If you are experiencing fatigue during your pregnancy, you might be anemic. Here are helpful signs to look for and ways to treat anemia during pregnancy.
Anemia, or a lack of iron in the blood, affects about 20% of women during pregnancy. How will you know if you have anemia during your pregnancy?
Fatigue is typically the first sign. But many assume that all pregnant women feel tired, especially in the first and last trimesters.
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you think you might be experiencing anemia during your pregnancy:
- Do I feel tired frequently?
- Am I getting headaches?
- Do I have trouble concentrating?
- Do I feel listeless?
Of course the best way to know for sure if you have anemia during your pregnancy is to have a blood test at your provider’s office. If you are anemic, an iron supplement of 30 to 60mg is often recommended. You may also be encouraged to add additional iron-rich foods to your diet. Some of these foods include:
- Organ meats and other red meats (kidney, liver, lean beef, tuna)
- Beans, nuts and legumes (nuts, lentils)
- Whole or enriched breads and cereals (Total cereal is packed with iron)
- Dark green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, watercress)
- Black currants (canned)
- Dried fruits (ex. apricots, raisins, prunes, figs)
Your body can only absorb about 20-40% of the iron found in meats, while only 5-20% of the iron found in non-meat foods such as vegetables. If you are anemic during your pregnancy, be sure you have a combination of many iron rich foods to help you absorb as much iron as possible.
Ways to Increase Iron Absorption
Increase vitamin C – How much iron is actually absorbed depends on whether or not you have Vitamin C in your diet, as well as folic acid. Be sure as you increase your iron sources, you also increase foods in your diet that contain Vitamin C.
Caffeine reduces the absorption of iron, so plan to reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet.
Be sure to read on for more help with a pregnancy diet plan as well as special diets that might be lacking in iron.
Were you anemic? What foods helped you increase your iron? Tell us.