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Published on December 05, 2017

Routinely check ferritin levels for healthier pregnancies

Measuring a woman's ferritin level during her first trimester can lead to a stronger pregnancy. By identifying patients at risk for anemia-related complications and proactively treating mother and baby, they can feel their best.

Wayne Bottner, MD, Gundersen Hematology

Wayne Bottner, MD, Gundersen Hematology

Checking your patients' ferritin levels is particularly important, because not all women who are iron deficient are anemic, says Wayne Bottner, MD, Hematology. Additionally, not all women who are iron deficient present with symptoms, or, if they have signs of iron deficiency, they may attribute them to side effects of their pregnancy and not raise them as issues.

If your patients' ferritin level is low, Dr. Bottner and Janet Torkelson, NP, Hematology, can help monitor their iron levels and avoid anemia-related complications later in their pregnancy or after giving birth.

Recommended treatment may include eating iron-rich foods, taking iron supplements or receiving intravenous iron in more serious cases or when more conservative methods are unable to correct a deficiency.

While not all women will have symptoms, common signs of iron deficiency include:

  • Fatigue
  • Craving ice or unusual smells
  • Leg cramps
  • Restless legs
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath with minimal exertion
  • Brittle hair or finger nails
  • Hair loss

For a consultation or referral appointment in La Crosse or Onalaska, contact Gundersen Hematology via MedLink at (800) 336-5465 or (608) 775-5465 (in La Crosse). Telemedicine consultations can be arranged.

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