Anemia in pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Anemia during pregnancy

Your iron requirements go up significantly when you're pregnant. Iron is essential for making haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to other cells.

What is anemia in pregnancy?

Anemia is a condition where there is not enough production of healthy red blood cells to provide oxygen to tissues in the body. When these tissues do not receive requisite amount of oxygen, critical organs could malfunction. During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases. You also need extra iron for your growing baby and placenta.

Of course, your pregnancy is the reason why your iron needs shoot up by a third to 27 milligrams (mg) per day. Iron is not easy to consume wholesomely only through food unless you’re a meat eater. Therefore, no matter what , it is recommended that pregnant women take a daily supplement of 30 mg of iron anyway.

Anaemia can also be a side effect from not getting enough Vitamin B12 or folic acid or, or by losing a lot of blood, or from inherited blood disorders such as sickle cell anaemia disease.

Symptoms Of Anemia in Pregnancy

The common symptoms of anemia in pregnancy are usually mild at first and could go unnoticed. However, once it progresses, the symptoms could worsen. You must note that some of these symptoms could be due to causes other than anemia, so so you must reach out to your doctor for advice. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble focusing
  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pale skin, lips, and nails
  • Cold extremities

Treatment of anemia during pregnancy

Anemia during pregnancy can easily be treated by adding iron or vitamin supplements to your daily routine. Always take your prenatal vitamin regularly and eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of - red meat, poultry, and shellfish - all which are good sources. Vegetarian iron-foods include beans, tofu, lentils, raisins, dates, figs, prunes, apricots, potatoes (with the skin on), beets, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, whole grain breads, nuts and seeds, oatmeal, and iron-fortified cereals. However, it is important to remember that the body absorbs the iron from animal sources more readily than from non-animal sources.

Nutrients that hamper your body's ability to absorb iron

Calcium interferes with the absorption of iron in your body. So, if you're taking calcium supplements or eating a calcium-rich food, don't consume iron-rich foods or a supplement at the same time. So consider, drinking milk between meals, instead.

Nutrients that encourage your body absorb iron

Vitamin C is a good buddy to iron. Eating or drinking something rich in vitamin C while you have to take your iron supplement, can help your body absorb significantly more iron even from non-animal sources.