygen increases dramatically during pregnancy. Your metabolic rate increases by 15% and the amount of oxygen consumed increases by 20%.

In addition to these changes, the amount of air entering and exiting your lungs increases by nearly 50% when you are pregnant. As I said, pregnancy is a miracle. It is amazing to think that all of these processes are just turned on automatically by pregnancy.

As the need for oxygen increases, the need for iron also doubles to enable the production of hemoglobin so that oxygen can be transported consistently throughout the body.

Optimize Iron

Your body uses iron to make this protein called hemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells and is responsible for carrying oxygen to your entire body.

Most women will need about 30mg of elemental iron a day during pregnancy to make up for the increased demand produced by the increased blood volume, developing baby, and placenta.

Depending on your iron levels going into pregnancy or when you started taking iron related to your pregnancy, you may require more to meet the needs of your body.