During pregnancy, the heart works harder in order to provide adequate nourishment to the fetus. The body increases its blood volume by 30-50%.Due to this increase in blood volume, it is important for pregnant women to increase their intake of folic acid and iron through healthy diet.
Anemia is a condition in which the body lacks sufficient amounts of red blood cells, which are needed to carry oxygen through the body. While there are several causes of anemia, iron deficiency is the most common. When iron levels are low, the red blood cells are unable to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. Although it is normal to experience mild anemia during pregnancy due to increased blood volume, severe anemia may put you and your baby at risk of premature delivery and low birth weight.
Symptoms of anemia during pregnancy may include the following:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty concentrating
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin
- Chest pain
- Cold hands and feet
Treat Iron Deficiency Naturally During Pregnancy:
If you suspect that you may have an iron deficiency, it is important to see your doctor before trying to self-diagnose. Overdosing on iron supplements can be dangerous, potentially causing liver damage amongst other problems. You need to include more iron-rich foods in your diet. These include dark green leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach), red meat, poultry, pork, beans, peas, dried fruit, and iron-fortified bread, cereal, and pasta.
Taking a vitamin C supplement or eating foods containing vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, melon, leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, and bell peppers, may also aid in iron absorption.Iron found in plants is not as readily absorbed as iron found in meat. As such, when eating iron-rich plants, it is best to eat foods containing vitamin C at the same meal to aid in iron absorption. However, some individuals may not be able to easily absorb iron from food, so iron supplementation may still be recommended.