Anemia in pregnancy: Are you getting enough iron?

Anemia is a condition in which you do not have enough RBC to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues. When you are expecting, the risk of iron deficiency is more so your body needs double amount of iron than before. Most of the expecting women don't get enough of iron. Anemia can cause your baby to be born too small or too early. You may also feel tired and weak if you are suffering from this deficiency.

During your pregnancy, your body needs at least 27 milligrams (mg) of iron every day during your pregnancy.

How can you prevent Anemia? -Eat iron-rich foods such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dried beans and fortified grains. This form of iron is easily absorbed by your body than the iron in vegetables.

-Eat foods high in folic acid, such as dried fruit, dried beans, dark green leafy vegetables, wheat germ and orange juice. This is quite difficult for your body to absorb (EVM 2003).

-Include foods in your diet which are high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits (orange) and fresh, raw vegetables. Vitamin C helps your body to absorb the iron in food (EVM 2003, NHS Choices 2014, Pavord et al 2012).

-Eating iron-rich food or cooking with a cast-iron pan, which can pass a bit of extra iron into food, will also help. Your doctor will also recommend you to take iron supplements, multivitamin and mineral pill which contains extra folate.

What are the good sources of Iron? -Foods that provides good amount of iron - Chicken, Green peas, Tomato juice, Broccoli, 1/2 cup, Cooked Brussels sprouts, Dried apricots, Raspberries and Strawberries, 1 cup

-Foods that provide high amount of iron: Sirloin steak, Roast beef, Lean hamburger, Baked potato with skin, Kidney beans, Lima beans, Navy beans, Oatmeal, 1 cup cooked and Raisins.

Foods that provide the highest amount of Iron: Clams, Oysters, Spinach and Fortified cereal.

*Quantity of each food should be discussed with the doctor before consuming.*

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