Did you know that you are more likely to become anemic during pregnancy? This is because your iron requirements jump during pregnancy. Iron is essential for making hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to other cells. During pregnancy the amount of blood in your body increases by 50%, you need the extra iron to make more hemoglobin for all the extra blood. You will also need more iron for your baby and the placenta.
Most women don’t start their pregnancy with enough iron, they are playing catch up from the beginning. If you get to low in iron and you are not making enough hemoglobin you become anemic.
If you have any of these conditions you are at a higher risk for being Iron deficient.
– If you are carrying more than one baby
– Sever morning sickness that causes frequent vomiting
– 2 or more pregnancies close together
– A diet that is not high in iron to begin with
The recommended daily amount of Iron is 18 milligrams, during pregnancy it is 27 milligrams. If your doctor finds you to be anemic he/she may put you on an iron supplement. Most prenatal vitamins have iron in them but sometimes you need a little more.
You can also try eating more red meat and shellfish. Non-animal iron-rich foods include beans, lentils, tofu, raisins, dates, prunes, figs, apricots, potatoes (leave the skin on), broccoli, beets, leafy green vegetables, whole grain breads, nuts and seeds, blackstrap molasses, oatmeal, and iron-fortified cereals.
It usually takes just a few months to resolve anemia once you have started a treatment plan and you can also take comfort in knowing that those who are anemic absorb more iron from there food than those who have a sufficient supply.