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Treat Iron Deficiency Naturally During | Anemia Pregnancy

What are the symptoms of anemia during pregnancy?

The Real Mom’s Guide 

Pale skin, lips, nails, palms of hands, or underside of the eyelids.

Feeling tired.

Sensation of spinning (vertigo) or dizziness.

Labored breathing.

Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia).

Trouble concentrating.

Who is at risk for anemia during pregnancy?

Have 2 pregnancies close together.

Are pregnant with twins or more.

Have vomiting often because of morning sickness.

Are not getting enough iron from their diet and prenatal 

vitamins.

Had heavy periods before pregnancy.

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 What causes anemia during pregnancy?

You can get several kinds of anemia during pregnancy. The cause varies based on the type. 

Anemia of pregnancy. During pregnancy, the volume of blood increases. 

This means more iron and vitamins are needed to make more red blood cells. If you don’t have enough iron, it can cause anemia. It’s not considered abnormal unless your red blood cell count falls too low. 

Iron-deficiency anemia. During pregnancy, your baby uses your red blood cells for growth and development, especially in the last 3 months of pregnancy.

 If you have extra red blood cells stored in your bone marrow before you get pregnant, your body can use those stores during pregnancy.
 Women who don’t have enough iron stores can get iron-deficiency anemia. This is the most common type of anemia in pregnancy.
 

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Good nutrition before getting pregnant is important to help build up these stores.

Vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is important in making red blood cells and protein. Eating food that comes from animals, such as milk, eggs, meats, and poultry, can prevent vitamin B12 deficiency. 

Women who don’t eat any foods that come from animals (vegans) are most likely to get vitamin B12 deficiency. Strict vegans often need to get vitamin B12 shots during pregnancy.

 Folate deficiency. Folate (folic acid) is a B vitamin that works with iron to help with cell growth. If you don’t get enough folate during pregnancy, you could get iron deficiency.
 Folic acid helps cut the risk of having a baby with certain birth defects of the brain and spinal cord if it’s taken before getting pregnant and in early pregnancy.
 
Can anemia during pregnancy be prevented?

Good pre-pregnancy nutrition not only helps prevent anemia, but also helps build other nutritional stores in your body.

 

Eating a healthy, balanced diet before and during pregnancy helps keep up your levels of iron and other important nutrients needed for your growing baby.

 

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Good food sources of iron include:

 Meats. Beef, pork, lamb, liver, and other organ meats.
 Poultry. Chicken, duck, turkey, and liver, especially dark meat.
 Fish. Shellfish, including (fully-cooked) clams, mussels, and oysters are good.
 So are sardines and anchovies. The FDA recommends that pregnant women eat 8 to 12 ounces per week of fish that are lower in mercury.
 

These include salmon, shrimp, pollock, cod, tilapia, tuna (light canned), and catfish. Don’t eat fish with high levels of mercury, such as tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel. Limit white (albacore) tuna to only 6 ounces per week.

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Leafy greens of the cabbage family. These include broccoli, kale, turnip greens, and collards.

 Legumes. Lima beans and green peas; dry beans and peas, such as pinto beans, black-eyed peas, and canned baked beans.
 

Yeast-leavened whole-wheat bread and rolls.

 Iron-enriched white bread, pasta, rice, and cereals.
 Leafy, dark green vegetables.
 Dried beans and peas.
 Citrus fruits and juices and most berries.
 Fortified breakfast cereals.
 Enriched grain products.

Effects of Anemia During Pregnancy
The hemoglobin in red blood cells plays an important role in carrying oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues. During pregnancy, these small cells also carry oxygen to a woman’s growing baby. To support the needs of her baby, a woman’s blood volume will increase 30 – 50 percent during pregnancy.1 It makes sense that pregnant women must obtain more nutrients so their bodies can support this increase and function at optimal levels.

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Pregnant women who do not get the nutrients they need during pregnancy may become anemic. In the early stages of anemia, there may be no obvious symptoms. Women may experience pale skin, lips, and nails as well as dizziness, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat or a general feeling of tiredness or weakness.

Unfortunately, many of these symptoms also can be associated with pregnancy, so some women may not be aware that they are suffering from anemia. For that reason, it is important for expecting mothers to keep all prenatal appointments and have routine blood tests for anemia.

Types of Anemia During Pregnancy
Anemia is commonly thought to indicate an iron deficiency. While this can be true, anemia can occur from other types of nutritional deficiencies:

Iron-Deficiency Anemia2 – This is the most common type of anemia in pregnancy. When the body doesn’t have sufficient iron, it cannot produce hemoglobin, a protein that is present in red blood cells.
Folate-Deficiency Anemia2 – Folate is essential in creating new cells, including red blood cells. Folate also plays a role in the closure of a baby’s neural tube. Sadly, folate-deficiency can lead to spina bifida and other birth defects.
B12-Deficiency Anemia2 – Vitamin B12 is also necessary in creating red blood cells. Women who follow a vegan diet or who generally don’t eat meat or dairy are more at risk to develop vitamin B12-deficiency anemia.

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During the last half of pregnancy, your body makes more red blood cells in order to supply enough for you and your baby. Every red blood cell uses iron as its core. Iron cannot be made by your body and must be absorbed from the foods you eat.

Although iron is found in many foods, it is hard to absorb, making it difficult for your body to get enough to meet its needs during pregnancy. When you don’t have enough iron in your diet, you make fewer red blood cells, which is called anemia. Iron deficiency anemia is very common and is easy to correct.

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Your body also needs a nutrient called folate to make healthy blood cells. Folate is easily absorbed and found in most green vegetables.

Causes of Anemia
Poor intake of iron- and folate-rich foods
Increased destruction of red blood cells that can occasionally occur during illness
Anemia Signs and Symptoms
Often, women with anemia don’t have specific symptoms. If anemia is severe, you may feel tired and weak.

Preventing Anemia
Eat iron-rich foods such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dried beans and fortified grains. The form of iron in meat products, called heme, is more easily absorbed than the iron in vegetables. If you are anemic and you ordinarily eat meat, increasing the amount of meat you consume is the easiest way to increase the iron your body receives.
Eat foods high in folic acids, such as dried beans, dark green leafy vegetables, wheat germ, and orange juice.
Eat foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and fresh, raw vegetables.
Cooking with cast iron pots can add up to 80 percent more iron to your food.
Take your prenatal multivitamin and mineral pill which contains extra folate.

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Natural Ways to Treat Iron Deficiency Anemia
Filling your diet with hearty iron-rich foods is one of the ways to treat iron-deficiency anemia during pregnancy.
1. Take Prenatal Vitamins
A minor iron deficiency is fairly common among most women — even those who aren’t expecting. In order to start optimizing your iron levels, it’s strongly recommended for most women to begin taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you start trying to get pregnant. In addition to a variety of key nutrients and minerals your body needs to grow a healthy baby, prenatal are rich in iron.

Eat an Iron-Rich Diet
While diet alone is unlikely to provide all the iron needed during pregnancy, an iron-rich diet can significantly increase your levels. As much as possible, incorporate foods high in iron into your daily meals. Foods high in iron include:

Shellfish (particularly clams, oysters, and mussels)
Spinach
Organ Meats (particularly liver, kidneys, and heart)
Legumes (particularly beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, and soybeans)
Red Meat
Pumpkin Seeds
Quinoa
Turkey (particularly the dark meat)
Broccoli
Tofu
Get an IV Injection
Both vitamin supplements and an iron-heavy diet can significantly improve your iron levels. However, as licensed nutritionist Monica Reinagel explains in her article “How Much Nutrition Do You Absorb from Food?”:

There are, in fact, lots of things that influence what percentage of vitamins and minerals are absorbed, such as the other foods you eat at the same meal, how they are prepared, drugs or supplements you may be taking, even your age and the time of day. Taking all of these into account, you might absorb anywhere from 10 to 90% of a given nutrient from a given food!
Generally, absorption rates are closer to 20 percent. This means even if you load your diet with iron, you’re likely not getting enough. On the other hand, IV injections during pregnancy allow your body to absorb nearly 100 percent of the iron being administered.

Because IV injections deliver key nutrients and minerals directly into your bloodstream, you’re able to bypass the digestive system. In doing so, you let your body quickly and easily being utilizing the iron it so desperately needs.

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